Abandoned ireland


St Kevin’s Hospital

Shanakiel, Cork

Documenting our Heritage

St Kevin’s Hospital is an imposing red brick structure over looking the banks of the river Lee, in Shanakiel, Cork. (Unfortunately over the years, the river Lee was also the cause of many patient deaths due to drowning) The hospital is generally recognised as occupying one of the most valuable pieces of land in Cork.

St Kevin’s was built in 1893 as an annex at the eastern end of the Our Lady’s Hospital complex. It originally accommodated 490 patients, operating as a mental asylum and was in use until 27th March 2002 when the last remaining patients were transferred to the Carraig Mor Centre. In recent times St Kevins was used to house the Southern Health Board’s North Lee mental health services and also operated as the Southern Health Board’s Intensive Care Unit for Cork City and County.

In 1999 the Southern Health Board considered using St Kevin’s as it’s new administrative headquarters but instead the SHB purchased the Cork Farm Centre at Dennehy’s Cross.

St Kevin’s has been abandoned since 2002 and is now falling into a derelict state.

The hospital has recently been the focus of some media attention due to the revelation by Health Minister Mary Harney that between 2002 and 2007, Euro 1,590,975 had been spent on security at the site amounting to more than Euro 300,000 a year, or nearly  Euro 6,000 a week.

All the hospital windows are boarded up however when the photographers visited the site the door was found open and unsecured. There was no evidence of any security presence on the site.

The interior of the structure is terribly dark, the atmosphere horribly sinister and oppressive. It’s clear that this hospital has had a troubled past. Refer to the further reading section for accounts of the terrible patient conditions.

"Over the years the conditions inside Our Lady’s Hospital and St Kevin's was condemned and declared a total disgrace. The people incarcerated in the asylum were guilty of nothing. Vulnerable, innocent  and harmless. They did not deserve what was done to them. Victims of misfortune, victims of illness and indeed, tragically, of abandonment. They were locked up in a vermin-infested, unsanitary, dirty, dark confinement” (the conclusion of the Inspector of Mental Hospitals 1940)

St Kevin’s
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