James Hardiman in “The History of the Town and County of Galway from the Earliest Period to the Present Time”, 1820, wrote that in 1638 Wentworth, the Lord Deputy, directed that a public infirmary be erected in and for the county of Galway. However, it was more than 50 years later before a small building in Woodquay was provided for that purpose. This infirmary was later moved to a house in Abbeygate Street.
An Act of the Irish Parliament in 1765 called for ‘erecting and establishing public infirmaries and hospitals in this kingdom’. Galway Corporation met on 17th April 1796 at which it was ordered ‘that a committee consisting of the principal gentlemen of the town be, and are, accordingly appointed, to inquire and find out a proper place within the county of the town of Galway for erecting a public infirmary or hospital for the reception of poor, sick and disabled persons ’. The Governors of the Erasmus Smith School shortly afterwards donated a site at Prospect Hill for the Infirmary: though it was not until 1802 when the Infirmary at Abbeygate Street finally moved to new accommodation in Prospect Hill.
The maintenance of the new Infirmary was primarily supported by the Grand Jury presentments from the County cess and partly by Parliamentary grants. Membership to the Board of Governors was attained by payment of a subscription. There was also a small body of Official Governors, which included the Archbishop of Armagh, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, the bishop of the diocese and the rector or vicar of the parish in which the infirmary was situated.
Admission to the hospital was permitted upon presentation of a letter from a Governor, and was available primarily for the inhabitants of the county of Galway, rather than the town of Galway.
A Commission of Inquiry into the management and maintenance of the Infirmary was held in 1889. In 1891 the Governors set about approaching the Chief Secretary, to request that a Bill be brought before Parliament which would re-organise and better establish the Infirmary, as had been recommended by the Commission of Inquiry. Also in 1891 the Governors resolved that ‘… there shall be no Funds available for the maintenance of the County Galway Infirmary, the Governors, unwilling to close the Institution without trying every expedient, unanimously resolved to appeal to the charity of the County and County of the Town of Galway, and the public generally, for Subscriptions to enable them to keep the Infirmary open, … ‘ (GH2/3, 29 May 1891). Following receipt of subscriptions from the public the Hospital remained opened until December 1891, though clinical teaching continued at the institution funded by the College. Thereafter the hospital remained opened for paying patients.
The Galway Hospital Act was shortly afterwards brought into effect, which established a new Board of Management for the Hospital. The Board, which reported to the Local Government Board, held its first meeting on 16th August 1892.
Archival History ↴
Official transfer from Galway County Council
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: Galway Infirmary ↴
The Galway Infirmary collection of archives consists of two volumes of minutes of proceedings of the Governors of the County of Galway Infirmary (1802-1892), marked No.1 and No. 3. It also includes plans and drawings of the Infirmary (1858 and 1862).
In Volume ‘No. 1’ (GH2/1) the minutes between 1864 and 1876 simply record the amount that bills were presented for. However, volume ‘No.3’ has slightly more complete minutes for the period 1865-1866. Volume No. 3 (GH2/3) also include details of tenders received, 1866-1870.
Overall this collection illustrates aspects of the early administration of the County Infirmary. It should be of interest to administrative, social, medical, and local historians. The minutes are rather sparse, giving very little detail on the working or living conditions of the time.
Appraisal Destruction ↴
The collection consists of two main categories of records, minutes of the Governors of the County Infirmary and plans and drawings of building. At the back of one volume of minutes (GH2/3) details of some tenders received are given.
Conditions of Access & Use
Available on-line at http://www.galway.ie/en/services/more/archives/digital/ or on microfilm by appointment or on-line. Unrestricted access. The material in this collection is available to all bona fide researchers by appointment only, and subject to the conditions of access governing the consultation of archival material at Galway County Council Archives.
Conditions Governing Reproduction
Bound volumes - photocopying is not permitted
No material may be reproduced from this collection without the written permission of the archivist, and reproductions are subject to the conditions of access.
Digitised version available on-line at http://www.galway.ie/en/Services/ArchivesService/Collections/
See also at IE GCCA:
- Galway Hospital, 1892-1922, (GH1/)
This is a shortened version of the original description for this collection. A longer description is available by contacting the Archive directly.
The minutes are recorded in bound volumes, on good quality paper which carry a water mark bearing the dates 1798 (GH2/1) and 1862 (GH2/3).
Microfilmed in 2009.
Descriptive Control Area
ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.