History of Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City

In 1720 it was known as something completely different, The North Infirmary Hospital, the first general hospital to be opened in Cork. Originally it had accommodation for 24 patients and was 70 feet long by 24 feet wide and mainly gave basic medical services to the poor people in the city, with the majority of patients being Catholic.

It was not an easy ride for the hospital. It was funded by donations but with the cities ongoing population growth and the development of the northern suburbs, The Infirmary was under pressure for money and space.

The North Infirmary was caught up one way or another in Irelands political upheaval. There was the First World War, the 1916 Rising, the tragic deaths of the cities two Lord mayors, the burning of the city centre, The War of Independence, The Civil War and the Second World War. A 5 o’clock curfew was vigorously enforced and if you broke it, you were shot. They were exciting but dangerously traumatic times in Cork. Wounded volunteers were often brought in the hospital backdoor and secretly treated before being released again.

In the early 80’s there were talks about the hospital’s future. The Irish Government was sending out daily reminders to tighten their belts and that health cuts were on the way. There was mounting speculation that several hospitals were to close. There was disbelief when it was discovered that the North Infirmary was among them. It was unthinkable that the only hospital in the vast Northside was to close.

On May 12th 1987, 5,000 staff from 14 hospitals in the county marched through Cork in protest at the cutbacks. Still the Irish Government stubbornly refused funds to upgrade the hospital.

At precisely 4.46pm on the 26th November 1987, the North Infirmary passed into the realms of memory as the nearby Butter Exchange Band and Shandon Bells played a duet of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ 2,000 people, each with a lighted candle, looked on as the lights were slowly switched off from the top to the ground floor.

How Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City came to be

After the closure of the building as The North Infirmary Hospital, the next few years the building was never out of the news. The legal ownership was being questioned. Vandals wrecked the vacant building. A fire badly damaged the ground floor, it was declared a derelict building and there were calls to have it demolished. Two million pounds was paid to redevelop the building into The Shandon Court, which was aimed at the corporate and business sector. After a few short years the Choice Hotel Group took over and extended the building to give it 101 guest rooms, a bar, 2 meeting rooms, a restaurant and a state of the art leisure club. Finally, Dalata Hotel Group PLC purchased the hotel and in 2008 the hotel became Maldron Hotel Cork. Later becoming Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City when a second Maldron Hotel, Maldron Hotel South Mall, was opened in the city.

The Irishness of Maldron Hotels is here to be experienced. When compared to the function of its predecessor, The North Infirmary, today’s hotel is the same but different: you’ll be made welcome, everything will be done to make you comfortable and you will be sent home happy.

Timeline

1720 – North Infirmary Erected
1744 – Musical Society of Cork donates money to build a large extension to the hospital. It now had 11 physicians and 5 surgeons who attend the hospital free of charge.
1751 – An Act of Parliament was passed, which gave the right to purchase property to develop the Infirmary.
1759 – Doctors Frankland and Sleigh were appointed at a fixed salary of 20 pounds p.a. and the hospital had 20 beds
1783 – Trustees of the North Infirmary beg leave to return thanks to Mrs Sarah Creed for the supply of old linen.
1787 – John Howard, a prison reformer inspects the North Infirmary
1799 – A fancy dress ball raised £397 for the Infirmary
1808 – Funds were low, the building was in poor condition and there was an appeal for donations for a new roof. “We are forced to appeal to the charitable feelings of the humane public, and we do so with confidence on behalf of an extensive institution, which for fifty years past has never ceased to shelter the homeless wanderer, feed the hungry, solace pain in poverty, and heal wounds”
1829 – A committee was formed to urgently raise money, eventually raising £3,200. Fr. Mathew the famous temperance priest donated £250
1832 – There was a serious outbreak of cholera in the city which led to the Infirmary being turned in a cholera hospital even though it was deemed to be in a “ruinous state and totally unfit”. Its patients were transferred to the South Infirmary
1834 – The poor Law Act was passed which meant the state had responsibility for providing basic support for poor people
1836 – The new hospital was opened for patients. The architect of the building was William Hill
1840 – There were 1,369 admissions, extern was 16,128 and 90 beds were available
1844 – 33,951 prescriptions were issued and gas lighting was introduced to the building
1847 – The Irish Famine decimated the country. The North Infirmary was taken over and used as a temporary Fever Hospital
1866 – One of the medical staff, Dr. O’Sullivan, won the consent of the management committee to introduce trained nursing sisters to care for the needs of the patients.
1867 – Four nuns from the Daughters of Charity, led by Sr. Teresa arrive at the North Infirmary. They initially met with opposition to their presence from both members of the management and the current staff but they persisted.
1869 – Management pays tribute to the Sisters in their annual report “The Sisters of charity who have the care of the RC patients, have not only realized our expectations of their efficiency, but have surprised us by exceeding our greatest hopes. We foresee that the good work which they have already done gives fair promise for the future. It would appear that their desire is constantly to increase their sphere of usefulness, without any consideration for their own temporary interests, which they value only so far as they can be devoted to the serving of the poor”
1884 – Lady Combermere leaves £28,000 for the erection of the Gibbings Memorial Wing, a training school for nurses, which was located at the foot of Roman Street and opened in 1893.
1909 – Sr. Teresa dies but at her death the hospital had beds for 115 patients, a modern operating room, spacious wards and an excellent nursing staff.
1913 – An x-ray department was established as well as the outpatient department and dental hospital and nursing school.
1914 – The outpatient department and dental hospital was established.
1916 – Dr. C Y Pearson of the North Infirmary was appointed Hon. Surgeon to the King of England; George V.
1987 – 5,000 staff from 14 hospitals in the county marched though Cork and brought the city to a halt in protest at the governments suggested cut backs.
1987 – The North Infirmary closes

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