The Way We Were – Mental Hospitals


mental hospital dublin


Tonight’s Saturday Night film is an RTE radio documentary which shows how Ireland treated her mentally ill citizens. This Dublin  hospital was opened in 1815 and closed 199 years later. It went through several name changes but its procedures never seem to have been modernized.

st brendans

Careful records were kept. Personal belongings were removed from patients and kept in the attics, covered with mouse and rat droppings  – long after patients had died or been discharged. Clothes were washed and re-distributed at random. Baths and toilets were without any sort of privacy. Many patients were buried in pauper’s graves in Glasnevin Cemetery

De-personalization, de-individualism  and institutionalism went hand in hand in this authoritarian system that would broke no interference. Medical and nursing staff worked to maintain the system. One speaker says it was the fault of the people of Ireland. It was what they wanted.

Listen to the programme and decide for yourselves.


mental hospital corridor




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