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Asylum: Inside Grangegorman Brendan Kelly | Royal Irish Academy

Release Date10/09/2023
PublisherRoyal Irish Academy

In 1814, the Richmond Lunatic Asylum at Grangegorman in Dublin started an extraordinary programme of asylum building across Ireland, aimed at alleviating the suffering of people with mental illness who were homeless, in prison, or confined in appalling circumstances. By the mid-twentieth century, Ireland had proportionately more people in ‘mental hospitals’ than any other country in the world. On a given night, the number of people in Ireland’s psychiatric hospitals was more than double those in all our other institutions put together: prisons, laundries, mother and baby homes, industrial schools, orphanages.

What was the life of a patient in an asylum really like? Through letters, medical records and doctors’ notes, Brendan Kelly gives us a glimpse inside Grangegorman and the lives of those who lived and worked there.

Written by Brendan Kelly and illustrated by Fidelma Slattery.

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