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History of the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital

Established in 1826, the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital is currently approaching nearly 200 years of caring for women and new born babies. Today, the hospital provides the most comprehensive healthcare service in Ireland for women and infants, at local, regional and national levels.

Our story begins in October 1770 when Lord Brabazon laid the foundation for a new general hospital in the Coombe area. The hospital, known as The Meath Hospital and County Dublin Infirmary, was opened the following year. In 1823, the hospital was purchased by Dr John Kirby and renamed the Coombe Hospital on a site known as Dean Swift's Vineyard in Heytesbury Street.

Royal Charter

Fittingly, a woman was responsible for the establishment of the hospital as we know it today. Mrs Margaret Boyle founded the maternity service in 1826 with a gift of one hundred pounds, and in 1829 the hospital was purchased from Dr John Kirby and opened as The Coombe Lying-In Hospital. Over the following years, many new developments were undertaken including the opening of the gynaecology ward, the establishment of midwifery training, and the building of a new wing donated by the Guinness family. In 1867, the Coombe Lying-In Hospital was granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation, which gave the hospital its legal status. In 1926, the hospital celebrated its centenary by hosting the first international medical congress to be held in Dublin.

In 1964, the foundation stone of the hospital's current site in Dolphin's Barn was laid and the new hospital opened in 1967. The hospital has experienced great expansion over the years, including taking responsibility for providing maternity services to St James's Hospital patients from 1987.

Name change

On December 8th 1993, the hospital was renamed the Coombe Women's Hospital, making it the first named women's hospital in the country. It has since been renamed the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital to incorporate its strong academic links. The name change also reflects a holistic approach to women and infant health care.

Famous visitors

Many high profile individuals have visited the hospital, including Joseph Lister, the pioneer of antiseptic surgery (1857); Her Majesty, Queen Mary (1911), former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, (1998), former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese (2001) Professor James J Heckman, Nobel Laureate (2007) and President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins (2012).

Website first

The Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital became the first Irish women's healthcare institute to establish its own website. This has proved to be a valuable information facility with over 25,000 hits a month from site visitors as far away as Singapore and Brazil.

Recent demographic research indicates the demand for the hospital's services will continue to increase in the future.




Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital
Cork St.
Dublin 8.

Tel: +353-1-408 5200
Fax: +353-1-453 6033

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