Castleisland Fever Hospital & Dispensaries

A fever hospital operated in Castleisland during the Famine.  At a meeting of the Tralee Union in December 1847, Captain Fairfield of Mount Eagle raised concerns about its management.1


Research material in the collection relates to the fever hospital at a later period, 1878 (in which year a temporary hospital was erected) to 1894, with particular focus on the years 1893 and 1894, when a fever epidemic prevailed, and includes notes on doctors and dispensaries.


Cabins in Kerry in 1846 during the Famine


A summarised-history of Castleisland Fever Hospital reveals that it was built in College Road, Castleisland in 1880, replacing a temporary one which had served since the Famine.2


The building fell into disuse after 1894, in November of which year Dr Harold reported ‘no fresh case of fever during the week.  He considered that Castleisland was now in a sanitary condition’.


Caretaker wanted in 1906 at £6 a year


In 1902, it was proposed that the building be utilised as a court-house3 and later, in 1911, application was made to hold a dance at the premises.


Permission to hold a dance was granted in 1911


In the 1920s, Castleisland Dramatic Club was given permission to use a room of the building for daily rehearsal as ‘they had nowhere to go since they were deprived of the library’.


The building was sold in 1930 to Archdeacon Casey. The former hospital is today St Patrick’s Secondary School.4


Former fever hospital now St Patrick’s Secondary School


1 'Captain Fairfield brought before the meeting the case of the Castleisland Fever Hospital, on behalf of the Committee of which the Rev Mr Macintosh and Dr O'Leary attended.  The management of this institution has been, said Mr Fairfield, marked by great want to economy hitherto.  Having referred to two or three items to bear out his statement, Mr Fairfield observed that he had reliance that the institution would be better managed in future' (Tralee Chronicle, 4 December 1847). Further reference to Captain Fairfield (Major Charles George Fairfield) in Philip of the Hundred Cows, a Folktale from Cordal (2015), pp23-31.
2 IE MOD/28/28.1/28.1.9. 
3 In 1902, Mr P M Quinlan, secretary of the County Council, sought terms from the Rural Council to hand over the building to them. It was revealed that the building had been 'idle' for eight years. See 'Castleisland Fever Hospital, Kerry Weekly Reporter, 20 September 1902.
4 See IE MOD/5.