Lives of the Presidents

Marking the 350th anniversary of the granting of the first Royal Charter to the College, our Lives of the President project aims to bring together biographical sketches of the 142 men and women who have held the office of President of the College.

The Project

Lives of the Presidents is a collaborative project, aiming to create and share biographical sketches of the past-Presidents of the College. The project would not have been possible without the support of the numerous volunteers who wrote the biographical sketches of the Presidents. A full list of the contributors to the project can be found here.

We are still looking for volunteers to help us complete the project. To get involved just contact the Heritage Centre and we will provide you with a research pack on your chosen President and guidelines on writing the biography. CPD points are available for those who take part in the project.

History of the presidency

In 1667 King Charles II granted a Royal Charter to the Fraternity of Physicians of Trinity Hall, establishing it as the College of Physicians of Dublin. This Charter established the office of President of the College and named John Stearne, the founder of the Fraternity, as President for life. Between the death of Stearne in 1669 and the granting of the second Royal Charter in 1692, the term of office of the President was not prescribed. With continuing political turmoil in Ireland during these decades the election of the College Presidents was erratic and not well recorded.

A second Royal Charter was granted to the College in 1692, this Charter specified that the President of the College was to be elected on St Luke's Day, 18th October, for a one-year term. Patrick Dun was named in the Charter as the first President of the re-founded College. In 1829 the College increased the normal term of the presidency to two years. This was increased again in 1927 to a three-year term, which it remains today. Except in special circumstances, since 1692 RCPI's Presidents have taken up and demitted from office on 18 October, the feast day of St Luke the patron saint of medicine.

A bibliography of the main sources used in compiling the biographies is available here.

1667-1699

Born: 1624

President: 1667 - 18 November 1669

Died: 1669

John Stearne, Professor of Medicine in Trinity College, founded the Fraternity of Physicians of Trinity Hall in 1654. In 1667 Stearne's Fraternity was incorporated as the College of Physicians of Dublin by Royal Charter and the Charter named Stearne as President for life.

Read the full biography of John Stearne

John Stearne

Born: 1622

President: 15 February 1672 – 1674

Died: 1677

Abraham Yarner arrived in Ireland as a Royalist soldier and he ended his career as a Knight of the Realm, Freeman of Dublin, ‘Doctor of Physick’ and the first elected President of the College.

Read the full biography of Sir Abraham Yarner

Sir Abraham Yarner

Born: 1638

President: 1674-1675, 1695-1696, 1701-1702, 1707-1708

Died: 1710

Ralph Howard was one of the fourteen Fellows named in the 1667 Charter, and one of Stearne's successors as Regius Professor of Physic in Trinity College. In 1693 Howard fought a duel with Sir Patrick Dun, another College President, the dispute is believed to have been over an appointment.

Read the full biography of Ralph Howard

Portrait of Ralph Howard, 1710, by Hugh Howard. Image courtesy of The Board of Trinity College Dublin

Ralph Howard

Born: c.1630

President: 1675-1677

Died: 1694

Charles Willoughby was one of the fourteen founding Fellows of the College named in the 1667 Charter. A physician and scientist, he was a founder and effectively the first President of the Dublin Philosophical Society, to which he contributed papers on mathematics and physics.

Read the full biography of Charles Willoughby

Charles Willoughby

Born: c.1619

President: 1677-1681

Died: Unknown

Robert Waller was one of the founding Fellows of the College named in the 1667 Royal Charter. He was also State Physician to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, a position he filled ‘very faithfully & with good success’.

Read the full biography of Robert Waller

Robert Waller

Born: 1642

President: 1681-1686, 1690-1693, 1696-1697, 1698-1699, 1706-1707

Died: 1713

Patrick Dun was physician to King William III's armies in Ireland, and used his influence with the King to lobby for a second Royal Charter for the College, granted in 1692. At his death Dun left a substantial trust to support the development of medical education in Ireland.

Read the full biography of Sir Patrick Dun

Sir Patrick Dun

Born: Unknown

President: 1687-1690 (election not confirmed)

Died: [1692]

John Crosby was elected as President by the College of Physicians, but the election was not ratified by Trinity College probably because of Crosby's Catholicism. The College of Physicians refused to elect another President for three years.

Read the full biography of John Crosby

John Crosby

Born: 1649

President: 1694-1695, 1697-1698, 1700-1701

Died: 1703

John Madden was named as a Fellow of the College in the 1692 Royal Charter and worked hard to expand the power of the College. He was also an antiquarian and collector of books and manuscripts.

Read the full biography of John Madden

John Madden

Born: 1656

President: 1699-1700

Died: 1724

Duncan Cumings served as Physician to the Williamite armies in Ireland, and was named as one of the Fellows of the College in the 1692 Royal Charter.

Read the full biography of Duncan Cumings

Duncan Cumings

1700-1749

Born: 1661           

President: 1702-1703, 1709-1710, 1713-1714, 1720-1721

Died: 1733

Physician, natural historian and antiquarian, Molyneux made many diverse contributions to knowledge during his lifetime, including a discussion of the formation of the Giant's Causeway. In 1730 he became Ireland's first medical baronet.

Read the full biography of Sir Thomas Molyneux

Sir Thomas Molyneux

Born: c.1654

President: 1703-1704, 1710 (died in office)

Died: 1710

Steevens was named a Fellow of the College in the 1692 Charter, and was also Professor of Physic in Trinity College. He is now remembered for the hospital founded in his name and at his bequest, by his twin sister Grizell.

Read the full biography of Richard Steevens

Richard Steevens

Born: Unknown

President: 1704-1705, 1708-1709, 19 Dec 1710-1711, 1719-1720, 1721-1722

Died: 1732

William Smyth was one of the 12 Fellows named in the 1692 Royal Charter granted to the College. He is probably best remember for his friendship with Jonathan Swift.

Read the full biography of William Smyth

William Smyth

Born: 1663

President: 1705-1706, 1711-1712

Died: 1719

Robert Griffith was the first Professor of Chemistry and first King's Professor of the Practice of Medicine in the School of Physic in Trinity College. He is credited with establishing the study of chemistry in Trinity College.

Read the full biography of Robert Griffith

Robert Griffith

Born: c.1671

President: 1712-1713, 1723-1724

Died: 1750

Patrick Mitchell was a nephew of Sir Patrick Dun, whose influence probably brought Mitchell to Ireland. After his uncle's death in 1713 Mitchell was involved in the length and acrimonious dispute over Sir Patrick's will.

Read the fill biography of Patrick Mitchell.

Patrick Mitchell

Born: 1673

President: 1714-1715, 1722-1723, 1738-1739

Died: 1749

James Grattan was King's Professor of Physic in Trinity, who campaigned to reform and modernise medical teaching in Dublin. A member of a prominent family in eighteenth century Ireland, he was also a friend of Jonathan Swift.

Read the full biography of James Grattan

James Grattan

Born: 1681

President: 1715-1716, 1724-1725

Died: 1730

Richard Hoyle was a proponent of the study of anatomy and carried out at least one dissection on warrant of the College, whose right to perform dissections was granted by the 1692 Charter. Hoyle became the first Lecturer in Anatomy and Surgery in the new medical school of Trinity which opened in 1711.

Read the full biography of Richard Hoyle

Richard Hoyle

Born: c.1682

President: 1728-1729, 1740-1741

Died: 1738

Richard Helsham lectured in natural philosophy at Trinity College, publishing Course of Lectures on Natural Philosophy which remained in use as a textbook for a century. He was physician to Jonathan Swift who described him as 'an ingenious good-humoured physician, a fine gentleman, an excellent scholar’.

Read the full biography of Richard Helsham

Richard Helsham

Born: Unknown

President: 1717-1718, 1726-1727

Died: Unknown

Samuel Jemmat was involved in one of the strangest legal cases of the early 18th century, that of James Annesley. The life story of James Annesley is said to have been the inspiration behind the novel Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stephenson.

Read the full biography of Samuel Jemmat

Samuel Jemmat

Born: c.1680

President: 1718-1719, 1727-1728, 1739-1740

Died: 1754

Bryan Robinson was Lecturer in Anatomy and, later, Public Professor of Physic at Trinity College Dublin. He made a significant contribution to medical literature both by virtue of his own writings and by collecting and publishing the lectures of his friend and colleague Richard Helsham

Read the full biography of Bryan Robinson

Image courtesy of the Trustees of the Edward Worth Library, Dublin

Bryan Robinson

Born: 1686

President: 1728-1729, 1740-1741

Died: 1743

Henry Cope was State Physician, Governor and Physician of Dr Steevens' Hospital and Professor of Physic, Trinity College. His daughter's scandalous elopement was recorded in the correspondence of Jonathan Swift.

Read the full biography of Henry Cope

Henry Cope

Born: 1686

President: 1729-1730, 1741-1742

Died: 1750

Francis LeHunt was one of the founders, and first Physician, at Mary Mercer's Hospital. When he inherited a fortune from his brother and he 'retired from the business of his profession and enjoyed his friends with a cheerfulness and good nature’.

Read the full biography of Francis LeHunt

Francis LeHunt

Born: 1687

President: 1730-1731

Died: 1736

Samuel Arnoldi was a physician in private practice in Dublin who seems to have some connection to Matthew and Letitia Pilkington.

Read the full biography of Samuel Arnoldi

Samuel Arnoldi

Born: 1691

President: 1731-1732

Died: 1734

Thomas Madden was probably the son of John Madden, President of the College of three occasions in the 1690s. Thomas Madden was educated in Trinity and practised in Dublin. During his Presidency the College awarded their Licentiate in Midwifery to a Mrs Cormack, the first women to receive a qualification from the College.

Read the full biography of Thomas Madden

Thomas Madden

Born: 1686

President: 1732-1733

Died: 1736

Alexander McNaughten was Medical Officer to the Blue Coat School in Dublin, a philanthropist, MP and founding member of the Royal Dublin Society.

Read the full biography of Alexander McNaughten

Alexander McNaughten

Born: 1696

President: 1733-1734, 1742-1743, 1759-June 1760

Died: 1760

William Stephens was Physician to Mercer's and Dr Steevens' Hospitals. Of extensive intellectual interests he lectured in botany and chemistry in Trinity College and was a founder member of the Royal Dublin Society.

Read the full biography of William Stephens

Image courtesy of the Trustees of the Edward Worth Library, Dublin

William Stephens

Born: 1684

President: 1734-1735

Died: 1737

John Van Lewen was Dublin's leading 'man-midwife' in the early decades of the eighteenth century. He was the father of celebrated authoress Laetitia Pilkington.

Read the full biography of John Van Lewen

John Van Lewen

Born: 1703

President: 1735-1736, 1743-1744

Died: 1745

John Hemsworth was born in Birr, Co. Offaly, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. Little is know of his professional life.

Read the full biography of John Hemsworth

John Hemsworth

Born: 1688

President: 1736-1737, 1744-1745

Died: 1747

Thomas Kingsbury was physician to several leading Irish families and 'typified the style and habits of a prosperous practitioner'. His great great grandson was Oscar Wilde.

Read the full biography of Thomas Kingsbury

Thomas Kingsbury

Born: 1695

President: 1737-1738

Died: 1745

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Francis Foreside

Born: 1699

President: 1745-1746, 1761-1762

Died: 1783

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Patrick Hewetson

Born: 1705

President: 1746-1747

Died: 1747

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Edward Aston

Born: 1706

President: 1747-1748

Died: 1778

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Edward Smyth

Born: 1713

President: 1748-1749, 1760-1761

Died: 1770

Robert Robinson was Lecturer in Anatomy in Trinity College, when he carried out the dissection of the Irish giant Cornelius Magrath. Robinson was dismissed from this post in Trinity following a dispute between Trinity and the College of Physicians during his second term as President.

Read the full biography of Robert Robinson

Robert Robinson

Born: 1698

President: 1749-1750

Died: 1776

Sir Edward Barry, was born in Cork, a county he later represented as MP. A dispute in the 1750s led Barry to resign his Trinity Professorship and Fellowship of the College of Physicians, he moved to London where he established a new practice.

Read the full biography of Sir Edward Barry

Sir Edward Barry

1750-1799

Born: 1707

President: 1750-1751

Died: 1758

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Thomas Lhoyd

Born: 1708

President: 1751-1752

Died: 1762

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John Anderson

Born: 1708

President: 1752-1753, 1762-1763, 1770-1771, 1773-1774, 1778-1779 (died in office)

Died: 1779

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John Ferrall

Born: 1711

President: 1753-1754, 1763-1764

Died: 1779

Ezekiel Nesbitt was physician to the Dublin Lying-in (Rotunda) Hospital until he left Ireland in the 1760s and settled in Bath.

Read the full biography of Ezekiel Nesbitt

Ezekiel Nesbitt

Born: 1712

President: 1754-1755, 1764-1765, 1769-1770

Died: 1783

Constantine Barbor was born in Dublin, the son of the poetess Mary Barber. Barbor held a number of appointments to Dublin hospitals and was King's Professor of Materia Medica and Pharmacy in Trinity College.

Read the full biography of Constantine Barbor

Constantine Barbor

Born: 1712

President: 1755-1756

Died: 1776

Born in Ireland Anthony Relhan studied at Trinity, and initially practised medicine in Dublin. Interested in hydrotherapy and alternative medicine he is remembered not for his work in Ireland, but for popularising Brighton as a health resort. 

Read the full biography of Anthony Relhan

Anthony Relhan

Born: Unknown

President: 1756-1757, 1765-1766

Died: 1780

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Richard Wood

Born: 1716

President: 1757-1758

Died: 1762

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Adam Humble

Born: 1717

President: 1758-1759, 1766-1767, 1771-1772, 1774-1775, 20 Sep 1779-1780, 1781-1782

Died: 1791

Henry Quin was King's Professor of Physic in Trinity College and had an extensive private practice. Quin was an accomplished musician and a generous patron of the arts.

Read the full biography of Henry Quin

Henry Quin

Born: c.1725

President: 1767-1768, 1772-1773, 1775-1776

Died: 1785

Nathaniel Barry was the son of Sir Edward Barry another President of the College. Nathaniel was the first King's Professor of Chirurgery and Midwifery in Trinity College, and held the joint appointment as Physician General to the forces in Ireland with his father.

Read the full biography of Sir Nathaniel Barry

Sir Nathaniel Barry

Born: 1726

President: 1768-1769, 1776-1777

Died: 1796

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Clement Archer

Born: c.1722

President: 1777-1778, 1780-1781

Died: 1784

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Francis Hutcheson

Born:            1741

President:    1782-1783, 1789-1790, 1795-1796, 1801-1802, 1808-1809, 1813-1814

Died:             1830

Edward Hill was Lecturer in Botany and Regius Professor of Physic in Trinity College who campaigned, unsuccessfully, for the income from the Dun's Trust to be spent on a Physic Gardern. Hill compiled one of the earliest surviving catalogues of Dun's Library.

Read the full biography of Edward Hill

Edward Hill

Born: 1786

President: 1783-1784, 1790-1791, 1796-1797

Died: Unknown

Arthur Saunders were educated in Trinity College, becoming a Fellow of the College of Physicians in 1777. Little else is know of his career.

Read the full biography of Arthur Saunders

Arthur Saunders

Born: 1751

President: 1784-1785, 1791-1792, 1797-1798, 4 August 1800-18 October 1800, 1802-1803, 1809-1810, 1814-1815

Died: 1819

William Harvey was Physician General to the Army and Consultant Physician to Dr Steevens’ and the Rotunda Hospitals. As President, Harvey led the College's programme to introduce small pox vaccination to Ireland

Read the full biography of William Harvey

William Harvey

Born: 1752

President: 1785-1786, 1792-1793, 1798-1799, 1803-1804, 1810-1811, 1815-1816

Died: 1819

Francis Hopkins was Master of the Rotunda Hospital, whose Mastership was dominated by a lack of trained Midwives and patient overcrowding.

Read the full biography of Francis Hopkins

Francis Hopkins

Born: 1752

President: 1786-1787, 1793-1794, 1800-1801

Died: Unknown

Born in Enniskillen, Patrick Plunket was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Edinburgh University. He practised in Dublin, where he younger brother was Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

Read the full biography of Patrick Plunket

Patrick Plunket

Born: Unknown

President: 1787-1788, 1794-1795, 1799 – 23 Oct 1799 (resigned)

Died: 1804

Edmund Cullen was a scholar and physician who used his knowledge of chemistry and physics to translate translated Torbern Bergman’s Physical and Chemical Essays into English.

Read the full biography of Edmund Cullen

Edmund Cullen

Born: Unknown

President: 1788-1789

Died: 1819

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Charles William Quin

Born: 1756

President: 4 Nov 1799 – 4 August 1800

Died: 1839

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Robert Perceval

1800-1849

Born: c.1760

President: 1804-1805

Died: 1817

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Alexander Pelissier

Born: Unknown

President: 1805-1806, 1806-1807, 1811-1812, 1816-1817

Died: 1826

James Cleghorn was Professor of Anatomy in Trinity College and also State Physician and physician to St Patrick's Hospital. He championed gentler, more humane treatments for patients with mental illness.

Read the full biography of James Cleghorn

James Cleghorn

Born: c.1770

President: 1807-1808

Died: Unknown

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Daniel Mills

Born: 1775

President: 1812-1813, 1818-1819

Died: 1845

Thomas Orpen was a physician and philanthropist who was a member of a number of charitable societies. He was a member of the committee which drew up the first Dublin Pharmacopeia.

Read the full biography of Thomas Herbert Orpen

Thomas Herbert Orpen

Born: c.1763

President: 1817-1818

Died: Unknown

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Anthony Gilholy

Born: 1796

President: 1819-1820, 1827-1828, 1831-1834

Died: 1844

Interested in infectious diseases Hugh Ferguson worked at the Hardwicke Fever Hospital, where he helped convince the board to establish a School of Medicine.

Read the full biography of Hugh Ferguson

Hugh Ferguson

Born: 1770

President: 1820-1821

Died: Unknown

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James Callanan

Born: 1782

President: 1821-1822

Died: Unknown

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George Francis Todderick

Born: c.1772

President: 1822-1823

Died: Unknown

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Robert Bredin

Born: 1781

President: 1823-1824, 1829-1831

Died: 1847

Samuel Litton was greatly interested in botany, he was Librarian and Professor of Botany at the Royal Dublin Society and promoted the National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin.

Read the full biography of Samuel Litton

Image Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Samuel Litton

Born: 1786

President: 1824-1825

Died: 1845

John O'Brien was physician at the Cork Street Fever Hospital and lecturer in medicine in the Moore Street School.

Read the full biography of John O'Brien

John O'Brien

Born: c.1779

President: 1825- 28 Jan 1826

Died: 1832

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James John Leahy

Born: 1769

President: 20 Feb 1826 -1827

Died: 1829

William Brooke founded the Association of Licentiates and Fellows of the King and Queen’s College of Physicians in Ireland ‘for the purpose of more intimately uniting the members of the College, and for the advancement of Medical Science’.

Read the full biography of William Brooke

William Brooke

Born: c.1792

President: 1828-1829

Died: 1841

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Charles Richard Alexander Lendrick

Born: 1794

President: 1834-1836

Died: 1864

Jonathan Osborne was a leading nephrologist and excellent lecturer. Osborne suffered from chronic rheumatism, in his will he requested to be buried standing up, so as not to be at a disadvantage on the day of judgement.

Read the full biography of Jonathan Osborne

Jonathan Osborne

Born: 1793

President: 1836-1838

Died: 1870

Croker was Physician and Governor of Dr Steevens' Hospital, he was also physician to the Rotunda, the Hospital for Incurables and St Patrick's Hospital.

Read the full biography of Charles Philips Croker

Charles Philips Croker

Born: 1794

President: 1838-1841

Died: 1865

George Kennedy was Physician to Cork Street Fever Hospital and the Sick Poor Dispensary, Meath Street. As Registrar Kennedy undertook the herculean task of indexing the early minute books of the College.

Read the full biography of George Kennedy

George Alexander Kennedy

Born: 1790

President: 1841-1843, 1845-1847, 1857-1859

Died: 1860

Sir Henry Marsh was one of the founders of a hospital for sick children, which became the National Children's Hospital.

Read the full biography of Sir Henry Marsh

Sir Henry Marsh

Born: 1796

President: 1843-1845

Died: 1853

Robert Graves was Physician to the Meath Hospital and King’s Professor in the Institute of Medicine in Trinity. Graves co-founded the Dublin Journal of Medical Science and was an early describer of the eponymous Graves' disease.

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Robert James Graves

Born: 1800

President: 1847-1849

Died: 1868

Robert Collins was the Master of the Rotunda Hospital responsible for the continued drive to reduce maternal mortality in the hospital by stressing cleanliness and adequate ventilation.

Read the full biography of Robert Collins

Robert Collins

Born: 1804

President: 1849-1851, 1866-1867

Died: 1878

William Stokes published the first book in English on the use of the stethoscope. Physician to the Meath Hospital and Regius Professor of Physic in Trinity, he published on heart and chest diseases and advocated for the recognition of public health as a medical specialty

Read the full biography of William Stokes

Portrait of William Stokes by Sir Frederic William Burton.  Image courtesy of The Board of Trinity College Dublin.

William Stokes

1850-1899

Born: c.1798

President: 1851-1853

Died: 1859

 

William Featherston-Haugh Montgomery

Born: 1806

President: 1853-1855

Died: 1886

Evory Kennedy was an obstetrician and Master of the Rotunda, whose work on reducing deaths from puerperal fever was recognised by Ignaz Semmelweis.

Read the full biography of Evory Kennedy

Evory Kennedy

Born: 1790

President: 1855-1857

Died: 1877

John Mollan was Physician Extraordinary at the Richmond Asylum in Grangegorman and was especially interested in the wellbeing and education of asylum patients.

Read the full biography of John Mollan

John Mollan

Born: 1802

President: 1859-1864

Died: 1880

Sir Dominic Corrigan was one of the outstanding Irish physicians, particularly remembered for his studies of haemodynamics. Corrigan was the President who oversaw the College's move to 6 Kildare Street.

Read the full biography of Sir Dominic Corrigan

Sir Dominic Corrigan

Born: 1799/1800

President: 1864-1866

Died: 1872

Thomas Edward Beatty, obstetrician and gynaecologist, is the only man to have been President of both the Irish College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Read the full biography of Thomas Beatty

Thomas Edward Beatty

Born: 1808

President: 1867-1869

Died: 1878

Fleetwood Churchill was a leading obstetrician and King’s Professor of Midwifery in Trinity. A prolific lecturer and writer, Churchill was also a pioneer of sanitary reform and founder of the Dublin Sanitary Association.

Read the full biography of Fleetwood Churchill

Fleetwood Churchill

Born: 1811

President: 1869-1871

Died: 1908

Sir John Thomas Banks was Visiting Physician to the Richmond Lunatic Asylum and Regius Professor of Physic in Trinity College. He was retrospectively credited with promoting the teaching of modern psychiatry.

Read the full biography of Sir John Thomas Banks

Sir John Thomas Banks

Born: 1808

President: 1871-1873

Died: 1880

Alfred Hudson was Physician to the Adelaide and Meath Hospitals, Physician in Ordinary to the Queen in Ireland and Regius Professor of Physic at Trinity College. Hudson was the first President of the Dublin Branch of the British Medical Association.

Read the full biography of Alfred Hudson

Alfred Hudson

Born: 1812

President: 1873-1875

Died: 1895

James Duncan was proprietor of the private asylum at Farnham House, Finglas and President of the Medico-Psychological Association.

Read the full biography of James Foulis Duncan

James Foulis Duncan

Born: 1816

President: 1875-1878

Died: 1898

Samuel Gordon was a physician and Lecturer. He was President of the College when the decision to allow women to take the College's exams was made.

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Samuel Gordon

Born: 1820

President: 1878-1880

Died: 1910

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Henry Haswell Head

Born: 1812

President: 1880-1882

Died: 1889

George Johnston was the Master of the Rotunda Hospital who advocated the use of midwifery forceps.

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George Johnston

Born: 1827

President: 1882-1883

Died: 1901

William Moore was King’s Professor of the Practice of Medicine in Trinity and Physician to Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital. Moore was actively involved with the BMA, and was Ireland's representative of the General Medical Council for 10 years.

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William Moore

Born: 1834

President: 1884-1886

Died: 1912

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Sir Richard Francis Cruise

Born: 1837

President: 1886-1888

Died: 1916

James Little was a dedicated lecturer at the Ledwich School and then as Professor of the Practice of Medicine in RCSI. He was the Crown's representative for Ireland on the General Medical Council and Honorary Physician to three successive sovereigns in Ireland. Preferring to be known by his professional title, he declined the honour of a knighthood.

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James Little

Born: 1827

President: 1888-1890

Died: 1910

Lombe Atthill was the Master of the Rotunda who introduced blood transfusion in the treatment of post-partum haemorrhage.

Read the full biography of Lombe Atthill

Lombe Atthill

Born: 1841

President: 1890-1892

Died: 1922

John Magee Finny held a number of appointments in Dublin, including physician to Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital and King's Professor of Medicine in Trinity where he was a popular lecturer.

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John Magee Finny

Born: 1844

President: 1892-1895

Died: 1932

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Walter George Smith

Born: 1839

President: 1895-1896

Died: 1900

Thomas Wrigley Grimshaw

Born: 1843

President: 1896-1898

Died: 1903

Sir George Duffey was founder of the Irish Hospital Gazette and was Physician to Mercer's and City of Dublin Hospitals. He was actively involved in the reform of Dublin's medical schools.

Read the full biography of Sir George Frederick Duffey

Sir George Frederick Duffey

Born: 1845

President: 1898-1900

Died: 1937

Sir John William Moore was a distinguished physician, public health expert and meteorologist.

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Sir John William Moore

1900-1949

Born: 1849

President: 1900-1902

Died: 1914

Sir Christopher Nixon was Physician to the Mater Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the Cecilia Street School. Nixon was instrumental in the development of the School and its eventual incorporation into University College Dublin.

Read the full biography of Sir Christopher John Nixon

Sir Christopher John Nixon

Born: 1843

President: 1902-1904

Died: 1908

Sir Arthur Macan was Master of the Rotunda, he championed the Listerian principles of anti-sepsis and further developed the system of nursing. In his last year at the Rotunda he reported the first successful case of Caesarean section in Ireland.

Read the full biography of Sir Arthur Vernon Macan

Sir Arthur Vernon Macan

Born: 1850

President: 1904-1906

Died: 1941

Sir William Smyly was a member of a prominent Dublin medical family. He was an obstetrician and gynaecologist, as Master of the Rotunda he promoted patient care and on the education of midwives.

Read the full biography of Sir William Smyly

Sir William Josiah Smyly

Born: c.1853

President: 1906-1908

Died: 1921

Joseph Michael Redmond was Senior Physician at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, where he spent most of his career. He was knighted by George V on 23 February 1911, and the following year was made a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre in 1912.

Read the full biography of Sir Joseph Michael Redmond

Sir Joseph Michael Redmond

Born: 1856

President: 1908-1910

Died: 1924

Sir Andrew Horne was one of the first joint Masters of the National Maternity Hospital. He and the hospital are mentioned in James Joyce's Ulysses.

Read the full biography of Sir Andrew Horne

Sir Andrew Horne

Born: 1843

President: 1910-1912

Died: 1931

Sir John Hawtrey Benson worked at the Royal City of Dublin Hospital and as medical adviser in Ireland to the Colonial Office.

Read the full biography of Sir John Hawtrey Benson

Sir John Hawtrey Benson

Born: 1843

President: 1912-1914

Died: 1916

Charles Edward Fitzgerald was an ophthalmic surgeon and was Surgeon Oculist of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V.

Read the full biography of Charles Edward Fitzgerald

Charles Edward Fitzgerald

Born: 1853

President: 1914-1916

Died: 1925

Ephraim MacDowel Cosgrave was Professor of Botany at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and published a popular first aid book for the St John Ambulance Association. Amongst his other achievements he is reputed to be the first person in Ireland to play cheese with living pieces.

Read the full biography of Ephraim MacDowel Cosgrave

Ephraim MacDowel Cosgrave

Born: 1856

President: 1916-1919

Died: 1942

Joseph O'Carroll was Professor of Medicine at University College Dublin, and one of the Visiting Physicians of the Richmond, Whitworth and Hardwicke Hospitals. O'Carroll was a Colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and Consulting Physician to the British Forces in Ireland during World War One.

Read the full biography of Joseph Francis O'Carroll

Joseph Francis O'Carroll

Born: 1861

President: 1919-1922      

Died: 1933

Sir James Craig was Physician to the Meath and Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, King's Professor of Medicine in Trinity and Physician-inOrdinary to the Lord Lieutenant. An MP, and later TD, for Dublin University, he was active in Dáil in public health -matters and sponsored legislation on the Irish Hospital Sweepstake.

Read the full biography of Sir James Craig

Sir James Craig

Born: 1852

President: 1922-1924

Died: 1926

Michael Francis Cox held appointments at many Dublin hospitals including St. Vincent's Hospital, where he treated casualties during the 1916 Rising.  He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1911, the first Irish doctor to serve on the body, but resigned in 1920 in protest over the failure to implement Home Rule in Ireland and over the actions of the Black and Tans.

Read the full biography of Michael Francis Cox

Michael Francis Cox

Born: 1861

President: 1924-1925

Died: 1929

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William John Thompson

Born: 1865

President: 1925-1927

Died: 1941

Thomas Wilson was Gynaecologist to the Richmond Hospital and Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital, and King’s Professor in Midwifery at Trinity College. Described as ‘a rational man ... his skill as a surgeon won for him a good gynaecological practice. He was a charming companion, his friends found him kindly, humorous and tolerant’.

Read the full biography of Thomas Henry Wilson

 

Thomas Henry Wilson

Born: 1868

President: 1927-1930

Died: 1935

William Winter was Physician to Dr Steevens' Hospital and he served with the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War. He was so unassuming that his capacity and dignity as President of the College 'exceeded the anticipations even of his friends'.

Read the full biography of William Arthur Winter

William Arthur Winter

Born: 1878

President: 1930-1933, March 1934 - 18 October 1934

Died: 1960

Thomas G Moorhead went blind in 1926 as the result of an accident. He continued to practice medicine and was elected President of the College in 1930.

Read the full biography of Thomas Gillman Moorhead

Biography reproduced, with permission, from the Dictionary of Irish Biography

Thomas Gillman Moorhead

Born: 1877

President: 1933-28 February 1934

Died: 1934

Francis Carmichael Purser represented Ireland at rugby while a medical student. He served in the British Army in World War I, before returning to civilian practice and professorships in RCSI and Trinity College Dublin.

Read the full biography of Francis Carmichael Purser

Francis Carmichael Purser

Born: 1864

President: 1934 - 1937

Died: 1945

John Agar Matson was consulting physician to the Richmond Hospital in Dublin. As President of the College he worked to preserve the identity and educational function of the College within the nascent health service of the new State.

Read the full biography of John Agar Matson

John Agar Matson

Born: 1875

President: 1937-1940

Died: 1943

William Boxwell was the first pathologist to be elected President, Boxwell was appointed Professor of Pathology and Bacteriology in RCSI. Boxwell and his cousin Henry Stokes were Presidents of the two Irish Colleges at the same time and both were grandsons of William Stokes.

Read the full biography of William Boxwell

William Boxwell

Born: 1873

President: 1940-1943

Died: 1944

Robert Rowlette was a physician, author, athlete and politician. He was the first Deputy to enter the Dáil without taking the Oath of Allegiance to the King.

Read the full biography of Robert Rowlette

Robert James Rowlette

Born: 1876

President: 1943-1946

Died: 1958

Following an early interest in diagnostic radiology William Harvey followed a career in dermatology. He was dermatologist to the Adelaide and National Children's Hospital, and had an extensive private practice.

Read the full biography of William Geoffrey Harvey

William Geoffrey Harvey

Born: 1885

President: 1946-1949

Died: 1963

Bethel Solomons gave up his international rugby career for obstetrics and gynaecology, becoming the first Jewish Master of the Rotunda. He knew many of the literary figures of his day, and is referenced by Joyce in Finnegans Wake.

Read the full biography of Bethel Solomons

Bethel Solomons

Born: 1896

President: 1949-1952

Died: 1961

Leonard Abrahamson was nearly expelled from Trinity for inviting Padriag Pearse to speak at a student event. He went on to become a leading cardiologist and founded the Jewish Representative Council.

Read the full biography of Leonard Abrahamson

 

Leonard Abrahamson

1950-1999

Born: 1890

President: 1952-1955

Died: 1974

Edward Freeman was physician to the Mater Hospital, where he devoted his energies to the institution’s therapeutic and academic development.

Read the full biography of Edward Freeman

Edward Thomas Freeman

Born: 1894

President: 1955-1958

Died: 1978

Francis O'Donnell was a long-serving dermatologist to the Hume Street Hospital, and Governor of the Apothecaries' Hall of Ireland.

Read the full biography of Francis Joseph O'Donnell

Francis Joseph O'Donnell

Born: 1889

President: 1958-1960

Died: 1968

Patrick O'Farrell specialised in cardiology, and was the founder and first President of the Irish Cardiac Society. Early in his career O'Farrell was one of the doctors who signed a certificate stating James Connolly was mentally fit to stand trial.

Read the full biography of Patrick Theodore Joseph O'Farrell

Patrick Theodore Joseph O’Farrell

Born: 1902

President: 1960-1963

Died: 1981

Robert Steen was a renowned paediatrician, sportsman and musician. Steen performed the first cardiac catheterisation and angiocardiogram in Ireland in 1950. Along with Dorothy Price he pioneered BCG inoculation in Ireland.

Read the full biography of Robert Elsworth Steen

Robert Elsworth Steen

Born: 1905

President: 1963-1966

Died: 1987

Robert Brian Pringle was a physician and occupational health pioneer. He was Chief Medical Officer at Guinness’s Brewery, lecturer in occupational medicine at Trinity College and founded the Association of Industrial Medical Officers of Ireland.

Read the full biography of Robert Brian Pringle

Robert Brian Pringle

Born: 1909

President: 1966-1969

Died: 1974

Albert Thompson was Professor of Medicine in RCSI and Physician to St Laurence's Hospital Dublin. During World War II Thompson helped establish a Red Cross Hospital at Sainte Lô, Normandy.

Read the full biography of Albert Herbert Thompson 

Albert Herbert Thompson

Born: 1909

President: 1969-1972

Died: 1995

Specialising in dermatology, David Mitchell held appointments at many Dublin hospitals. He helped reform medical education and the Membership exam in the College. He summarised ‘the hallmarks of a profession are learning, integrity, self-imposed discipline and independence’.

Read the full biography of David Mitchell

David Michael Mitchell

Born: 1902

President: 1972-1974

Died: 1980

William John Edward Jessop was Professor of Physiology at RCSI, and then Dean of the School of Physic in Trinity. He provided leadership to reorganise hospital services, aiming to improve the quality of patient care and of clinical teaching.

Read the full biography of William John Edward Jessop

William John Edward Jessop

Born: 1919

President: 1974-1977

Died: 1991

Bryan Alton Specialising in gastroenterology and devoted much of his professional career to the Mater Hospital. A member of Seanad Eireann, he was involved in the 1960s Fitzgerald Report, Outlining the Future Hospital System

Read the full biography of Bryan Gerald Alton

Bryan Gerald Alton

Born: 1918

President: 1977-1980

Died: 2004

Alan Proctor Grant was the first Ulster based President in the College's history. He worked hard to foster closer relationships between physicians from the North and the South, both through the College and the Corrigan Club. Grant volunteered to provide consultant care for the Maze Prison hunger strikers.

Read the full biography of Alan Proctor Grant

Alan Proctor Grant

Born: 1915

President: 1980-1983

Died: 2006

Dermot Holland was Professor of Pathology and Dean of Medicine in RCSI and was an engaging and succinct lecturer and was always most gracious and understanding when interacting with medical students.

Read the full biography of Dermot Holland

Dermot Holland

Born: 1922

President: 1983-1986, January - 18 October 1989 

Died: 2011

John Kirker pioneered the development of EEG services throughout Ireland, and was a founding member of the Irish Epilepsy Association, later Brainwave.  Throughout his life he was actively involved in the development of epilepsy care and research.

Read the full biography of John Kirker

John Gilbert Kirker

Born: 1920

President: 1986-30 Dec 1988

Died: 1988

As a general physician to the Mater Hospital, Ivo Drury developed the endocrine and diabetes unit and was instrumental in setting up the hospital’s diabetic day case centre. He co-founded the Corrigan Club to encourage cross-border collaboration between doctors.

Read the full biography of Michael Ivo Francis Drury

Michael Ivo Francis Drury

Born: 1928   

President: 1989-25 May 1991 

Died: 1991

Ciaran Barry’s career had three major strands, rheumatology at the Mater, rehabilitation, particularly for children with cerebral palsy, at the Central Remedial Clinic, and as Registrar and President of the College of Physicians.

Read the full biography of Ciaran Barry

Ciaran Barry

Born: 1929

President: May 1991-1994

Died: 2004

John Stephen Doyle was a leading gastroenterologist and pioneer of modern-day endoscopy in Ireland. He worked at St Lawrence’s, later Beaumont, Hospital and served on several Boards, including Comhairle na nOspidéal and the Eastern Health Board.

Read the full biography of John Stephen Doyle

John Stephen Doyle

President: 1994 - 1997

Stanley Roberts

President: 1997-2000

Brian Keogh

2000-

Born: 1938

President: 2000-2003

Died: 2004

Des Canavan specialised in infectious diseases, working at various Belfast hospitals and driving developments in that city. He was an active member of the Corrigan Club, fostering cross-border medical collaboration. His presidency saw the development of comprehensive training programmes and the project to refurbish 6 Kildare Street.

Read the full biography of Desmond Canavan

Desmond Canavan

President: 2003 - 2006

T J McKenna

President: 2006- February 2007

John F Murphy

President: July 2007-2011

John Donohoe

President: 2011-2014

John Crowe

Prof Frank Murray in Duns Library,

President: 2014-2017

Frank Murray

President: 2017-

Mary Horgan

Harriet Wheelock

Keeper of Collections

Tel: +353 1 669 8817

Harriet is Keeper of Collection and manages the RCPI Heritage Centre. Contact Harriet with any questions about the Heritage Centre, its collection and to make an appointment to visit.