Royal Hospital Donnybrook Historical Archives Loaned to RCPI

The extensive archives of the Royal Hospital Donnybrook, with materials dating back as far as 1743 have been presented to the Heritage Centre at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

Ms Evonne Healy Director of Nursing, RHD, Mr Conor Leonard CEO RHD, Prof Mary Horgan, President, RCPI, Ms Harriet Wheelock, Keeper of Collections at RCPI Heritage Centre, Dr Lisa Cohan, Medical Director RHD, Dr Diarmuid O’Shea, Registrar, RCPI.
Ms Evonne Healy Director of Nursing, RHD, Mr Conor Leonard CEO RHD, Prof Mary Horgan, President, RCPI, Ms Harriet Wheelock, Keeper of Collections at RCPI Heritage Centre, Dr Lisa Cohan, Medical Director RHD, Dr Diarmuid O’Shea, Registrar, RCPI.

Ms Harriet Wheelock, Keeper of Collections at RCPI says that this is a very welcome addition to the College’s growing archives,

“We are delighted to provide a safe home for such an important archival collection in the RCPI Heritage Centre. The Royal Hospital Donnybrook is one of Dublin’s oldest surviving hospitals, and the archive sheds important light on aspects of Ireland’s medical and social history. I’m sure that it will be of great interest to researchers, who will be able to consult the archive in our research room on Kildare Street,” Ms Wheelock said.

The Royal Hospital Donnybrook was founded in 1743, ‘to benefit the Poor in and near our said City who are afflicted with Disorders declared to be Incurable, by dieting, lodging, clothing and maintaining such poor persons and by supplying them with Medical and Surgical Assistants, Medicines and all manner of necessaries’ according to the Hospital Charter.

Though it is not known who originally founded the hospital, it is known that the hospital was founded in 1743 because the Dublin Assembly Rolls of October that year recorded that “the Directors of the Hospital for Incurables, Lazers-Hill” (now Townsend Street) requested free water for their hospital. However, in 1750, Richard Colley (Lord Baron Mornington), Theobold Wolfe, Chichester Fortescue and Samuel Bridges bought a plot of land in Lazers-hill and built on it a new hospital into which they moved the patients in 1752.

Mr Stephen McCormac, Archivist at the Royal Hospital Donnybrook said that finding a safe home for the archive is wonderful,

“When I saw the hospital archives back in 1997 I could not believe it – here were the lives of ordinary people living in an absolutely extraordinary institution, largely unknown and uncelebrated.

Today, the Royal Hospital Donnybrook (RHD) isstillprovides hospital care for people requiring rehabilitation, complex residential care, respite, and day hospital services.

The RCPI Heritage is a fully accredited museum and the leading centre for research into the history of medicine in Ireland.