Building a hospital


artist’s drawing-c.1840


wanted a piece of land


Following their initial meeting fifteen new trustees were elected to manage the hospital project. With Arthur Guinness Junior replacing his father the new trustees were , John David LaTouche Esq., in the chair,  Edward Allen Esq., Samuel Bewley Esq., John Barrington Esq,Randall McDonnell Esq, William Disney Esq, Arthur Guinness Esq,  Lewis Hodgson Esq., George MaQuay Esq., William Harding Esq., John Orr Esq., George Renny Esq., Nicholas Roe Esq., Luke White Esq.Thomas Disney Esq,. 


They  resolved to build a hospital with a forty bed capacity. This meeting also decided the hospital would publish an annual report which would be publicly available. This decision has had far reaching consequences. There are many references in nineteenth medical literature to the contents of these annual reports.  At their meeting on Friday 30th October 1801, in the Dublin Free School, they drew up an  advertisement, explaining the nature of the proposed hospital and requesting subscriptions for the hospital and they  elected  a sub committee tasked with finding a ‘piece of ground’ for the erection of the proposed House of Recovery.

Finding a site

Meetings were now held weekly and at their meeting on 30th November they agreed the wording of an advertisement seeking ‘a piece of ground in any situation, in or near the Liberty and west of Bride Street’ for their proposed hospital. The area required was two hundred and fifty feet square. They also decided to offer a premium of twenty guineas for the best architectural design for the hospital and ten guineas for the second best design. By 7th January 1802 they had a proposal from Mrs. Anne Donnelly for the sale of her premises lying south of Cork Street.They had also received building plans for the hospital and awarded the twenty guineas to a Samuel Johnson and the ten guineas to a Mr. Baker. On 15th February 1802 they agreed to conclude the agreement with Widow Donnelly for the purchase of what is now described as the orchard, south of Cork Street.

At their meeting on 16th November 1801 they received a letter from the Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Hardwicke, informing them of his intention to donate personally, three hundred pounds to the hospital.

You can read the original handwritten  minutes 1801 here


On Saturday 24th April 1802 the Earl of Hardwicke, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland laid the first stone of the new building.  In June 1802 the trustees formed themselves into a number of sub committees, each one tasked with raising subscriptions from particular areas and parishes of the city.  By 1803 they had raised £9337, far surpassing their expectations. 

In addition to the lord Lieutenants contribution other major contributors were the Right Honourable Charles Abbott €200, Luke White £200, David La Touché and Co. £500, Sir William G. Newcomen Bart £200, Viscount Oxmantown £200, George Putland £200. Arthur Guinness donated £50.They had also received parliamentary grants of £1954. This enabled them to double the size of the hospital, to eighty beds.

You can see a list of those subscriptions here

On 14th May 1804 the first batch of female patients were admitted. On completion it had cost £11318 and consisted of two four story buildings. One building was reserved for convalescents and hospital staff. The second building, reserved for fever patients. In turn this building was divided into thirty one wards each containing two patients.