The Meath Hospital (Ospidéal na Mí) was the oldest voluntary hospital in continuous existence in Ireland; the oldest university teaching hospital; and a most significant hub of medical eponyms and notable names.

Historical timeline of Meath hospital
  • 1753 – Founded to care for the sick and poor of the Liberties
  • 1774 – Took on the mantle of the County Dublin Infirmary
  • 1822 – Hospital moved to Heytesbury Street. Became focus of the Dublin School of Medicine. Graves and Stokes introduced bedside teaching to the English-speaking world
  • 1998 – Hospital moved to Tallaght in 1998.

1844 – The first hypodermic injection was administered by Francis Rynd, surgeon in the hospital

Notable Names
  • John Cheyne (1777-1836); physician to the Meath hospital 1811-1817
  • Sir Philip Crampton (1777–1858); surgeon to the hospital in 1798
  • Robert Graves (1796-1853); physician from 1821-1843
  • William Stokes (1804-1878); physician from 1826-1875
  • Francis Rynd (1801-1861); physician and inventor of the hypodermic syringe
  • Rawdon Macnamara (1822–1893); appointed Meath surgeon in 1861
  • Lambert Hepenstal Ormsby (1850-1923); surgeon to the hospital 1872-1923
  • Richard Lane Joynt (1867-1928); surgeon to the hospital and one of the first radiologists in Ireland
Literary associations

The site of the hospital (the Dean’s Vineyard) was where Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) kept a garden and a paddock for his horse – the wall of the hospital along Long Lane incorporates parts of the wall built by Dean Swift.

James Clarence Mangan (1803-1849) and Brendan Behan (1923-1964) were patients and spent their last days in the Meath Hospital.

The poet, author, and otolaryngologist, Oliver St John Gogarty (1878-1967) was on the staff of the hospital from 1911 to 1939. The fictional character of Malachi “Buck” Mulligan in James Joyce’s 1922 novel Ulysses is partly based on Gogarty, a close companion of Joyce.

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: “Introibo ad altare Dei

Opening line to Ulysses, 1922

Meath hospital publications

Historical references


the names behind the name

Dr Ronan McKenna, MB BCh BAO at National University of Ireland Galway. Living in Australia with  plans for a future in Emergency Medicine. A keen interest in Medical History, Wilderness Medicine and Sport.

Associate Professor Curtin Medical School, Curtin University. Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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