Inside Grangegorman

Inside Grangegorman is a history of Grangegorman Mental Hospital in Dublin, which was also known as the Richmond Lunatic Asylum and St Brendan’s over the time it existed. It’s written by a mental health care professional, Professor Brendan Kelly. While telling the history of the institution, he weaves through case studies of patients, anonymising their names and preserving their dignity, even though many are dead over a century. It’s a sympathetic look at mental health in Ireland, noting that this was an area that the Catholic Church did not control. This didn’t stop far too many people being admitted and left there. At times this included those whose afflictions or health concerns were wholly unsuited to being there, such as people with intellectual disabilities.

Any historian or genealogist would gain a greater knowledge of this world from reading the book. Kelly is to be commended for balancing a difficult subject while keeping the reader engaged but not too depressed. There is also a substantial bibliography for further reading. I love a good bibliography.

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