KILKENNY HOSPITALS

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

Adjoining the library in St. Canice's churchyard is an almshouse for eight poor women, founded by Bishop Williams, who endowed it with lands at Fermoy, which were sold by his executors; but the inmates receive small annuities from different estates of the Waring family. In the coal market was an hospital, founded by Thomas, tenth Earl of Ormonde, who died in 1614; he endowed it with the impropriate tithes of Drominberran and Bewley, to which were added those of Inch and Drumboth by the great Duke of Ormonde, who obtained from Charles II. a charter incorporating the master, brethren, and sisters. The house having gone to decay, a smaller one was built in High-street by the present family, consisting of two stories, with four rooms on each floor, inhabited by eight poor widows, who receive small payments; it is called the Ormonde poor-house. In Rose-Inn-street is an hospital founded in 1581, by Sir R. Shee, Knt., who endowed it with the tithes of Butler's-woods and Kilmocahill, in the counties of Kilkenny and Carlow, for the support of twelve poor men and women; but the tithes have long been detained in lay hands, and General St. Ruth bequeathed some property, vested in the French funds; but the inmates, who are now all females, receive only small gratuities, from the family of Shee, by whom they are nominated, and alms collected at the chapel of St. Mary.

In a pleasant situation is a range of almshouses, called St. James' Asylum, founded and endowed, in 1803, by James Switzer, Esq., for twenty poor widows, twelve Protestant, and eight R. C., each of whom, in addition to residence, receives £20 per annum; in the area in front of the building is a statue of the founder, who was a native of the city. The widow of Edward Cramer bequeathed £7. 10. per annum (turnpike debentures) for supplying the poor of St. Mary's parish with bread, to be distributed at the church by the curate, who also has the distribution of another bequest to the poor of that parish by Mr. Nicholai. Mr. Lewis Chapelier, of John-street, bequeathed, in trust, the interest of £500 to be given every second year, in a sum of £50 late currency, as a marriage portion to the daughter of a reputable tradesman, who should marry a tradesman of the town, both being Protestants.

Sir William Fownes bequeathed the rents of two tenements in Patrick-street to charitable purposes; and £8 is accordingly given yearly to the county infirmary, and the rest in charitable pensions. A large house and garden in Patrick-street, were bequeathed by General St. Ruth, in trust, to pay £12 per annum to the poor; and a bequest for the same purpose by Mr. John Cramer was also made about the same time, but neither has been carried into effect. The late Rev. William Lanigan, P. P. of St. Patrick's, bequeathed £1600, three per cent, consols., for the support of six poor widows, who receive the dividends, and a house is now being built for their reception. The Charitable Society, formed in 1740, affords relief to sick tradesmen or their widows; and the Benevolent Society was established in 1785, for the relief of bedridden poor. A charitable loan was instituted by act of parliament in 1792, for lending small sums to poor tradesmen, free of interest; and the Ormonde charitable loan fund, for the same purpose, was established by the Ormonde family in 1834, for granting loans, repayable by small instalments.

The county infirmary was opened in 1767: it contains two male and two female wards, in each of which are 10 beds; external patients receive advice and medicine two days in every week; the average annual income is about £660, and the number of in-patients about 500, and of out-patients about 1059. The fever hospital was built at an expense of £1100, a loan from Government, and subsequently repaid by Grand Jury assessments; and the dispensary, founded in 1819, is supported by presentments and subscription, and a bequest of £100 per annum by the late Mr. Evans, which, in common with other charitable bequests by that gentleman, has been for some time suspended, from the non-payment of interest on certain debts chargeable on estates, for the sale of which proceedings have been for some years pending in the court of Chancery: patients unable to attend are visited at their own houses. There is also a house of industry, with an hospital for lunatics attached to it, which is now appropriated as an auxiliary to the county gaol.

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