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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Carlow Past & Present

By Mrs. Annie Parker-Byrne for the CARLOVIANA 2000 Edition p. 34 & 35.

Carlow Past and Present

by Annie Parker-Byrne

In this issue of Carloviana I would like you to travel back with me to look at Carlow Hospitals, in particular the Old Fever Hospital in Bridewell Lane dating from the early 1800's. Fever Hospitals were in abundance in the area at that time due to cholera, scarlatina, dysentery, smallpox, tuberculosis, typhus not to mention hunger and want. All but the last two were equally shared by rich and poor alike.

Some place names in use in the 1800's are still in use today, in a new millennium. Many land marks and place names have disappeared from the area but records and memories of the past do exist.

The Old fever Hospital at Bridewell Lane, in what the current generation calls "The Old Jail". This was later called Clarke's Mill and subsequently Hanover Mill, owned by the late Nome Gillespie. Hanover Court, as the site is now called, are the location for town houses and apartments.

In 1828 the physician to the Hospital was a Dr. Byrne who held the position for about 3fi years, when he contracted a Fever and passed away. His successor a Dr Stone, held the position for a similar period and also succumbed to the Fever.

On 23rd April 1836 Dr. Connor was appointed to the post, and the hospital had 11 patients, but in 1937, Dr. Connor was hit by the Fever but unlike his predecessors he fortunately recovered and continued to look after his patients until May/June 1844 when he was forced to retire by an attack of Typhus. While he was ill a Dr White looked after the patients, but he too succumbed to a fever a month later.

The Kilkenny Road, then took charge of the Fever Hospital and he oversaw the transfer of the patients from Bridewell Lane to the Mill lane Fever Hospital. The records indicate that Axel Teegan, Tullow Street was the first patient to be transferred on 2nd November 1842.

Subsequently, on the closure of the Mill Lane fever Hospital seven patients were transferred to Green lane Hospital, these patients being - Catherine Walsh, Esther James, Joe Patterson, Cath Kinsella, Pat Tiemey from Graigue, aged 20, Mary Rourke, aged 19, and Billy Milibanks, Hanover Bridge.

Patients were recommended for admission by the following, Doctors O'Meara, Bradley, Rawson, White and Porter, Rev. J. Jameson, Messers Alexander, Cullen, Jackson, Rochford, Fishbourne, Tuckey, Fitzmaurice, Montgomery, Shackpot, Duckett, Falkiner, Kavanagh, Burton, Cooper and Haughton. Some of these names will be familiar to some of the readers.

The following were appointed to the Committee of the Fever Hospital on 20th November, 1844 - Col. Breen M.B. , H. Faulkner, M. C. Bruen, H. Rochford, H. Cussy, S. Elliott, William Duckett, Adam Jackson, John Clarke, J. Haughton, J. Alexander, T. Haughton. H. Walters, W. Carey and William Fishbourn, both Senior and Junior.

Patients addresses are naturally very familiar, even though many of the former dwellings are now banks, shops and offices erected on these sites i.e. Askea, Military barracks, Gallipot Row, Barrack Street, Hanover Bridge, John Street, Dublin Street, Charlotte Street,

Tullow Street, Scraggs Alley, Potato Market among others. The Attending doctor sometimes wrote a remark or two after entering a patients name in the records. This probably helped the doctor to remember who the patient was, unlike today when we're all on computer, everywhere, including the doctors office. The following were among the comments but to protect privacy names will not be given for fairly obvious reasons.

1.  Slept in wet bed. Fever,. When well pain in leg. Ate well sent home.
2.  Sweet Brinn Jaundiced.
3.  Ran away over wall.
4.  Would not take medicine. Here often. Impudent. Went away.
5.  Humbugging. Sent away.
6.  In decline. Wished to go home.
7 . Sent to Poorhouse. "Gauch" would not take hun in as left there as a foundling.
8.  A stroller from Bagenalstown. Got sick on road from T.B.
9.  Aged 37. Died of Cholera. Grandmother, aged 96 died three hours later.
10. President Carlow Club. Pet. Head.
12. From Graigue. Forbidden to come here. Sent to Barrow Hospital. 13. Infant 2 months old. Mother had no milk. Father could afford to pay for it.
14. Found eating crab apples. Not sick: otherwise.
15.  Female rabbit seller. Brought to hospital as starving and found smoking beside a fire. House had no chimney for fire.
16. Ran away with house shirt.
17. Broke window -stole bread.
18. Walked around room. Went to bed. Lay on side. Died in 5 minutes.
19.  8 months with child - bowels not moved for 10 days.
20. Awful head attack. Had not slept for 10 days before admission or 4 days after. Husband died in Union Fever Hospital. Very impudent.
Other remarks included the following:-
Mrs E.S. (Potato Market Mr 5 never forgave me for curing her.
M, aged 30. - Most outrageous. Frightened E., aged 60, to death, 1 think.
Went home without leave.
Ran away.
Always standing at window.
Collapsed from cold.
7 months "en famille".
Drunk 3 days. Most unmanageable. Died after 6 days.
Walked home.
With fever.
Father, mother and 3 children, aged 7, 3 and 2.
Seven or eight patients from one house on Hanover Bridge. And the list goes on.

The Green Lane Fever Hospital, now known as the Youth Centre. holds weekly bingo sessions and no longer appears to function as its name suggests.

Hospitals are not plentiful in Carlow Town or County in the Second Millennium. The elderly are well cared for in Sacred Heart Hospital. St. Bridgets, St. Fiaac's House, Bethany House all in Carlow Town and in St. Lazerian's House in Bagenalstown together with various nursing homes scattered throughout the County. St. Dympna's Hospital continues to provide for its patients and the District Hospital, for convalescence)is where the Carlow Maternity Hospital used to be. Prospective mothers must travel to Dublin, Kilkenny, Wexford or Waterford to have their babies. Accordingly "true Carlovians" are few and far between these days. The circumstances are much the same if one falls ill. Is this progress?

Will we ever again have our own hospital? Will our place names continue to be used? Will our streetscapes and old historic buildings be preserved and left undisturbed for future generations? Will those whose duty it is, ensure that a careful blend of the old is preserved with the new? What does past experience suggest? If you don't take an interest only until you are directly affected yourself, should you expect others to take an interest when you are affected and they are not

N.B. I wish to thank my good friend who made access to the records possible. Without this help the above article would not have been possible.

Source: CARLOVIANA 2000 Edition

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