Dublin, 1745-1922

Hospitals, Spectacles and Vice

By Gary Boyd

This innovative book interprets architectural spaces in the light of the underlying tensions between 18th-century Dublin as a fashionable resort and the attempts by the authorities to deal with some of the results of its apparent profligacy. These include the creation of new institutions as well as other measures designed to remove ugly realities from the street and purify urban space. Based mainly on 18th- and 19th-century archival material from the Rotunda Hospital, the Lock (venereal) Hospital and the Hospital for Incurables, this book challenges the vision of 18th-century Dublin as an ideal Protestant city by investigating the hidden world behind its wide streets and magnificent Georgian facades. The decision to establish the British Isles' first maternity hospital on the northern edge of Sackville Street (today's O'Connell Street) was grounded in a series of imperatives where obstetrics and medicine were only part of the overall story. The adjacent Pleasure Gardens, created ostensibly to provide funds for the hospital, introduced new types of social engagement and an increase of commodified forms of entertainment to the city. The Gardens, characterised by acts of spectacle and display, soon acquired an additional reputation as a site of sexual adventure and louche behaviour, one which ultimately would be extended to the city. (Series: The Making of Dublin)


224 pages

Publication Date: 2/1/2006
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781851829668

Available in other formats