Latest News Did you know…? The history of Grangegorman

Did you know…? The history of Grangegorman

You already know that Grangegorman will host two days of the Walk21 Ireland Conference but did you know that the campus has a long and fascinating history before becoming home to the newly founded university? In the first of our ‘Did you know?’ series, we look at the history behind the area.

Over the last 250 years or so, Grangegorman has been the site of a hospital, a prison and a workhouse. The building now known as The Clocktower – home to the office of the VP for Sustainability – was originally the Richmond Penitentiary. Construction was completed in 1816 and became the first female-only prison in Ireland or Britain. Whilst modelled on the principles of moral reform, prison was often a place of food and shelter, especially for the destitute at the time.

Similarly, the Lower House – now home to the Students’ Union – was originally the Richmond Lunatic Asylum for the mentally ill. The facility operated a farm and garden, assigned jobs to patients and championed what was believed to be moral management offering daily exercise, nutritious meals and social interaction. The Richmond served as a shell-shock hospital for soldiers of World War I. By 1940, renamed as St. Brendan’s Hospital, was severely overcrowded and the 1950s saw a dark period when insulin therapy, lobotomy and electric shock treatment were used. The hospital closed completely in 2013, moving to more modern facilities in Dublin.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of Grangegorman, check out the GGDA website.

Photo: courtesy of the Grangegorman Development Agency


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