St. Vincent's Psychiatric Hospital

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St. Vincent's Psychiatric Hospital
Established 1857
Opened 1899 (current location)
Current Status Active
Building Style Rambling Plan
Location Fairview, Dublin, Ireland
Alternate Names


It was a fortune bequeathed by one Francis Magan that led to the foundation of St Vincent's Hospital in 1857. Magan was a barrister and a high-ranking member of the United Irishmen. He was also an associate of the infamous Sham Squire, Francis Higgins. Subsequently it has emerged that Magan had accumulated wealth as a direct result of his informing on the leader of the 1798 rebellion, Lord Edward Fitzgerald.

On the death of Francis Magan's sister, Elizabeth, the fortune passed to a triumvirate of philanthropic individuals who, under no instruction from her, used the money to found a hospital for psychiatrically unwell catholic middle class females. One of these men Dr Thomas Fitzpatrick would become the medical officer for the new asylum although the first physician attached was Sir Dominic Corrigan, the first catholic president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and famous for his work on aortic incompetence.

A committee set up under the auspices of Archbishop Paul Cullen arranged for the French Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul to come to Ireland to run the new hospital, which was accommodated, in a house on the Richmond Road once owned by the Grose family. Francis Grose was a famous antiquarian and lexicographer. The hospital began operations in the house known as Richmond House on the 14th May 1857.

In 1866 they bought a neighbouring school and both buildings were used for the care of patients. As time passed further space was required and under the guidance of the Daughters of Charity and Sir Francis Cruise, then the attending physician and noted inventor of the endoscope, a new hospital was built on to the old school in 1899. Further extensions occurred in 1932, 1978 and in 1993, a new acute admission unit, St Louise's was added. Later new outpatient facilities in the form an adolescent unit (1988) and a day hospital (I999) were added. A new adolescent inpatient facility was opened 2009.

A major change of direction occurred in 1974 when the Eastern Health Board began to use St Vincent's as an admission unit for the first time.Subsequently St Vincent's changed from being a private institution into a Public Voluntary Hospital. The Daughters of Charity left St Vincent's on 19th May 1998. They had served for 140 years. The writer James Joyce lived at four addresses in the immediate locality including a house at the corner of Convent Avenue and Richmond Road. The hospital is mentioned in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.