St Gerard's, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

In 1910, Miss Mary J Cruice founded the St Patrick's Guild to provide for the care of destitute Catholic pregnant women and nursing mothers and their children. Its first premises were at 46 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin.

In 1919, the Guild opened a mother and baby home at 39 Mountjoy Square, Dublin, which became known as St Gerard's. The establishment, run by lay Catholic staff, also acted as a training school for nursery nurses.

In 1930, the Guild opened St Patrick's Infant Hospital, at Temple, Hill, Dublin. Children boarded out by the Guild 'who become delicate' were transferred there, as were babies from 39 Mountjoy Square.

An inspection in January 1937 reported that there was accommodation at St Gerard's for 19 patients in five wards. There were two baths and four WCs. There had been four confinements since May 1936. The person in charge was a qualified nurse and midwife. There were two qualified nurses and two qualified midwives but it is not clear if this meant there were two, three or four staff. A maid and a nursery maid were also employed. The inspector considered that it was adequately staffed. The report noted that the infants were 'kept till adoption'.

In 1938, St Gerard's transferred to new premises at Herbert Avenue, off Merrion Road, Dublin.

Towards the end of 1939, there was a dispute between members of the committee of St Patrick's Guild about the operation of St Gerard's. Miss Cruice decided to close it down as she considered that 'the type of cases for which this Home was intended were not coming there'. St Gerard's never re-opened as a mother and baby home and in 1943 the St Patrick's Guild was taken over by the Irish Sisters of Charity.

In January 2021, Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation made its final report, which included an examination of the operation of the St Gerard's. However, a lack of available records at that time limited its examination of the establishment. On the basis of its capacity and the recorded births in the 1930s, it was estimated that over its period of operation,the Mountjoy Square establishment catered for no more than 200 women and their children.

Records

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Bibliography