The lunatic asylums now dotted around Ireland offer a grim reminder of the past. Since the early 1800s there have been thousands of patients unnecessarily admitted to these asylums. These patients were subjected to horrible conditions. Overcrowding, widespread disease and harsh treatment were commonplace in most Irish asylums. Many people diagnosed as mentally unstable (sometimes for incredibly trivial things at the time) lived out the rest of their days behind the walls of these asylums in inhumane conditions.
There is plenty of reading on the horrors that went on in these asylums elsewhere online so I will not delve too deep into it here. I would rather not give the location of this asylum as it is a sensitive site. For this reason I cannot give out any history on this building itself. I will however show you what this Irish asylum looks like these days now that the once packed wards and corridors now lie completely empty. In recent decades up until the closure of a lot of asylums in this country, conditions obviously improved however it’s still easy to imagine what had previously happened within the walls of these buildings.
“Richmond Asylum is located in Grangegorman in the north inner city, just over 1km from the city centre. It has a long history in serving the people of Dublin since the establishment of the Houses of Industry for the poor in the 1770’s. In 1810 the Governors of the House decided to build a separate institution to house mentally ill patients. The Richmond Asylum was opened to patients in 1814 and was designed by Francis Johnston, the foremost architect of the day. This building, now known as the Lower House, was built as a large quadrangle but only its southern range remains standing today.” (History taken from http://www.ggda.ie)
Interestingly, this building was also used as the GPO in the set of the popular film “Michael Collins”: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebfotos/2768175437/in/set-72157607800122155/
Today, this last remaining block of the asylum is in a fairly bad condition. Fires have gutted some of the rooms on the ground floor and some serious decay means that the upper floors are very unstable and most are just about ready to collapse. Luckily the basement is still in quite a good condition, maintaining a few interesting pieces including the old latrines, which were basically holes sawed out of a long wooden bench! Several other interesting features survive around the building despite all the damage which has been caused by the fires and the natural decay, making this a pretty interesting explore.