ADELAIDE ROAD DUBLIN
I cannot remember photographing this building before. Many years ago a woman on Leeson Street asked me for directions to the Royal Victoria Hospital and I was somewhat confused as I had believed that the Royal Victoria was in Belfast. Anyway, I explained that the only hospital was the Eye And Ear of Adelaide Road and she decided that must be what she was looking for.
Known as the ‘Eye and Ear’, this hospital presents a grand façade to the public, reflecting the status of the institution.
The mansard roof with spired towers along with the breakfront and projecting end-bays give a strong sense of symmetry, and endow it with an air of authority. Casey (2005) describes it as ‘a long and relatively shallow hospital building with a Queen Anne-cum-neo-Georgian entrance front of brick and Portland stone.
Busy pedimented centrepiece with arcaded quoined porch and overscaled Venetian window above lighting the stair hall. Advanced and pedimented end blocks with nicely massed tower-like elements at the junctions with the principal range. Large wards open off long spinal corridors. Plain interiors, except the stair hall which has long columnar screens on three levels and attractive Georgian-Revival detailing’.
This plot on Adelaide Road was bought by the Council in 1899 for £3600. The new eye hospital in Utrecht, The Netherlands, formed the inspiration for Caroll and Batchelor’s design of the hospital as it was a leading centre of ophthalmology. Although it is dated 1897, building started on the plot in 1901 and the hospital opened in 1903. Building on the west wing commenced in 1912 but was not completed until 1927. The memorial to Swanzy, the chief founder and prominent ophthalmologist, was executed by Albert Power and unveiled in 1916.