HSE Orthopaedic Hospital Oral History Project (d'Orthopaedic)


HSE Orthopaedic Hospital Oral History Project (d'Orthopaedic)


Ireland; Cork; Gurranabraher; Healthcare; Occupational Lore:


This collection project was a collaboration between the CFP and the Cork North Community Work Department, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Health Services Executive, on the occasion of the development of St. Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Gurranabraher, as a Primary Care Centre. This hospital was know throughout Cork City as 'd'Orthopaedic'. The Memories of the Orthopaedic project focused on a cohort of nine interviewees who were associated with ‘the Orthopaedic’ as former staff (including medical and housekeeping), patients and locals who grew up near the hospital in Gurranabraher. The interviews, all but one of which were carried out by Joanne McNamara of the Health Services Executive, took place between April and September 2017. The project resulted in the publication of The Ministry of Healing, St Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital Cork: An Oral and Historical Record (by Tomás MacConmara for the CFP), and elements from the interviews were incorporated into an open-air display linked to a Slí na Sláinte (Path to Health) walking route on the new campus. The project was celebrated and the book launched on 12 April 2018 at the CFP Outreach Hub. The CFP and the HSE subsequently entered into a two-year partnership, the 'Oral History for Health' project that carries out oral history in health care contexts (2019-2020), the first strand of which is the HSE Grattan Street Stories project.


April 2017 - September 2018


Cork, Ireland, 1950s-2010s


Published Material

MacConmara, Tomás for the Cork Folklore Project (2018) The Ministry of Healing, St Mary's Orthopaedic Hospital Cork: An Oral and Historical Record. Cork: Health Service Executive.
Listening Events

Listening events were held where audio material from this collection was played in public and discussed by Cork Folklore Project researchers.

  • Listening Event by Kieran Murphy at Cork Folklore Project Hub, North Cathedral Visitor Centre, Roman Street Formal Launch of "The Ministry of Healing" (see above), April 2018 
The Cork Folklore Project Audio Archive holds recordings of both these events.

Related Collection

The Grattan Street Stories: Memory of Place was also conducted in collaboration with the HSE.

Many of the services from Grattan Street Health Centre were to move to the new St. Mary's Health Campus (St Mary’s Primary Care Centre) Gurranabraher on the site of the Orthopaedic Hospital. Indeed some of the interviews for the Grattan Street project took place in this new centre.

There is thus some overlap in discussions related to the St. Mary's Health Campus (St Mary’s Primary Care Centre) Gurranabraher itself.


Cork Folklore Project Audio Archive


Cork Folklore Project






9 .wav Files

Collection Items

Noel Dempsey: Orthopaedic Hospital, Working Life, Healthcare
The interview explores Noel's memories of working at the Orthopaedic Hospital, nature of work, Sisters in charge, surgeons, theatre work, night shifts, carrying corpses to the mortuary, reflections on working at the hospital, new developments. …

Breda McNamara: Orthopaedic Hospital
Breda details her earliest memories. She says her family moved to Templeacre when she was 1 or 2. There were not many houses around then. The houses were new and surrounded by lots of fields. The Orthopaedic Hospital was up the road in a field. They…

Breda McShane: Orthopaedic Hospital
Breda grew up in Dungarvan Co. Waterford. She moved to Cork in 1975 after getting a job as a clerical worker for the Southern Health Board. Breda moved to Hollyhill in 1980. Six years later she got a transfer to the Orthopedic hospital payroll…

Maura O’Connell: Orthopaedic Hospital, Working Life, Healthcare
Maura was matron of the Orthopaedic Hospital for 20 years until her retirement in 1997. In this interview Maura recalls the various roles she had in the hospital prior to her being appointed matron.
Maura recalls that the nurses residents on the…

Mary O'Sullivan: Orthopaedic Hospital, Working Life, Kitchen Staff
Mary worked in the hospital kitchen for 35 years from 1973.
She describes the type of work that the kitchen staff had to preform, from cooking in the kitchen to scrubbing the walls in the corridors.
Mary says there there would be 7 staff on per…

Dr. John Curtin: Orthopaedic Hospital, Working Life, Healthcare
John, worked at St Mary's Hospital from 1972 to 2003 when he took early retirement. Initially he worked as an orthopaedic register but from 1978 he was consultant.

He remembers thinking St. Mary’s was a very progressive hospital but the layout…

Peter Sargent: Orthopaedic Hospital, Working Life, Healthcare
Peter moved to Cork in his early twenties when he had got a job as a typewriter mechanic. The job involved a lot of travel which did not suit him once he got married.
Peter left this job for a position at St Mary's Hospital as a theatre attendant. …

Tony Fitzgerald: Orthopaedic Hospital, Healthcare, Family
Tony, at the time of this interview was Lord Mayor of Cork.

Lorraine Twomey: Orthopaedic Hospital, Family Life
Lorraine grew up on the grounds of the Orthopaedic Hospital. Her father was the Gate Porter. Her father moved into the gate lodge in 1955 and a year later he married and it became the family home till his retirement in 1991.
Lorraine was one of…
View all 9 items