RICHMOND DISTRICT ASYLUM

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Richmond District Asylum
At the beginning of the nineteenth-century there was minimal specialist institutional provision for those deemed insane in Ireland. The lunatic department of the House of Industry, which in 1809 had forty-six cells reserved for this population, was heavily over-subscribed as individuals were sent there from throughout Ireland. Therefore, the governors of the House of Industry petitioned the British parliament for funds to construct additional buildings to meet this demand. The government agreed to fund the construction of an asylum and at the cost of £2,000 lands adjoining and to the east of the site of the House of Industry were purchased and an architect, Francis Johnston, was appointed. It officially opened as the Richmond Lunatic Asylum in 1815 with 250 beds, although it had received its first patients from the lunatic wards of the House of Industry in the previous year. It was named after Charles Lennox who was the Duke of Richmond and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1807–1813). Initially, it was established as a national asylum to received curable lunatics from throughout the island of Ireland. From 1830, however, it was incorporated into the district asylum system. Thereafter it was renamed the Richmond District Lunatic Asylum and its catchment area was defined as the city and county of Dublin, the counties of Wicklow, Louth, Meath, and the town of Drogheda.

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