Historic Shanakiel Hospital to close

Sat, Dec 22, 2012, 00:00

It first opened in 1918 to cater for soldiers and other combatants wounded in the Great War, but yesterday Shanakiel Hospital in Cork closed its doors as a hospital.

It is moving to the unoccupied Cork Medical Centre in Mahon to become the Mater Private Cork.

The last surgical procedures took place in Shanakiel last week, but staff have spent the past week preparing for the move to the new hospital which will open on January 2nd.

Shanakiel Hospital was acquired by private healthcare company Quality Healthcare Ireland in 2004 from the Duggan family who had owned the 44-bed private facility. The hospital, located on the northwest side of the city, is steeped in history.

Besides catering for wounded British army veterans of the first World War, it also treated many British army and RIC officers wounded in the War of Independence.

RIC historian Jim Herlihy said it was to Shanakiel the only British survivor of the Kilmichael ambush in November 1920 was brought for treatment.

Less than two years later, in August 1922, the hospital was to serve as the setting for an even more significant event in Irish history when staff there received the body of Michael Collins.

According to author Edward O’Mahony, the dead commander in chief of the Free State Army was brought to the hospital after he was fatally wounded at Béal na Bláth.

Collins had been touring his native west Cork when he was ambushed by Republicans at about 8pm on August 22nd, 1922. He suffered a fatal wound to the head and when his comrades found him, he was removed from the scene and brought to Shanakiel.

Among the doctors who saw the body was a Dr Ahern who, from army experience, concluded that the wound had been caused by a dum-dum bullet.

Shanakiel had more than 20 consultants and these will move to the Mater Private Cork following VHI approval for the transfer of operations.