Reading for Old Soldiers

A free public talk by Dr Jason McElligott

Saturday, 18 May, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

in the Lecture Room, Main Square, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Military Road, Dublin 8, D08 FW31.

The opening of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham (RHK) in 1684 marked a major advance in the care of wounded and elderly soldiers in Ireland.

The number of men at any one time in the RHK varied from 400 to 650. Soldiers wounded in battle often died soon after entering the hospital, but those who survived frequently lived long lives. In 1744, for example, Corporal James Dunwoody from Lisburn had already spent 32 long years in Kilmainham.

“Books for Old Soldiers: The Libraries of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham” will discuss what officers and men did to pass the time. One common leisure activity was reading. A small library of 250 books was created in 1712 and from the 1850s a much larger collection of several thousand volumes was formed. What sort of books did the officers and men read? What do these books tell us about the soldiers, the hospital, and the military culture in which they lived?

You can book a free ticket here

Jason McElligott is the Director of Marsh’s Library, founded as the first public library in Ireland in 1707. He is a native of Cabra in Dublin and did his undergraduate and MA degrees in history at UCD, and his Ph.D. at St John’s College, Cambridge. He is a former Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and is writing a monograph on book theft in 18th-century Dublin.

Connect On Social
Connect On Social
Search what: