Historical records

Guide to hospital collections

Does the National Archives hold hospital collections?

The National Archives holds records from a number of hospitals, some of which are still in existence and some of which are now defunct. Please see the list below.

Is the National Archives legally obligated to collect hospital archives?

No. The National Archives Act, 1986 does not specifically refer to medical records and so the National Archives does not have any legal obligation at present to house these collections.

Why are some hospital collections held by the National Archives?

The National Archives recognises the historical significance of medical records to the social and medical history of Ireland. Although medical records are not specifically mentioned in the National Archives Act, 1986 the Act does permit the accessioning of private collections that warrant long-term preservation.

Can I visit the National Archives to view hospital collections?

No. Hospital collections are private collections, therefore access can only be granted by the donor. It is necessary for researchers to contact the institution directly to seek permission to access records held in the National Archives. Unless the National Archives receives written permission directly from the unit responsible for such requests in the institution in question, no access will be granted. Access will not be given if permission is not granted through the correct channels.

Why is access so restricted?

Hospital collections are private collections and do not fall under the same legal obligations of access as other State papers held in the National Archives. They also often contain very private and personal information, the release of which may breach the patient’s right to privacy.

What collections are held in the National Archives?

The National Archives holds two types of hospital collections, those where the institution no longer exists and those where the institution or a third party manages access to the archives.

The National Archives is the data controller for the following hospital collections:

  • House of Industry Hospital (PRIV/1267)
  • Jervis Street Hosptial (PRIV/1268)
  • Mercer’s Hospital (PRIV/1269)
  • Baggot Street Hospital (Royal City of Dublin Hospital) (PRIV/1272)
  • Queen’s Institute of District Nursing in Ireland (PRIV/1274)
  • Rathdown Hospital and Dispensary/Monkstown Hospital (PRIV/1273)
  • Dublin Corporation TB Scheme (PRIV/1275)
  • Stella Maris Nursing Home, Pembroke Street, Dublin 2 (DUB/105)

Access to these collections is granted on a case by case basis. All queries relating to these hospital collections should be directed to The Keeper, Collection Care and Public Service or email [email protected].

What other hospital collections are held by the National Archives?

The National Archives also holds the archives of the following institutions:

  • Peamount Sanatorium, Dublin (PRIV/997/PS)
  • Women’s National Health Association of Ireland (PRIV/1212)
  • Meath Hospital (PRIV/1271)
  • St Brendan’s Hospital, Grangegorman, Dublin (also known as Richmond Lunatic Asylum) (PRIV/1223)
  • Rotunda Hospital (PRIV/1263)
  • Coombe Lying-in Hospital (PRIV/1270)
  • St Brigid’s Mental Hospital, Ballinasloe, County Galway
  • St Columba’s Mental Hospital, Sligo (97/40)
  • St John’s Hospital, Sligo (Sligo County Home) (PRIV/1184)
  • St Brendan’s Hospital, Loughrea, County Galway (Galway County Home)

Access to these collections is restricted and will only be granted when permission is received directly from the institution in question. For details of who to direct access requests to please email [email protected].

For all other hospitals, and for a historical and current overview of hospitals and hospital records in Ireland, please see the Survey of Hospital Archives in Ireland (2015). This is organised by county, and at the end of each chapter there is a summary of institutions visited (holding their own records), and of other repositories such as ourselves.

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