We are the proud guardians of over 350 years of historical archives dating from the foundation of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in 1654. Our collections include manuscripts, books, prints, photographs and other unique items relating to the history of medicine and medical education in Ireland. As part of the Heritage Council’s Museum Accreditation programme, RCPI Heritage Centre received full museum accreditation in July 2018, as Ireland’s first accredited medical museum.
For Heritage Week this year, we are looking forward to celebrating our latest exhibition, Strike Out Boldly, a fascinating collection of stories and artefacts exploring the experiences of Irish doctors overseas
Strike Out Boldly commemorates 150 years of Irish medical services overseas. It has been jointly curated by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and Dr Kieran Fitzpatrick, National University of Ireland Galway.
The exhibition, a collection of stories and artefacts with contributions from a number of our Members and Fellows and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, explores the ordinary and extraordinary experiences of Irish doctors overseas, and how they played a part on the international stage.
The collections in the Heritage Centre offer a fascinating insight into many aspect of the development of medicine in Ireland. This year there has been particular interest in the archive of St Ultan’s Hospital for Infants, as 2019 is the 100th anniversary of its foundation. The hospital, based on Dublin’s Charlmont Street, was the brainchild of a group of pioneering women, including Dr Kathleen Lynn and Madeline ffrench-Mullen.
It provided medical care to some of Dublin’s poorest children, as well as providing advice and support to mothers on how to care for their children. From the beginning the hospital practised a policy of positive discrimination, providing much-needed medical appointment for women. Lynn had, earlier in her career, been denied an appointment because of her gender, the hospital having nowhere to house a resident female physician. St Ultan’s also holds an important place in the history of vaccination in Ireland, as the first BCG vaccine was administered in the hospital in 1937 by Dr Dorothy Stopford-Price.
Explore the revolutionary diaries of Dr Kathleen, founder of St Ultan’s Hospital in its centenary year.
Mayo-born Kathleen Lynn was one of the first female medical doctors to qualify in Ireland, as well as a committed nationalist and activist. This exhibition is a graphic telling of her life story.
As a young woman at the turn of the twentieth century, Kathleen Lynn became involved with the suffrage movement, Cumann na mBan and James Connolly's Irish Socialist Party. She fought in the 1916 Rising and afterwards, was elected to the First Dáil. In 1919, Lynn founded St Ultan's Hospital for children, along with Madeleine ffrench-Mullen.
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.