St.Finbarr’s Hospital (Cork County Home and Hospital) (CCH)

Descriptive List of the Archive of St.Finbarr’s Hospital/ South Cork County Home and Hospital



St. Finbarr's Hospital (South Cork County Home and Hospital)

Level of description:



1923-1963 (1984)


615 items (bound volumes)



South Cork County Home and Hospital/St. Finbarr's Hospital (South Cork Board of Public Assistance)

Biographical/Administrative History Located at Douglas Road, Cork. Formerly the Cork Union Workhouse, fever hospital, and infirmary which opened in 1841. Public health services, those concerned with the treatment of human illness, and public assistance, the publicly funded poor relief of the ill and destitute, date from the introduction of the Poor Relief (Ireland) Act 1838, which divided the country into Poor Law Unions. Prior to that, public medical and poor relief was delivered only by charitable institutions and infirmaries such as the Foundling Hospital, the House of Industry and the North and South Infirmaries in Cork. Each Union was run by a Board of Guardians, and a workhouse was constructed at a central location. Each Poor Law Union was divided up into dispensary districts by the Medical Charities Act 1851, for the provision of free outdoor (outside the workhouse) primary care to the poor by an appointed medical officer. Institutionalised and hospital medical care within the workhouse system was, in general, limited and only applied to the care of the infirm or sick destitute poor. In 1871 the Sisters of Mercy took up residence at the workhouse and they were to play an increasingly important managerial, administrative, spiritual, and nursing role within the hospital by the 1920s. The abolition of the poor law system was a priority for Irish republicans. Prior to national independence in 1922, Dáil Éireann (est. Jan 1919) began introducing county public health schemes across the country, involving centralised county schemes to replace the local poor law boards of guardians that had been responsible for poor relief/assistance, health services, preventive public health and sanitation, and labourers cottages. Following national independence in 1922, in

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