The History of the National Rehabilitation Hospital
The National Rehabilitation Hospital as it is known today can trace its beginnings back to 1916 when it was still a private residence called “The Cedars”.
The house along with 60 acres of land, on Rochestown Avenue, Dún Laoghaire was acquired by the Reverend Mother M. Malachy of the Sisters of Mercy.
On the site at Rochestown Avenue the Sisters arranged to build a hospital for the treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis, and after extensive alterations it was opened and blessed by Monsignor O’Donnell on 11th February 1918. Around this time the late Archbishop Walsh made an unofficial visit to the Sisters, and expressed a wish to Sr. M. Xaveria, the first local Superior, that the Hospital should be called “Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital”.
At the time the surrounding area was open countryside and the Hospital stood isolated on a beautiful site between busy Dublin and fashionable Bray and only a ten minute bus journey from Dun Laoghaire. The Hospital grounds incorporated a farm and the purchase of a portion of land known as “Wood Park” in 1942 helped considerably to provide fresh vegetables for the patients and pasture for the livestock.
A brochure issued in the early days of the Hospital tells us of its delightful location;
“From the windows of every ward there is afforded an uninterrupted view of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains. Whilst the exquisite panorama of the whole County Dublin, from Howth Head to the Vale of Shanganagh, can be enjoyed by the patients from the roof of the Hospital.”
When the eradication of Tuberculosis was imminent, the Sisters saw the need for the provision of rehabilitation services. They undertook further training and recruited specialist rehabilitation staff. In 1961, the hospital reopened to provide specialist adult and paediatric rehabilitation services for patients from throughout Ireland.
In 1994, a decision was taken by the Board, under the stewardship of the then Chairman, Henry Murdoch, to change the name of the hospital to the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH). This was to clearly identify the hospital in the public mind as, by that time, it was known by many different names such as: the Cedars, Our Lady of Lourdes, National Medical Rehabilitation Centre and NMRC.
Today, backed by experience, clinical expertise and a solid reputation for excellence, patients at NRH are given every opportunity to meet their rehabilitation goals through personalised treatment plans.