The original North Infirmary hospital was built in 1719-20, on the site of the churchyard of the old St Mary's Church that was destroyed during the Siege of Cork in 1690. This was the first general hospital in Cork and it provided basic medical services for the poor. It was described as 'the most ancient provincial hospital in the Empire'1 by the chairman of the committee of managements, Rev. Dr Quarry in 1829. The hospital was initially 70 feet long by 24 feet wide, and was built to house 24 patients. The building was later extended, thanks to donations from the public and from proceeds of fundraising by a musical society. An extended North Infirmary opened in 1744. The map detail on the right shows the North infirmary as represented in Thomas Holt's map of Cork city in 1832. An Act of Parliament was passed to secure the future of the infirmary in 1751, and by 1771 the North Infirmary had further increased its capacity. The North Infirmary continued to care for the people of Cork through the rest of the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth century. In 1836, a new hospital, designed by architect William Hill, was opened on the site with a capacity of 90 beds. The North Infirmary treated patients during some turbulent times in Irish history. During the 1847 Famine it temporarily became a fever hospital. In 1883 a north wing was added. This wing opened in 1893 and added an extra 36 beds to the hospital. The cost of the wing was covered by a donation from Lady Combermere, daughter of Dr Gibbings. Dr Gibbings worked in the North Infirmary for many years and the new wing was named in memory of him. This new wing had a distinctive yellow-brick curved structure. A large stone tablet can be seen inside the gates of the hotel with the Latin inscription: "NOSOCOMIUM HOC DEO AUSPICE FUNDATIUM ANNO SALUTIS 1720" [This infirmary under the auspices of God was founded in the year of salvation 1720]. Below this heading is a list of those who subscribed to the construction of the hospital. In 1917, the military authorities in Cork sent wounded soldiers from the World War I front to this infirmary. Republican volunteers wounded during the war of independence were also, even if covertly, treated here. The hospital closed in 26 November 1987 due to cutbacks in state funding. The building remained derelict for a number of years until it was purchased and developed into the Shandon Court Hotel in 1996. After it was extended further to 101 rooms it was renamed the Maldron Hotel in 2008.
North infirmary in 1914
1Evening Echo, 'North Gate' supplement, 25 November 1987, p. 1.
Cork Examiner, 27 November 1987, p. 22.
Ireland's Own, 26 February 2010, p. 60.
Ireland's Own, 30 November 2007, p. 5-6.
Richard T. Cooke, My home by the Lee. Irish Millennium Publications, Cork, 1999, p. 198.
Peter Foynes, Walking Shandon: A guide to Cork's historic heart, Cork Butter Museum Ltd, 2007, p. 9.
The people's North Parish pilgrimage: a souvenir publication. Typing Times Publishing House, Cork, 2000, p. 15.
National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, www.buildingsofireland.ie