Ireland’s victorian asylums

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    • #708772
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster
    • #782879
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @Paul Clerkin wrote:

      Is this just being let rot?

      http://www.sligozone.net/StColumbas/StColumbas.htm

      Beautiful building, know nothing about it though

    • #782880
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      No! It’s been renovated and is now the Clarion Hotel: http://www.choicehotels.ie/hotels/clarion/hotel?hotel=IE068. Haven’t been near it since it opened, though, so I can’t comment on how good a job they did. I studied in Sligo and our studio was just across from it, used to break my heart to see it falling apart, so I’m glad someone “rescued” it.

    • #782881
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      Okay.
      Would have loved to wander around it in its derelict phase.

    • #782882
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @Paul Clerkin wrote:

      Okay.
      Would have loved to wander around it in its derelict phase.

      It was pretty creepy to walk around in, it had that classic abandoned in a hurry look (i’m sure it was all done in proper order), chairs scattered around huge well proportioned rooms, notes and prescriptions littering the floor, net curtains blowing in the breeze, padded cells. The odd day release patient from the new hospital wandering the grounds. One, how shall we say it, … ‘townie’ from our PLC course wouldn’t even go down into the basements, he said he was never going back down there again! wouldn’t blame him, those grand stairs leading down into pitch black. It had something of that eerie 2001 effect achieved in the hotel in the shining.
      I notice they don’t mention it was a mental hospital on the Clarion site!, never heard anything but i’d say there’s some strange energies up there!:eek: ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • #782883
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Indeed – as one visitor to the hotel on a website put it:

      “It is not easy to get past the fact that it is a former mental institution. It looks like a cross between a castle and a prison. In the public spaces it has a modern, airy feel. The carpet was noteworthy because the design was of two half-circles that did not meet up. So it was meant to look designer-trendy, but in the mental institution context, it made one surmise that inmates made it. There were also two very small rooms on either side of the front doors that laughingly made us think of rubber rooms. Probably not fair, because they had nice chairs in them, but, again, it comes with the mental institution tradition.”

      All the reviews of the hotel are typical for the average Irish four-star – ‘wonderful’ if staying in a suite, ‘nothing special’ if a standard room ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for that story Bago – most interesting.

      A bizarre looking building, disjointed and confusing, with a mixture of styles and differing levels of quality. Hence it will come as no surprise that it was designed by William Deane Butler ๐Ÿ™‚ – otherwise known as the mind behind Connolly Station.

      Picturesque in parts:

      And plainly bizarre in others…

      A wider view:


      http://www.clarionvillage.com

      Those watchtowers completely freak me out – wouldn’t stay there if you paid me.

    • #782884
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      the watchtowers are indeed bizaare – thats what makes it so prisonlike.
      other areas looks like pieces of a large Victorian castle – bay windows, gables, nice chimneys
      quite the bastard child of architecture

    • #782885
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      and another of the big mental hospitals closes

      St Canice’s hospital in Kilkenny closes
      Michael Parsons

      One of the State’s largest and best-known mental hospitals, St Canice’s in Kilkenny, has finally closed after more than 150 years. The last remaining patients have been moved to a new, 28-bed unit which has been constructed nearby at a cost of รขโ€šยฌ1.9 million.

      Mary O’Hanlon, a Health Service Executive (HSE) manager for elderly care and mental health services, said she was “delighted that plans for purpose-built accommodation in modern surroundings for the patients concerned had come to fruition”.

      St Canice’s was one of a number of “asylums” opened in Ireland during the Victorian era. It was established in 1852 and a first batch of patients was transferred there from the Carlow asylum. In 1925, the new State introduced legislation which ordered that “district lunatic asylums maintained by county councils . . . shall henceforth be styled and known as district mental hospitals”.

      Patient numbers at the old hospital had been declining since the opening of a new 45-bed acute psychiatric unit at St Luke’s General Hospital in 1993 and because of what a HSE spokesman said was the trend towards “the community care model”.

    • #782886
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Given its location (opposite side of the street from Sligo IT) and its size and architectural gravitas, it would have made a perfect university building. Yet another real lost opportunity to develop the North West.

    • #782887
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I stayed here recently.

      I must admit I thought it was a former County Home before I checked in and kept wondering why the (original rooms) were relatively small.

      My visit was initially over shadowed by foul weather, a problem about a missing reservation, and a less than helpful staff member dealing with it. However, the initial conversion is an interesting mix of old and new materials and a rather nice choice of interior fabric and pictures in both public spaces and bedrooms. It is certainly worth a walk through if in Sligo. The two exterior former (mortuary?) chapels do give a fairly creepy air to the front drive.

      I noticed that the street is called “Clarion Road” now. Anybody recall what it was before?
      By the way my first time back in Sligo for many years, while there is much new building a lot of it is not of the type likely to wear well. Even at the weekend, the traffic was painfully slow, the signage fairly dire for a tourist place.

    • #782888
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      The views from the bedrooms to the rear mustn’t be that impressive either with all those student apartments going in behind.

      http://www.clarionvillage.com/site_plan.html

      It would seem to be a lost opportunity alright for Sligo IT to expand PDLL, especially with the accommodation now on the doorstep. Do some of the bedrooms really make use of the original rooms dc3?! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
      Looking at this map, it’s interesting to note just how far outside the town the ‘aslyum’ was originally located, long before all that sprawl developed:

      http://www.clarionvillage.com/images/map_big.jpg

      Another psychiatric hospital likely to close soon is the sprawling but gracious, mellowed red brick complex of St. Ita’s in Portrane, Co. Dublin. Built between 1896 and 1900, it was the first asylum to be built without a security wall – a little more can be found here:

      http://gofree.indigo.ie/~arts2001/itas.html

      Of course it featured in an television documentary series by Alan Gilsenan nearly a year ago now, the first edition going into detail about its history and how the place is gradually becoming redundant, like all the other ‘asylums’, due to the switch to day and home care. In essence, it seems they’re waiting for the few remaining elderly residents to live out their last few years before closing the complex. Few more details here:

      http://www.rte.ie/tv/theasylum/about.html

      Here it is viewed across Rogerstown Estuary from the Northern Line in the morning mist:

      Its four iconic structures can be seen from miles around: the clock tower, the water tower, the chimney stack, and a round tower memorial. It’s incredible how self-sufficient this institution once was, so much so that it really had little contact with the outside world, isolated out on that lonely peninsula. In many ways this helped to preserve the fine buildings through constant maintenance and a lack of interference from outside quarters.

      Indeed if the chronic under-funding of mental health services in this state has had a single ounce of benefit, it has been the preservation of time capsule complexes like these. Not even the funding was made available in the 70s to replace the main blocks’ timber sash windows with a typical aluminium upgrade – though it is noteworthy that they were pulled out in what seem to be managerial buildings on the site…

      This redundant complex could make for the most wonderful new planned urban development – a bizarre Edwardian model town of sorts admittedly – but a highly desirable place to live. The site is of such significance that Fingal CC have placed a blanket listing over the 100 buildings on the site!
      The tall main blocks could contain goodness knows how many apartments, all with large windows and probably sweeping views of the sea. There’s also smaller buildings, as well as a ton of sturdy little staff cottages, and acres of surounding land, some of which could be developed too.

      All provided that the gazillions generated by the sale get ploughed straight back into the mental health services needless to say – preferably day care buildings that we can equally drool over today let alone 100 years time.

    • #782889
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @dc3 wrote:

      I stayed here recently.
      I noticed that the street is called “Clarion Road” now. Anybody recall what it was before?
      By the way my first time back in Sligo for many years, while there is much new building a lot of it is not of the type likely to wear well. Even at the weekend, the traffic was painfully slow, the signage fairly dire for a tourist place.

      It was originally called Asylum Road if memory serves me correct. Probably not a bad idea to change the name although I don’t like the ‘corporatization’ of a street name. Given the many scenic features in the general area, it could have been called something a little more in keeping with the topography of the locality. Oddly enough, in the madness of its heyday, the asylum was often referred to by locals as ‘The Leitrim Hotel’, so perhaps its change of usage hasn’t been as dramatic as one might initially think.:)

    • #782890
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      St Davnet’s in Monaghan – a large sprawling complex of buildings…

      http://www.irish-architecture.com/buildings_ireland/monaghan/monaghan/davnets.html

    • #782891
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      ๐Ÿ˜Ž Our Lady’s hospital in Cork must be one of the finest examples in the country.
      U.C.C. refused to move a northside campus there some years ago as a campus on the northside would not have suited the college’s image (pity).
      It was then sold on to a developer who turned the building into apartments that look great but were never a commercial success due to the large amount of rentals.
      I would like to post photos but still can’t figure out how to do it, (any help?)

    • #782892
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      ๐Ÿ˜ฎ That Clarion Hotel in Sligo is so “House on Haunted Hill” it’s not even funny. Just look at it….. it’s pure dodge. And I agree…. Our Lady’s is stunning.

    • #782893
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Is Dundrum (the Central Mental Hospital) not Victorian? 1850?

      I am looking forward to it being closed. I know someone who works there who says the conditions are unbelievably bad – slopping out etc. It will be great when that terrible wall comes down and the land gets luas justified rezoning so that even fewer people can board at Milltown.

      below is an aerial shot of just a portion of the mental hospital lands in Dundrum.

    • #782894
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Re Dundrum Asylum

      Yes it is indeed amazing how much space there is on that site.

      If redeveloped it is likely to have a huge, and very negative impact on the already chaotic traffic in this area, (one narrow road, constantly choked in the peak with Dundrum / Mountial slopes area traffic). Just as the apartments at Milltown Bridge have already helped make bus travel in this area near impossible, with much vehicle turning in and out of here causing the road to move at a snails pace,

      Indeed it is remarkable how little apparent interest there is in the future of this very important site, with no suggestion for any amenity use of the Dundrum site in prospect. It would seem that it has already been discarded by the locals, the high wall making it out of sight, out of mind. However x thousand apartments might wake them up.

      Regarding the wall – is it not probable it would be retained?

      Another land block here that must be very vunerable is the Marist Fathers land slightly closer to town on the same road.

    • #782895
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Correction

      Should have read “Mountain slopes”

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