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.