Dublin Insitutions for the Aged and Infirm

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837


The House of Industry was established by act of parliament in 177 3, for the indiscriminate reception of paupers from every part; but it has since been limited to destitute paupers of the county and city, and to the relief of certain classes of diseases. The establishment occupies 11 acres, on which are two squares of buildings; one for the aged and infirm, the other for the insane, together with detached infirmaries for fever, chronic, medical, and surgical cases, and a dispensary. The total number of aged and impotent poor that have been admitted is 426,175, of whom 1874 are now in the institution. It is under the superintendence of a resident governor and seven visitors appointed by the lord-lieutenant, and is maintained by an annual grant of public money. Simpson's Hospital, in Great Britain-street, for blind and gouty men, was opened in 1781, by means of a bequest of a citizen of that name, who had himself laboured under a complication of these complaints. It is a large plain building, with a small plot of ground in the rear for the accommodation of the inmates: its interior is divided into 24 wards, containing about 70 beds, but the number supported is about 50. The annual income of the hospital averages £2700.

The Hospital for Incurables was opened in Fleet-street, in 1744, by a musical society, the members of which applied the profits of concerts to this benevolent purpose. In 1790, by means of a bequest of £4000 by Theobald Wolfe, Esq., the institution was removed into its present building near Donnybrook, originally erected for an infirmary for small-pox patients. The governors were incorporated in 1800. The house, a substantial plain building, can accommodate 70 patients; the ground belonging to it, 14 acres, is let so advantageously, as to leave the institution rent-free.

The Old Men's Asylum, in Russell-place, North Circular Road, was instituted in 1810 for 24 reduced old men of good character. St. Patrick's Asylum for Old Men, in Rainsford-street, maintains 17 inmates, the majority of whom are upwards of 80 years of age each. The literary teachers, carpenters, printers, and vintners have each an asylum or fund for the relief of decayed members of their respective bodies. The Scottish Society of St. Andrew is formed for the relief of distressed natives of that country while in Dublin.

The Richmond National Institution for the Industrious Blind, in Sackville-street, affords instruction to 40 male inmates in weaving, basket-making, netting, and some other similar kinds of handicraft, and has a sale-room for the disposal of the manufactured articles.

The Molyneux Asylum for blind females was opened in 1815, on a similar principle, in the former family mansion of Sir Capel Molyneux in Peter-street, which had been for some years employed as a circus for equestrian exhibitions. Attached to it is an Episcopal chapel. There are several asylums for destitute aged women, mostly attached to some of the places of worship. There are two places for the reception of females of virtuous character during the pressure of temporary want of employment, one in Baggot-street, under the superintendence of Protestant ladies; the other in Stanhope-street, under that of a R. C. nunnery.

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