Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

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Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
Coláiste Ríoga Lianna na hÉireann
Motto Ratione et Experimentia
Established 1654
Type Private
Location Dublin, Ireland
Campus Urban
Dr. Frank Murray FRCPI
Prof. John Crowe FRCPI
Affiliations RCSI

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI), (Irish: Coláiste Ríoga Lianna na hÉireann) was founded in 1654 and is a postgraduate medical organisation comprising Members and Fellows. It is a sister institute of the three Royal Colleges of Physicians in the United Kingdom: Edinburgh, Glasgow and London.


The "Royal" in the title comes from the Royal Charters that were granted in 1667, by King Charles II of England, and in 1692, by King William III and Queen Mary II of England. It was known as the King and Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland until 1890 when, under charter of Queen Victoria, it adopted the present title.

The College was founded in 1654 by John Stearne, a Professor and Registrar of Trinity College, Dublin, for the purpose of regulating the practice of medicine in Ireland. Originally, it was called "The Fraternity of Physicians of Trinity Hall", as its first home was in a building called Trinity Hall, given to the Physicians by Trinity College.

The Royal Charter of 1692 made the Physicians independent of Trinity College but meant that they had to leave Trinity Hall. They then had no permanent home until the opening of Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital in 1812, when the College established its headquarters in some rooms in the hospital.

In 1860, the College purchased the premises of the Kildare Street Club in Kildare Street. The building was destroyed in a fire in November 1860 and subsequently rebuilt by the College to its own design. It opened in 1864 and has remained the College's home ever since.

The College Library dates its foundation to 1713 when Sir Patrick Dun bequeathed his personal, large library to the College. The Library has been known as "Dun's Library" ever since. The Dun's Library forms part of the College's Heritage Centre, with the archive, heritage items and genealogical research collections. The Heritage Centre holds one of the most important and extensive collections of printed, manuscript material and items relating to the history of medicine and medical education in Ireland.[1]


Among the famous past presidents of the College were William Fetherstone Montgomery, Sir Patrick Dun (1681–93), Henry Marsh (1841), Robert James Graves (1843), William Stokes (1849), Sir Dominic Corrigan (1859–1863). James Little (1837–1916), who was president from 1886 to 1888, had worked as a ship's surgeon early in his career. He survived the shipwreck of the SS Ava in 1858, which is recorded in his diary, now held in the college's archives.[2]

Royal College of Physicians building in Kildare St.

Membership and qualifications[edit]

The College offers the postgraduate MRCPI qualification. There is a separate and distinct MRCP(UK) qualification which is run by the UK Royal Colleges of Physicians in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.

For several years, the College has been successfully conducting its MRCPI examinations in its overseas centres (Malaysia, Oman, India, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain) in addition to many centres in the Republic of Ireland.

Membership is governed by the by-laws of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Every candidate wishing to obtain Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland must pass both parts of the Membership Examination (unless exemption has been granted) and attend a Membership Conferring Ceremony where he/she is conferred as a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Membership awards the right to use the post nominal MRCPI.

Fellowship is awarded by the College upon nomination by existing Fellows (or upon nomination by existing Fellows of sister Colleges) to doctors of consultant or equivalent status. The benefits of this award include recognition of professional standing, access to Continuing Medical Education and Continuing Professional Development support, international collegiality and the opportunity to influence the future of the profession. Fellowship awards the right to use the post nominal FRCPI and to play a full part in the governance and future direction of the College.

Faculties & institutes[edit]

  • Faculty of Occupational Medicine
  • Faculty of Paediatrics
  • Faculty of Pathology
  • Faculty of Public Health Medicine
  • Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine (in conjunction with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ RCPI. "Royal College of Physicians of Ireland". Heritage Centre Website. RCPI. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Wheelock, Harriet (29 April 2011). "The Diary of Dr James Little – Medicine, Shipwreck and the Indian Mutiny". RCPI. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°20′29″N 6°15′17″W / 53.34142°N 6.254748°W / 53.34142; -6.254748