St Patrick's Mental Health Services website uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more details about cookies and how to manage them see our cookie policy.

Archives and museum

The museum is currently closed during renovations. Future updates will be made here. 

The Archives of St Patrick’s University Hospital contains a wealth of historical information of academic, personal or professional interest to researchers. Research facilities at the hospital archives are available by prior appointment with the archivist. Visits to the exhibition room and historic tours of the hospital can also be arranged. There is disabled access to the archives area.

What records are held?

The hospital archives contain a wide variety of records. Most of these records are described in the bibliography of the hospital’s official history (Elizabeth Malcolm, Swift’s Hospital. Dublin, 1989, pp.360-364). The main categories of records are as follows:

Jonathan Swift: There are some financial papers dating from 1703 to Swift’s death. Also, in addition to Swift’s will, there are the papers of his guardians when he was ill (1742-1745) and of his executors (1745-1746). Many researchers also find interesting information in a vast scrapbook of Swiftiana which was donated to the hospital in 1931.

Administration: There is a complete set of Board minutes from 1746 onwards, some of which are supported by contemporary indexes (1835-1901)

Architecture: There are some 50 plans concerned with the development of the hospital, beginning with the first designs of George Semple.

Estate: There are deeds, rentals, maps and other documentation concerning land held by the hospital. The two main locations are Saggart, Co. Dublin and Ferns, Co. Wexford.

Patients: There are registers of patients covering the period 1795-1946 for St Patrick’s Hospital and 1899-1946 for St Edmundsbury.

Privacy: Due to the confidential nature of many of the records concerning patients, a general closure period of 75 years applies to all such records. 

Research topics

Swift: Financial and estate records of Swift

Local history: History of St James’s Gate district, Dublin and of Lucan, estate records for Saggart, Co. Dublin and Ferns, Co. Wexford

Psychiatric history: Methods of treatment and care, kinds of illness, causes of illness, alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.

Social history: Occupational causes of illness (priests, teachers, doctors, farmers, etc.)

Genealogy/biography: Detailed records of patients and some staff, including some famous names, such as the poet Austin Clarke, who recorded some memories of his experience in his poem Mnemosyne Lay in Dust (1966)

Exhibition room

Adjoining the research room is an exhibition room containing six display cases and a wall of display cabinets. Exhibits include both manuscripts and artefacts such as fetters. It is used to provide a visual introduction to the history of the hospital.


In addition to the exhibition room, another visual experience of the hospital’s heritage has been preserved in the form of a traditional cell. In various parts of the hospital, there are artefacts that belonged to Jonathan Swift or with which he had a connection.

Of particular interest is a collection of portraits in the board room. In the corridors of the old hospital there are benches that were once used in the Irish House of Commons. Portraits of important figures in the development of the hospital are on display in the reception area of the new hospital.

How to support the archives

The hospital is a registered charity and would welcome any financial assistance with funding the preservation of its heritage.

The hospital is keen to make additions to its archives and would welcome the donation of papers or memorabilia connected with the hospital, its governors, its staff or its patients. All such donations will be carefully recorded and acknowledged.

Support & Information

Take your first step by making a call – Speak to a mental health professional today

01 249 3333

Sign up to our GP eNewsletter

Sign up to our quarterly GP eNewsletter to receive information about mental health, service updates, events & CPD training at St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.