Thursday 22 February 2018

College of Surgeons celebrates 200 years

Ciaran Byrne

UNTIL the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland was granted a charter in 1784, it had been left to barbers to patch up bleeding and open wounds.

With no surgical system in place, crude operations were carried out in filthy conditions across Ireland and many people died in absolute agony.

In 1810 the RCSI moved to a purpose-built home in Dublin's St Stephen's Green and 200 years of training and expertise have evolved since.

Last night a reception was held to mark the 200th anniversary and to recall honorary fellowships for figures such as Mother Tersea, former US president Jimmy Carter, Louis Pasteur and Nelson Mandela.


George III gave the college the power to control the practice and surgical education under the motto 'Consilio Manuque' meaning 'Scholarship and Dexterity'.

Since then almost 20,000 Irish and international surgeons have graduated through the college which now even runs its own schools in Asia.

The reception at the College was last night attended by Dublin Lord Mayor Cllr Emer Costello and the RCSI's often turbulent history was recalled.

The RCSI trained 1,000 surgeons for the bloody Napoleonic wars and its building was occupied during the 1916 Rising by Countess Markievicz and 170 others.

The bullet holes from that time are still visible in the stone facade but these days the staff are more engaged in more peaceful pursuits.

Since 1810 more than 19,000 students have graduated including Pat O'Callaghan, Olympic gold medal-winning hammer thrower in 1928 and 1932, Navin Ramgoolam, the current Prime Minister of Mauritius and Felipe Contepomi, the Argentine and former Leinster rugby player.

In June 2007, former US president Jimmy Carter was awarded honourary fellowship of the College in recognition of his work in promoting peace, health and democracy throughout the world.

Irish Independent

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