Negotiating insanity in the southeast of Ireland, 1820–1900

By Catherine Cox

Negotiating insanity in the southeast of Ireland, 1820–1900

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7503-2
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £75.00
  • Published Date: August 2012
  • BIC Category: History, Social & cultural history, Humanities / Social & cultural history, History of medicine, European history, MEDICAL / History, Humanities / British & Irish history


This book explores local medical, lay and legal negotiations with the asylum system in nineteenth-century Ireland. It deepens our understanding of attitudes towards the mentally ill and institutional provision for the care and containment of people diagnosed as insane. Uniquely, it expands the analytical focus beyond asylums incorporating the impact that the Irish poor law, petty session courts and medical dispensaries had on the provision of services. It provides insights into life in asylums for patients and staff. The study uses Carlow asylum district - comprised of counties Wexford, Kildare, Kilkenny and Carlow in the southeast of Ireland - to explore the 'place of the asylum' in the period.

This book will be useful for scholars of nineteenth-century Ireland, the history of psychiatry and medicine in Britain and Ireland, Irish studies and gender studies.


'NegotiatingInsanity is an insightful analysis and deserves to bewidely read, not alone by upcoming academics in the field of research oninsanity, but also because it is an invaluable addition to the scholarship ofsocial, medical, psychiatric and historical research in Ireland and Britain.'

TrionaWaters, Mary Immaculate College, Irish Economic and Social History 44 (1)


Catherine Cox is Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland and Lecturer in Modern Irish History at the School of History and Archives, University College Dublin


1. Shaping the Irish asylum system
2. Expansion and demand
3. Routes into the asylum
4. Insanity on display: Magistrates, doctors and the family, 1840-70
5. Institutionalisation: Households and gender
6. Workhouses and the Insane
7. Inside the asylums

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