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Back of the hospital, showing tennis courts. ca. 1890s

The hospital was founded by Bartholomew Mosse, a surgeon and man-midwife who was appalled at the conditions that pregnant women had to endure, in George's Lane as the Dublin Lying-In Hospital in March 1745.[2] Lying-in is an archaic term for childbirth (referring to the month-long bed rest prescribed for postpartum confinement).[3] The venture was very successful and Mosse raised money through concerts, exhibitions and even a lottery to establish larger premises.[4] The hospital moved to new premises, designed by Richard Cassels,[5] where it became known as "The New Lying-In Hospital" in December 1757.[6] The rotunda itself, which was designed by James Ensor,[5] was completed just in time for a reception hosted by the Marquess of Kildare in October 1767.[7] Extensive new rooms, designed by Richard Johnston and built adjacent to the rotunda, were completed in 1791.[8]

Records indicate that around 1781, "when the hospital was imperfectly ventilated, every sixth child died within nine days after birth, of convulsive disease; and that after means of thorough ventilation had been adopted, the mortality of infants, within the same, in five succeeding years, was reduced to one in twenty".[9] This issue was not limited to the Lying-In-Hospital. In that era, ventilation improvement was a general issue in patient care,[10] along with other issues of sanitation and hygiene, and the conditions in which surgeons such as Robert Liston in Britain and elsewhere, had to operate.[11][12] Florence Nightingale famously worked on the design of safe and healthy hospitals.[10]

By the early 19th century the facility had became known as the Rotunda Hospital, after its prominent architectural feature.[13] The first caesarean section in Ireland was undertaken at the hospital in 1889.[14]


The Rotunda Hospital, as both a maternity hospital and also as a training centre (affiliated with Trinity College Dublin)[15] is notable for having provided continuous service to mothers and babies since inception, making it the oldest continuously operating maternity hospital in the world.[16] It is estimated that over 300,000 babies have been born there.[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Six hospital groups 'most fundamental reform in decades'". Irish Medical Times. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  2. ^ Kirkpatrick, p. 7
  3. ^ Slemons, J. Morris (1912). "The Prospective Mother: A Handbook for Women During Pregnancy".
  4. ^ Kirkpatrick, p. 25
  5. ^ a b "Rotunda Hospital". Architecture Of Dublin. Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  6. ^ Kirkpatrick, p. 35
  7. ^ Kirkpatrick, p. 68
  8. ^ Kirkpatrick, p. 104
  9. ^ Claridge, Capt. R.T. (1843). Hydropathy; or The Cold Water Cure, as practiced by Vincent Priessnitz, at Graefenberg, Silesia, Austria (8th ed.). London: James Madden and Co. p. 37. Retrieved 2009-10-29. Full text at Internet Archive (
  10. ^ a b Nightingale, Florence (1860). Notes on Nursing: What it is and what it is not. Boston: William Carter. Retrieved 2009-10-24. Full text at Internet Archive (
  11. ^ Gordon, Richard (1983). "Disastrous Motherhood: Tales from the Vienna Wards". Great Medical Disasters. London: Hutchinson & Co. pp. 43–46. p.43
  12. ^ Holmes, O.W. (March 1842). "On the contagiousness of puerperal fever". New England Quarterly Journal of Medicine. i: 503–30. in Gordon, R. (1983), p.147.
  13. ^ Kirkpatrick, p. 198
  14. ^ "New RTE series delves behind the scenes at world's longest running maternity hospital in Dublin". Irish Post. 13 September 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Trinity College Campus Maps:-Rotunda". University Of Dublin, Trinity College. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  16. ^ "The Rotunda: Behind the scenes at the world's oldest maternity hospital". Irish Times. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Patient Information Booklet" (PDF). Totunda Hospital. Retrieved 6 May 2019.


External linksEdit