Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2014

A Bright Hope for Lunatics

After a revision of the laws relating to lunacy was taken by the Lord Chancellor Sir Edward Sugden in 1845 the Lunatics Act was introduced. This meant that the inspector of lunatic asylums was to have a medical background and that the status of the mentally ill changed from prisoner to patient. This was a major step forward in the care and treatment of the mentally ill and the first inspector to be appointed in Ireland in January 1846 was Francis White. Francis White (1787-1859) White had initiated a campaign to secure medical participation in the treatment of the mentally ill years before the 1845 Act. White had been appointed Inspector-General of Prisons in 1841 and he saw this as a step towards a medical professional being appointed to a similar role for asylums. Lunatics were not shown any kindness, they would be chained up, caged, left in cells and neglected. No attempt had been made into understanding what has effecting their minds and what could be done to help these pe

My Rolls is Better Than Yours!

Oliver St John Gogarty in one of his many fancy fast cars, possibly a Mercedes 28/95 RCSI/IP/Gogarty Oliver St John Gogarty (FRCSI 1910) loved extravagant cars. The faster the better. He owned the Mercedes above as well as in 1912 buying a butter cup yellow coloured Rolls Royce. Gogarty was a colourful character to say the least. He was a surgeon, a poet, a playwright, a Republican and a prankster. According to Ulick O'Connor, Gogarty's biographer, h e became known for flamboyant theatrics in th e  operating room , including off-the-cuff witticisms and the flinging of recently removed   larynx   at the viewing gallery! Gogarty's Rolls Royce was his prized treasure but it lead to the loss of a dear friend and became a ghostly figure for the IRA during the Civil War. William Orpen and Gogarty were great friends with Gogarty visiting the artist's studio frequently. Orpen painted a  portrait  of Gogarty that hangs in  the  College today. The story goes that Orpen

Explore Your Archives 2014

The RCSI Heritage Collections were delighted to take part in the national Explore Your Archives 2014 campaign . Two lectures were organised for local secondary school students and staff of the College. These lectures entitled 'Archives Breathe Lives into History' illustrated that archives house material belonging to unknown individuals who have been forgotten by history. Archival material can be pieced together to breathe live back into a person's legacy which has lain dormant for tens if not hundreds of years. A prime example of this from the RCSI Heritage Collections is the Irish surgeon William Wallace.  Wallace was a controversial figure and because of his questionable methods in finding a cure for syphilis he was forgotten by the medical and historical worlds. William Wallace But it's not only Wallace who is brought to life through his collection. It is also the patients he treated. In preparation for a medical atlas relating to venereal and skin disease W

Safe Haven for Wounded WW1 Officers

This day 96 years ago an armistice between the Allies and Germany took place at Compiégne, France which ended the hostilities and brutality of WW1. During the years of fighting millions of people were killed and wounded. In Dublin a small group of people took it upon themselves to open a hospital for wounded officers sent back from the war. This hospital was established on 1 December 1914 with the approval and guidance of the British Red Cross Society. The minute book of this forgotten hospital is housed in the RCSI Heritage Collections. Offer of premises for the hospital made by W. I. De Courcy Wheeler  Minute Book of the Hospital for Wounded Officers The hospital was given premises at 33 Upper Fitzwilliam Street by Sir William Ireland De Courcy Wheeler (1879-1943) who also volunteered his surgical services. The sub-committee was made up of notable wealthy and respected citizens of Dublin including Lady Talbot de Malahide, Lady Powerscourt and Francis T. Heuston FRCSI