In the depths of the Coombe in Dublin’s Liberties lies the memorial below. Dedicated to the memory of the many women who gave birth in the Coombe Lying-In Hospital, it has to be amongst the most impressive monuments in the city. The plaque at it’s base reads as follows:
“Towards the end of the 1825, two women in a vain attempt to reach the Rotunda hospital perished, together with their new born in the snow. When this became known, a number of benevolent and well disposed people founded the Coombe Lying-in Hospital in the year 1826 for the relief of poor women. Leading the charitable Committee was a Mrs. Margaret Boyle of Upper Street, Dublin.
The portico surrounding this plaque formed the entrance until the year 1967, when the hospital moved to a new location in Dolphin’s Barn. The old portico having been retained and restored by Dublin Corporation as a memorial to the many of mothers who gave birth to future citizens of Ireland in the Coombe Lying-in Hospital and also to the generosity of the staff and friends of the hospital.”
There had been a hospital on this site for close to 200 years, with the foundation stone for the “Meath Hospital and County Dublin Infirmary” being laid in 1770. This hospital operated in this guise for over fifty years until it was closed in 1823. In 1826 Mrs. Margaret Boyle founded the Coombe Lying-In Hospital on the site, with the Guinness family as one of the hospital’s benefactors. It was Dublin’s second maternity hospital, the first being the Rotunda.
The old Coombe hospital closed and relocated to a newly built premises in 1967. The building was demolished in order to make way for Dublin Corporation housing. Interestingly, the steps at the back of the monument are a memorial to Dublin’s characters of old. Bang Bang and Johnny Forty Coats feature, along with a host of others.