Adelaide Hospital (Dublin)

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The Adelaide Hospital (named after Adelaide, wife of William IV) was a general and teaching hospital in Dublin, Ireland until it became part of the new Tallaght Hospital in 1998.


The hospital was founded in 1839 by Dr. Albert Jasper Walsh (1815–1880) when he was just 26 years old, and was originally intended only for Protestant patients. The well-known John T. Kirby and Maurice Colles were honorary surgeons. Its first premises was at 43 Bride Street and it continued there until 1846. It was then closed for a time and after refunding re-opened in Peter Street in 1858, close to two existing schools of medicine. One of these, the Ledwich School, was incorporated into the hospital in 1894.[1]

The Adelaide hospital was a general teaching hospital for many years and in the forefront of medical advances. Its charter, which dates from 1920, was one of the last royal charters granted in Ireland.[2]

When the Irish Hospitals' Sweepstake was set up in 1930 to finance hospitals, the Adelaide was the only hospital at the time not to accept money from the Hospitals Trust, as the governors disapproved of sweepstakes.[3]

After its incorporation with the Meath Hospital and the National Children's Hospital the Adelaide became part of the new Tallaght Hospital in June 1998. The former hospital building in Peter Street has been converted into apartments.

Notable physicians[edit]

Among the notable physicians who have been associated with the Adelaide Hospital are:

  • Dr. James Little (1837–1916) (President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland from 1886 to 1888; Regius Professor of Physic (Dublin) from 1898 to 1916) was physician to the hospital for a period of 46 years until shortly before his death.[4][5]
  • Dr. Sir Henry Swanzy (1843–1913) was a distinguished eye specialist and ophthalmic surgeon to the hospital.
  • Dr. Richard Dancer Purefoy (1847–1919), President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and one of the leading obstetricians and gynaecologists in Ireland, was Obstetrical Surgeon in the hospital for 21 years.[6]
  • Dr. Ella Webb (1877–1946), appointed anaesthetist in 1918, was the first female member of the staff. She immediately established a dispensary for sick children in the hospital. She became an MD in 1925 and then worked with Kathleen Lynn in St. Ultan's hospital which Lynn had founded.[7]
  • Dr. William Alexander Gillespie (1912–2003), who had an international reputation in the field of hospital infections, started his career as house officer in the hospital and returned as a consultant in 1977.[8]


  1. ^ Mitchell, 1990
  2. ^ Fleetwood, 1983
  3. ^ Report (25 July 1933), "Irish Hospitals", The Irish Times, p. 36 
  4. ^ "Obituary - James Little". British Medical Journal. 1 (2923): 34–35. 6 January 1917. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.2923.34. PMC 2347815Freely accessible. 
  5. ^ O’Ferrall, Fergus. "The Adelaide Hospital, 1903" (PDF). The Adelaide Hospital, Dublin, 1839-2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Obituary, The Lancet, 12 July 1919
  7. ^ Kearney, N and Skehill, C (2005). Social work in Ireland: historical perspectives. Institute of Public Administration. ISBN 1-904541-23-2, ISBN 978-1-904541-23-3
  8. ^ Obituary, British Medical Journal
  • Fleetwood, John F (1983). The History of Medicine in Ireland. Dublin: Skellig Press. 
  • Mitchell, David (1990). The Adelaide Hospital, Dublin, 1838-1989. Dublin: the Blackwater Press. ISBN 0-905471-16-4. 

Coordinates: 53°17′28″N 6°22′43″W / 53.2911°N 6.3786°W / 53.2911; -6.3786