Our Hospital and its History

In 1821 the first children's hospital in Ireland and Great Britain known as the "Pitt Street Institution" was founded.  It was the first hospital in Ireland and Britain established specifically for the care and treatment of children and they sought to improve child and family centred care. Dr. Charles West who worked in the hospital went on to found Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in 1852. In 1875 the National Orthopaedic and Children's Hospital was established and it was formally joined with the Pitt Street Institution in 1884.  They both moved to Harcourt Street in 1887.  The stated objective of the hospital at that time was, "to educate mothers and nurses regarding the proper management of children in both health and disease." 

From its earliest days, The National Children's Hospital placed strong emphasis on the concept that trained nurses are needed to deliver nursing care.  As a result, in 1884, The National Children's Hospital in conjunction with The Meath Hospital and County Dublin Infirmary established the Dublin Red Cross Training School for Nurses which was the first in Ireland.  In 1965 The National Children's Hospital established the first Irish paediatric haemotology service.  The first Bone Marrow Transplant in Ireland was performed by Professor Ian Temperley in the hospital in 1978.

As far back as the 1960's visiting restrictions were relaxed and open visiting was introduced at the National Children's Hospital.  In the 1970's Dr Mervyn Taylor pioneered the introduction of parent accommodation within the hospital so that parents could stay in hospital with their children.

It was acknowledged that parents are not visitors yet in 1972 only nine mothers stayed with their children in hospital that year. By 1985 funding was provided by the Department of Health and Children for a purpose built Mother and child Unit which was opened by President Patrick Hillary -

a former medical student of the Hospital.

The first schooling for children was provided at the child's bedside by Mrs O'Riordan in 1966. Play was seen as an important element in the welfare of the sick child and therefore books and toys were wheeled around on trolleys daily for selection by children.  The first playroon was established in the hospital in 1971.

The move from Harcourt Street to Tallaght Hospital took place on June 21st 1998 when 115 patients were transferred from three Dublin hospitals, the Meath, the Adelaide and the National Children’s Hospital, bringing together three Dublin hospitals to one overall 35 acre site at Tallaght..  This amalgamation was a unique challenge, bringing together over 600 years of medical and nursing care and education from the three hospitals to one greenfield site.  With 562 beds, 12 theatres and 14 critical care beds, Tallaght Hospital is a public, voluntary, teaching hospital, funded by the Health Service Executive and  is one of Ireland’s largest acute teaching hospitals and is one of two main teaching hospitals of Trinity College Dublin - specialising in the training and professional development of staff in in areas such as nursing, emergency medicine and surgery, amongst many others.

Tallaght Hospital is unique in that it is part of two hospital groups, Dublin Midlands Hospital Group 
and the Children’s Hospital Group which serves a population of over 1.2 million across seven counties across Leinster.

Over 70,000 children attend The National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght, every year. 

The hospital prides itself on providing excellent care in a number of areas including, Endocrinology, Surgery, Radiology, Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes, Asthma and allergies. There is also a very busy paediatric A&E department that treats over 32,000 children a year. The hospital’s outpatient department facilitates multidisciplinary care supporting its core services and houses the first Short Stay Observation Unit in Ireland. Extensive research into the area of childhood illness is carried out in the hospital and Trinity College’s Paediatric Department is also based here.  The National Children’s Hospital developed and manages the National Childhood Diabetic Register.

Contact the Foundation

Children's Health Ireland @ Tallaght, Dublin 24
Foundation Office: 01 414 2374
Tallaght University Hospital: 01 4142000

The National Children’s Hospital Foundation is the business name of the National Children’s Hospital, a charity (CHY233) incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee No14275, Registered in Dublin, Ireland

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