'Growing Pains: Childhood Illness in Ireland, 1750-1950' is the first history of Ireland’s unique responses to safeguarding childhood health and treating physically, psychologically and socially vulnerable children. Despite the immense interest sparked by recent child abuse and orphan vaccination trials, the history of childhood illness in Ireland has remained largely hidden.
One of the book’s editors, Anne Mac Lellan, grew up in County Meath and attended Lismullen National School, and St Michael's, Loreto, Navan. Anne works as a senior medical scientist in Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown. In 2011, she completed a Wellcome Trust funded PhD in UCD's School of History and Archives. She is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Laboratory Sciences and her contribution to Childhood Illness in Ireland is entitled The Penny Test:Tuberculin Testing and Paediatric Practice in Ireland, 1900-1960.
The book also investigates medical management in the home, hospitals, reformatories, industrial schools and workhouses – places where treatments ranged from the unorthodox to the experimental. Growing Pains provides an account of infectious and non-infectious diseases such as rickets, smallpox, tuberculosis, Spanish flu, epilepsy and opthalmia, and explores community and institutional responses to these illnesses across the centuries, as well as describing the medical pioneers who fought for better treatment and condition for Ireland’s children.
Another of the contributors, Jean Walker, lives in Ballivor and teaches in NUI Maynooth on the Social History of Health and Medicine in Ireland, and on Gender and Identity in Ireland. She was awarded her PhD in 2010 for a survey of The Westmoreland Lock Hospital, Dublin, and the treatment of syphilis. Jean’s chapter in Childhood Illness in Ireland is on the treatment of children in the Westmoreland Lock Hospital, Dublin in the nineteenth century.
Five of the contributors will talk on their contributions to the book at a launch on Thursday 26th September at 7.30pm in the County Library in Navan, and copies of the book will be available. The event is free to attend and everybody is welcome.
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