Irish medical education and student culture, c.1850-1950

Laura Kelly

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ISBN: 9781786940599

Publication: September 15, 2017

Series: Reappraisals in Irish History 8

In the USA? Buy the Hardback US edition
This book is the first comprehensive history of medical student culture and medical education in Ireland from the middle of the nineteenth century until the 1950s. Utilising a variety of rich sources, including novels, newspapers, student magazines, doctors’ memoirs, and oral history accounts, it examines Irish medical student life and culture, incorporating students’ educational and extra-curricular activities at all of the Irish medical schools. The book investigates students' experiences in the lecture theatre, hospital, dissecting room and outside their studies, such as in ‘digs’, sporting teams and in student societies, illustrating how representations of medical students changed in Ireland over the period and examines the importance of class, religious affiliation and the appropriate traits that students were expected to possess. It highlights religious divisions as well as the dominance of the middle classes in Irish medical schools while also exploring institutional differences, the students’ decisions to pursue medical education, emigration and the experiences of women medical students within a predominantly masculine sphere. Through an examination of the history of medical education in Ireland, this book builds on our understanding of the Irish medical profession while also contributing to the wider scholarship of student life and culture. It will appeal to those interested in the history of medicine, the history of education and social history in modern Ireland.

Laura Kelly is Lecturer in the History of Health and Medicine at the University of Strathclyde.

Introduction 1

1 The Medical School Marketplace, c.1850–1900

2 ‘Entering upon an Honourable and Important Profession’: Irish

Medical Student Image and Representation in the Age of Medical Reform, c.1850–1900

3 Beginnings: Medicine and Social Mobility, c.1850–1950

4 Educational Experiences and Medical Student Life, c.1880–1920

5 ‘Boys to Men’: Rites of Passage, Sport, Masculinity and Medical Student Culture, c.1880–1930

6 ‘This Feminine Invasion of Medicine’: Women in Irish Medical Schools, c.1880–1945 1

7 Medical Education and Student Culture North and South of the Border, c.1920–1950


"Irish medical education and student culture, c.1850-1950 is much more than a survey of student life in Ireland. It delves into the darker side of a medical education, revealing tensions arising from class, gender, and generational change.”

Dr Ciaran O'Neill, Trinity College Dublin


Format: Hardback

Size: 239 x 163 mm

296 Pages

11 B&W illustrations

ISBN: 9781786940599

Publication: September 15, 2017

Series: Reappraisals in Irish History 8

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