Royal Hospital, Donnybrook

Coordinates: 53°19′30″N 06°14′55″W / 53.32500°N 6.24861°W / 53.32500; -6.24861
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Royal Hospital, Donnybrook
Entrance to the Royal Hospital, Donnybrook
Royal Hospital, Donnybrook is located in Dublin
Royal Hospital, Donnybrook
Shown in Dublin
LocationDonnybrook, Dublin, Ireland
Coordinates53°19′30″N 06°14′55″W / 53.32500°N 6.24861°W / 53.32500; -6.24861
ListsHospitals in the Republic of Ireland

The Royal Hospital, Donnybrook (Irish: Ospidéal Ríoga, Domhnach Broc) is a hospital in Donnybrook, Dublin, Ireland, founded in 1743. It was originally set up as a "hospital for incurables" to provide sufferers with food, shelter and relief from their distressing conditions.


The Royal Hospital in 1907

In Georgian Dublin there were a number of charitable music societies that raised money to alleviate the suffering of the poor and ill. There was no system of public welfare, nor, until much later, any general policy on the part of the government to alleviate the problem of poverty, which pervaded the city at that time. One of these societies was the Dublin Charitable Musical Society of Crow Street, the leading light of which was Richard Wesley, 1st Baron Mornington, a politician (MP for Trim 1729-1746) and amateur violinist who took part in charity concerts. The society decided in 1743 to donate their funds to set up and support a hospital for incurables.[1] A house for this purpose was rented in Fleet Street, fitted up, and opened, with a nurse, a staff of doctors and surgeons, and 23 patients as the "Hospital for Incurables, Dublin" on 23 May 1744.[2]

In the early years of the hospital, the doctors included Francis Le Hunte (from County Wexford, a founder-member of the Royal Dublin Society).[2]

The hospital moved to Townsend Street in 1753. In 1793 the hospital exchanged location with the Lock Hospital, which suited both hospitals and moved to Donnybrook, a suburb of the city.[3] It was remodelled by James Rawson Carroll in the 1880s and received a Royal Charter and became the "Royal Hospital for Incurables, Dublin" in 1887.[4] In the 1980s it started to specialise in rehabilitation for the elderly and services for young disabled adults and, at that time, was renamed the "Royal Hospital, Donnybrook".[4]


  1. ^ "Royal Hospital Donnybrook (Founded 1743): Statutory Instruments and Bye-Laws for the management of the hospital". Lenus. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b John Watson: The Gentleman and Citizen's Almanack for 1745, quoted in Burke, p. 3
  3. ^ Gentleman's and Citizen's Almanack. Pettigrew and Oulton. 1842.
  4. ^ a b "Dublin's oldest charity". Irish Times. 2 December 2004. Retrieved 9 May 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Burke, Helen (2000). The Royal Hospital, Donnybrook. Dublin. ISBN 0-9521476-0-2.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  • Fleetwood, John F (1983). The History of Medicine in Ireland. Dublin: Skellig Press.