Patients and former staff of the first general hospital to open in Cork are set for special treatment next weekend at events to mark the 30th anniversary of its closure.
Management at the Maldron Hotel near Shandon — housed in the former North Infirmary Hospital building — have invited anyone with a connection to the hospital to share their stories and visit the hotel next Friday and Saturday as they host a series of commemorative events.
New Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, and his wife, the Lady Mayoress, Georgina, who worked in the hospital’s clerical department, will be among the guests.
Hotel general manager, Robert McCarthy, said they are conscious of the building’s history and want to mark the anniversary of the hospital’s closure: “There is not a day goes by here that we are reminded of the fact that this building was once a highly regarded hospital and one that had a huge connection to the local community and beyond.”
The hotel’s leisure club was once the hospital morgue, the original hospital staircase is still in-situ and, of its 101-bedrooms, the shape of 60 has changed little since they were hospital rooms.
Mr McCarthy said: “Some people come to stay with us specifically because they were treated in the hospital as children. We are calling on the people of Cork, and the hospital’s ex-employees to come forward with their memories of the hospital.”
The hotel will host a concert by John Spillane and Conal Creedon, based on the hospital and northside of the city, on Friday, and a memorial afternoon on Saturday featuring a short documentary, I Went Down To The North Infirmary.
The North Infirmary opened in 1720. By 1840, it had 90 beds and 1,369 admissions. It went on to become one of Cork’s largest hospitals, serving expanding suburbs on the city’s northside.
Savage health cuts in the 1980s saw it targeted for closure and its doors were shut on November 26, 1987, despite huge opposition.
The building lay derelict for several years before it was developed as a hotel, before Dalata bought it and launched the Maldron Hotel in 2008, spending €3m over the last two years upgrading its bedrooms, the ground floor bar, restaurant, leisure club and reception area.
The hotel is set to be upgraded to a four-star property in September.
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