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Showing posts from October, 2014

At Slumber with Graves

It being the day of Samhain the door to the other world slowly creaks open and the desire to visit one of Dublin's oldest and lesser visited cemeteries has struck the RCSI Heritage Collections. Mount Jerome Cemetery was established in 1836 and is the resting place of a number of prominent Irish surgeons. So who has made Mount Jerome there eternal home? Only a man with a name that couldn't be more fitting for Samhain, Mr. Robert Graves . Graves' tombstone in Mount Jerome Robert Graves (1797-1853) Graves was a distinguished scholar who started his studies in Trinity College Dublin under the tutelage of Rev. Ralph Wilde, the brother of the Sir William Wilde. Graves graduated in Arts in 1815 and deciding upon medicine graduated with an M.B in 1818. Graves recognised the importance and promoted the need for post mortem examinations by the pathologist. He studied in a number of European universities (Berlin, Austria, Paris,Italy) and, according to Charles

BLOOD: Not For the Faint Hearted

Last night the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin launched a new exhibition called BLOOD The Gallery approached the RCSI Heritage Collections as they had heard we had a very important blood transfusion apparatus. Indeed we do! So we were delighted to loan them Robert McDonnell's blood transfusion apparatus. If you don't know that story of Robert McDonnell and the first human to human blood transfusion in Ireland find out more  here McDonnell's apparatus is the only historic item to be found in a very interesting, visual and though-provoking exhibition. Where else could you see a video installation of a woman receiving a blood transfusion from a horse, buy blood inspired jewellery, a vampire impaling kit and find out your blood type?? Robert McDonnell's blood transfusion apparatus on display RCSI/MI/224 RCSI/MI/224 - Researched and written by Meadhbh Murphy

To the Beat of the Drum

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland had an Officer Training Corps (OTC) garrison stationed in it's main building on Stephen's Green in the early 1900s, much the same as Trinity College did. This RCSI OTC provided military training to students in the College. As the members of the OTC were full-time students they were not expected to serve on operations. In the RCSI Heritage Collections we have a number of items relating to the College's OTC. Below you will see the official handbook and regulations that were issued to the OTC stationed in the College. RCSI OTC Handbook 1912 RCSI OTC Regulations 1912 Members of the College OTC would have been in the band who played at events, processions and ceremonies that took place in the College. The drums were a military instrument used to keep time while marching and also transmit signals across the battlefield. The RCSI band can be seen in the photograph below which was taken just before the ou

Care for some light reading?

If you are one for a little light reading, why not visit the RCSI Heritage Collections webpage where you can now find a transcription of the entire charter granted to the College by George III in 1784. In 1765   Sylvester O'Halloran , a surgeon from   Limerick , had proposed a College of Surgeons in Ireland along the lines of the College de St. Cosme in Paris, which had been regulating French surgery since its creation by royal charter by   Louis IX   in 1255. The Dublin Society of Surgeons was founded in 1780 at The Elephant public house on Essex Street (now Parliament Street).  Surgery in Ireland was without regulation. Top page of the RCSI Charter The main goals of the society were to separate from the barbers and provide surgical education in Ireland. They lobbied for a royal charter in 1781 and presented the   Lord Lieutenant  with their  petition. Finally a   charter   was granted by  King George III   on 11 February 1784 establishing  the Royal College of Surgeons i

Close but no cigar

The RCSI Heritage Collections attended the Blog Awards Ireland 2014 awards night on Saturday 4th October in the beautiful Westgrove Hotel in Clane, Co. Kildare. Yummy Blog Awards Ireland 2014 dinner Unfortunately we did not win in our category of 'Best Arts & Culture Blog' but here's hoping for next year. Now.....let's see what other squishy, slithery and skeletal material we can unearth in our collections for our next post......

Wax for the toora loora laddie, Wax for a toora loora lay!

On a recent sojourn in Paris the RCSI Heritage Collections decided to visit the Catacombs of Paris which lie deep below the busy city. The catacombs are 2 kms long and are filled with over 6 million skeletons dating from the early 1700s to the mid 1800s. Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp in the Catacombs of Paris While in Paris a previous blog ( Skeletons, Specimens and a Shekleton! 8th May) came to mind. In May we learnt about specimens that were collected, created, preserved and used in the College as teaching aids back in the 1800s and early 1900s. Another teaching aid that has fallen out of practise but still holds a macabre beauty is that of the wax anatomical model. And where was the place to go if one wanted such models? Paris!! The problem facing medical school and students in the 1800s was the supply and preservation of cadavers long enough for detailed dissections to be carried out on them. A solution to this was the use of minutely detailed and quite graphic wax anatomic