St. John's Hospital

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Founded in 1780 by Lady Hartstonge and several other benefactors as a “fever and lock” hospital, St. John’s Hospital in Limerick famously treated patients during the Great Famine of 1845-1847. This was one of Ireland’s greatest ever public health catastrophes, and a time when great strain was placed on the health systems and entire fabric of society. Had it not been for public hospitals, the situation could have been significantly worse.

After falling into disrepair in the 1850s until the 1880s, the Bishop of Limerick, Edward Thomas O’Dwyer, invited the Nursing Sisters of the Little Company of Mary to the hospital in 1888. Since then, the hospital has been in a continual state of development, offering the very best treatment available, including an accident and emergency ward.

St. John’s Hospital was one of the first big public hospitals in the country and still stands proudly today as a centre of public health. Situated on the south side of the River Shannon in Limerick, the hospital is located near the Milk Market and Grove Island parts of the city.

Guests of the city can visit the site, and admire the old hospital gate, with its 1780 date carved in, as well as the period features of the old hospital building. St John’s Hospital serves as a great reminder of Ireland’s medical history and a direct link to a past whose effects are still felt around the world today.

For history buffs and lovers of medical history in particular, it’s a must-visit destination.

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