Medicine in Trinity College Dublin: an illustrated history

Davis Coakley

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2014, Trinity College Dublin,                                                                                                   344 Pages

The medical school in Trinity College Dublin is one of the oldest in Europe and because of this a history of the school is also a history of the development of medical education and clinical practice in Ireland over the centuries.

The medical school emerged from an intellectual milieu created in the 1600s by a group of Dublin physicians, many of whom had studied on the Continent. The evolution of the school is described against the political background of the period, such as the Cromwellian and Williamite wars. This approach is maintained throughout the book with accounts of how major events such as the Act of Union, the agitation for Home Rule, the War of Independence and the First World War impacted on the school.

The later chapters describe the school’s adaption to an independent Ireland, its survival through recurrent recessions and the effect  of the ban on Catholic students attending Trinity. The book concludes with an account of the remarkable development of the school and its two major teaching hospitals, St James’s Hospital and Tallaght Hospital, over the last thirty years. The story is brought up to date with a description of the growing contribution which the medical school is making to international medical research through the creation of several large research institutes.