Apothecaries' Hall of Dublin

Originally one of the guilds of the city of Dublin, the Apothecaries' Hall was a regulatory body for apothecaries and later medicine.



Carved rhino from the mace of the Apothercaries' Hall of Dublin
Carved rhino from the mace of the Apothercaries' Hall of Dublin

The Irish Apothecaries traces their origins back to the Guild of St Mary Magdalene in the 15th century, which originally represented apothecaries, together with the barber-surgeons and periwig makers. In 1746, a Royal Charter of King George II established the Guild of St. Luke for the Dublin Apothecaries, with powers to regulate the profession. This regulation was enhanced by King George III with the Apothecaries Act of 1791, which established Apothecaries’ Hall. Under the Act, which is still in force, the Hall is comprised of a governor, deputy governor, thirteen directors and up to 60 Members. The 1791 Act regulated the training of apothecaries, which required an apprenticeship of seven years. The Hall also had the authority to examine and issues certificates to Apprentice Apothecaries, Journeyman Apothecaries and Master Apothecaries (who could open a pharmaceutical shop).

Under the 1858 Medical Act the qualification of Licentiate of Apothecaries’ Hall (LAH) was included as one of the recognised qualifications to practice medicine in the British Isles. Apothecaries’ Hall was an examining and licensing body for medicine, not a teaching one. Applicants had to present evidence of adequate attendance at lectures and clinical instruction before sitting the examinations. In 1971 the General Medical Council (UK) and the Medical Registration Council of Ireland removed the Hall’s Licentiate as one of their recognised medical qualifications.


The Apothecaries' Hall today

Crest of the Apothecaries' Hall of Dublin
Crest of the Apothecaries' Hall of Dublin

In 2011 Apothecaries’ Hall sold their building at 95, Merrion Square. The Hall’s archive, portrait and object collection were transferred to the RCPI Heritage Centre, where they are available for researchers to consult. The Hall continues to meet and is now housed within the RCPI Heritage Centre.

Today the focus of Apothecaries’ Hall is on the promotion and preservation of the history of medicine and pharmacy in Ireland. The Hall runs an annual Charles Lucas Memorial Lecture on an aspect of the history of pharmacy in Ireland. With RCPI the Hall also funded a PhD Fellowship in the history of medicine (2015-2018), this was awarded to Fiona Shannon for her research project Irish Traditional Medicine Post Independence: An analysis of the ‘Schools' Manuscript Collection’.


Charles Lucas Memorial Lectures

You can watch webcasts of all the previous Charles Lucas Memorial Lectures using the links below. Please note that no lectures were held between 2020 and 2022 due to the COVID 19 pandemic.