The Mater Hospital: Where History is Made

The Mater Hospital in Dublin first opened its doors in 1861. It has a fascinating although often forgotten history. From using cocaine as pain relief in the 19th century to treating the wounded of the 1916 Rising, the hospital has always been a fascinating place.

Strange as it sounds, it is also where I first came up with the idea to start podcasting. In 2010 having been diagnosed with Crohn's disease I was unable to work and to keep myself occupied I started making this show. Fast forward ten years and nearly 20 operations, podcasting has now become my full time career.

In this show I return to the Mater to look at the extraordinary history of the hospital. In what is a very special episode recorded in the old victorian wing, I look at what the hospital was like in the late 19th century. The archivist Helen Madden gives fascinating insights into

  • What was 19th century operations were like.
  • What was hospital food like in the early days?
  • How the Mater treated those injured in the 1916 Rising.
  • The story of the republican hunger-striker Thomas Ashe who died in the Mater in 1917.
  • How tensions rose between the hospital staff and the IRA during the War of Independence after a patient in a nearby hospital was executed!

I also interviewed Prof Ronan Cahill about the extraordinary history being made in the Mater today through the use of robotics and AI.

I would like to thank Helen Madden & Professor Ronan Cahill for taking the time to talk to me and Debbie Killeen for her work in making this episode possible.


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