Irish T.B. Society.

  • Founders -  Doctors  GF Cullen,  Noel Browne, Alice Barry, Arthur J Walshe, PJ McEnroy,  and John Duffy,  PJ McEnroy


  • T.B. was in decline in the U.S., when this was built as is obvious from the Graph below. It was in decline in the U.K. too for Decades before that, but was still hign in the 1950's in Ireland. See Susan Kelly -  Tests in 1947, showed that over half of Chilldren in parts of Ireland, had been exposed to T.B.. One of the common sites in Children was in the Bone, from drinking contaminated Milk?
  • Irealnd's first Sanatorium was built in 1896 in Wicklow.


  • tb deaths in decline, in the United States.
  • U.S. C.D.C. - "By 190040 of the 45 states had established health departments. The first county health departments were established in 1908. 
    Ireland, didn't have this sort of infra structure, until much later.
    In the U.S., 1900 - this Disease claimed 194 per thousand, dropping to 46 in 1940.
    Ireland's worst year - 1907.
    tb ireland 1864

 BCG (Bacillus Calmette–Guérin) Vaccine.

The B.C.G. Vaccine was introduced in Ireland in 1949
Since April 2015, there has been no BCG vaccination programme in Ireland.

By the end of 1950, both Streptomycin (an Antibiotic) and Para-aminosalicylic acid (PAS -  Antibiotic), were available followed by !soniazid in 1953 (ref) . The first phase of Construction was already complete at this point so it was Drugs and technoligies which meant that Merlin Park Hostpital was no longer needed for T.B.  treatment and repurposed to Geriatric and Orthopedic. 

Covid 19 

  • Merlin Park Hospital, is instrumental in the anti Covid 19 Campaign in Galway, of 2020
  • Unit 3 is designated as the  "Covid 19 Hub", though not very active as of Apr. 2020
  • Though T.B. is a Bacteria and Sars Covi 2 is a Virus  - elements which were built into the design of Merlin Park Hospital, are very relevant.
    • Long narrow buildings, which allowed the passage  through of the Air, are important. A dilution effect, if you will. The Units were deliberately apart, for the same reason.

Mortuary ( Morgue ).

  • Another flat roofed, single-storey structure within sight of the Entrance.
  • Deliberately positioned, to separate the Public from infected Patients?
    In the case of Blanchardstown - "The mortuary was to be located at the western extremity of the site. To hide the reality of death from patients as in other sanatoria"
  •  53.277324,   -9.003464
  • Boarded-up, now.



  • Architect - Mr Norman White, originally from New Zealand.
  • Contract signed - 1949, First phase opens in 1952 and the rest in 1954, though not as much for the treatment of T.B. as expected as that disease  proliferation was waning by then. Streptomycin was available by then. (ref.).
  • Mass Concrete. Everywhere, that a Tree doesn't live.
    • It is on the still-reserved Road in, punctuated with bumpy expansion joints.
    • Flat Concrete Roofs on each Unit, and likewise for Balconies where they exist.
    • Railings are mild Steel, as were the Window and Door Frames - now replaced for obvious reasons.
  • Some Units are split-level due to the general elevation, some having Schools beneath, in the past.
  • This Campus, was aligned with the Sun, and is obvious with both a Map, and the South Facing Veranda's coupled with Doors between the large Window foot-print - through which, the Patients could be pushed, in a Bed or C hair of course ;?
  • Cast Iron Eave Gutters, can still be seen.
  • Merlin Park does not look unlike Blanchardstown which officially opened in 1955.


  • This complex, or group of Buildings were regarded as a Sanatorium, more than a Hospital. It was built for recovery, rather than procedures or Surgery - to Convalesce.
    • Replaced - The Woodlands Sanatorium in Renmore, which was a progressive but still make-shift or extemporised facility ( that place, used Pavilions).

  • T.B. wasn't well understood, but some isolation, fresh Air and Sunshine, were thought to help. The Buildings were spread out, were more or less south facing. 
  • Even today, some of these measures, hold up today. See a video clip from 2020, where an Epidemiologist lays it out.


  • Prior to the inception of this Facility, the Land was owned by Captain Waithman and his Wife, who relinquished it to the Galway Corporation.
  • Used to administered by the Western Health Board from 1971,. All National Health Boards were disbanded and all came under the control of the  H.S.E. (Health Service Executive) in 2005.
  • Restructured in 2013, and became part of the Saolta University Health Care Group
    I suppose that the State owns it.


  •  53.277629 ,   -8.993643
  • It has the light Green coloured Roof in the centre of the image.
  • Download KMZ    
    Merlin Park Chapel


  •  53.276742,   -8.994758


Matron's House

  •  53.278597,    -8.984928
  • Unused for years. Former residence of the Matron - the matriarch of the Nurses.
  • Nearest structure to the Back Gates / Merlin Lane.
  • Nearly, overgrown.


  •  53.276623° ,   -9.003753
  • The Estates is the loosely used name for the section which deals with the property.
  • In this case, it is administrative Offices, located near the Dublin Road Entrance, which has the name of "Technical Services" on it.
  • It has newish Portable Offices, surrounding an older structure.
  • Old Maps, mark "The Lodge" , near this location. Presumably, the Gate House of the  Estate, before it became a Sanatorium.

Woods and Grounds.

  • Very Spacious Grounds, whether this was coincidence, or not - but space and ventilation would have been a prerequisite, given the understanding of T.B. at the time
  • Multiple Houses were built for Staff Members, but have since, been re-purposed.
    • At least one, is missing -knocked, and formerly a Bungalow.
      • See Video on Y.T.
      • Two separate and partial Chimney Stacks remain upright. At least one upper section is lying on the ground.
    • Another, was burned down, or burned to some degree, and removed.
    • One - a Two Storey,. A.K.A. Wilson's House, and now the Ceim Eile Centre.  53.278911,   -9.003007
      • This was partially burned in 2013, but is reconstituted. 
    • The Matron's House.
  • The Merlin Park Castle, is just outside of the grounds, to the North West.
  • Has a Bus Service, and Stop. Bus Eireann. 
  • . That understanding, was limited in practice at least. Students from Saint Patrick's (Pat's) School were brought in to entertain the Patients through the medium of Music. No protection, (aside from Youth ), was offered or demanded.
  • Just North West, is the Merlin Park Castle.
    • Merlin Lane, is to the East, and now a Residential Road.
    • All about, are the fine Trees and Woods - something that the Natives wish to preserve and reserve.
    • Galway Hospice, failed to get planning Permission to build a Facility to the South.
  • Historically, this Hospital served a predominant Roman Catholic population, and had its own Chaplain.
  • A Public House - The Merlin is the south side of the Dublin Road. This Road has changed Boundaries if you like, for various reasons.

Merlin Park Walks.

  • There was a dedicated website, but it appears to be re-directing to Saolta.
    Anyway,  a number of Walks are named after historic drivers of this facility-
    • Harry Hitchcock - a Respiratory Doctor
    • Noel Browne - ex Minister for Health (1948 to 1951 )
    • Desmond Kneafsey - a Cardio-thoracic Surgeon. 
    • Norman White - the Architect
    • Waithman.

Mr. Albert Wilson - Orthopaedic Surgeon  in the '70's. Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. (F.R.C.S.)


Old Waithman / Blake House
Old Waithman / Blake House, Merlin Park
aerial view
Aerial View of the Hospital