Over 360 years of history
The Fraternity of Physicians of Trinity Hall is founded by John Stearne, Professor of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin, to improve the practice of medicine in Ireland.
28 June 1667
First Royal Charter
The College of Physicians in Dublin is established by Royal Charter granted by King Charles II. Under the Charter no person can practice medicine within a seven mile radius of Dublin unless licensed by the College. The Charter named the first 14 Fellows of the College, and confirmed Stearne as President for life.
16 August 1667
Grant of Arms
A Grant of Arms was made for the new College. The arms show the celestial hand descending out of a cloud to take the pulse of the temporal hand, over the Irish harp. The motto Ratione et Experientia (reason and experience) is also granted. A version of these arms and motto remains in use to this day.
15 December 1692
Second Royal Charter
A second Royal Charter is granted by King William and Queen Mary, the powers of the College to grant licenses is extended to cover the whole island of Ireland; the College also has the power to examine midwives and Apothecaries. The College is renamed the King and Queen’s College of Physicians in Ireland, and Patrick Dun is appointed President. The 1692 Charter, although heavily modified, is still the governing document of RCPI to this day.
24 May 1713
Death of Sir Patrick Dun
Sir Patrick Dun, 13 times President of the College, died on 24 May. In his will, Dun left his substantial property in trust for his wife during her life and, on her death, to the College. The funds were to be used to establish a Professorship, and became an important source of income for the College into the 19th century. He also left his library to College.
School of Physic Act
The School of Physic Act is passed, settling a lengthy dispute over the use of the money from Dun’s estates. Three King’s Professors are appointed at a fixed salary, with a fourth Professor of Midwifery to follow. The rest of the income from the estate is to go towards establishing a hospital, to be called Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital.
Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital
The foundation stone of the new Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital on Artichoke Road (now Grand Canal Street) is laid. The hospital opened in 1808 and in 1812 the College was given a meeting room in the new hospital.
College President William Stokes commissioned his friend, the artist Sir Frederick William Burton, to design a mace for the College, made by West & Son in Irish silver.
The Medical Act
The Medical Act is passed, introducing registration of medical practitioners for the first time. Under the Act, the College is named as one of the recognised awarding bodies for medical qualifications.
The Kildare Street Club
1 July: The College bought the premises of the Kildare Street Club for £5,000. The club moving to a new building at the bottom of Kildare Street.
11 November: A fire destroyed the new premises before the College could move in, but an insurance payout of £6,000 was received and was put towards the construction of a new building.
A new home
Following the fire on Kildare Street, the College invites six architects to submit designs for a new building for the College. The College choose the design submitted by William Murray Jr., and the College’s new home at 6 Kildare Street opens in 1864 following a four year building project.
Ten years after the opening of the building on Kidlare Street, the College decide to extend the building. The former racquet court of the Kildare Street Club at the back of the site is incorporated into the building, becoming the Corrigan Hall.
The Enabling Act
The College takes advantage of the Enabling Act, which allowed colleges to decide if they would admit women to medicine. Elizabeth Louisa Walker Dunbar is the first woman Licentiate of RCPI, and the first woman to be allowed to practice medicine in the British Isles under the Act.
A new order of Membership
In response to the growing number of medics in Ireland, the College introduced the order of Membership of the College, as a step between Licentiateship and Fellowship.
The Conjoint Examination Board
The Irish Conjoint Board was established between the College and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). The Board awards the joint licentiates of the two colleges, which is a recognised medical qualification under the 1886 Medical Act.
A new name
Letters Patents are granted by Queen Victoria, changing the name of the College to the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.
Adaptation of Charter Order
The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (Adaptation of Charter) Order is passed to make RCPI’s Charter valid under the laws of the new Irish State.
Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is founded as the professional and training body for the specialty within RCPI.
Irish Committee on Higher Medical Training
The Irish Committee of Higher Medical Training is founded to oversee the specialist training of Irish doctors
Special Membership Exams
A special Membership exam is introduced to allow senior medics not involved with the College to be fast-tracked to Fellowship. This addresses the long standing issue of Catholic doctors not joining the College.
Faculties of Occupational Medicine and Public Health Medicine
The Faculty of Occupational Medicine and Faculty of Public Health Medicine (originally Faculty of Community Medicine) are founded as the professional and training bodies for the specialties within the College.
Collegiate Membership is established to give Members greater involvement in the running of the College.
Director of Education
Brian Alton is appointed as first Director of Education in the College, as RCPI develops its postgraduate education programme.
Faculty of Pathology
The Faculty of Pathology is founded as the professional and training body for pathologists within the College.
Faculty of Paediatrics
The Faculty of Paediatrics is founded as the professional and training body for paedeatricians within the College.
An MRCPI exam is held outside of Ireland for the first time.
Higher Specialist Training
The Higher Specialist Training programme is launched in five specialities.
Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine
RCPI and RCSI establish a joint Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine.
Refurbishment of 6 Kildare Street
6 Kildare Street undergoes extensive restoration and refurbishment, and opens as a conference and events centre.
First CEO appointed
RCPI holds an intensive review of the structures and by-laws of the College, resulting in the reorganisation of its corporate functions and the appointment of Leo Kearns as the first CEO.
Public Meeting Series
RCPI’s Public Meeting Series is established to provide a forum where expert advice and medical knowledge can be made available to the public.
Clinical Care Programmes
RCPI and the Heath Service Executive (HSE) found Clinical Care Programmes, to develop and implement models of best practice in clinical care in Ireland.
National Programme Office for Traffic Medicine
RCPI and the Road Safety Authority of Ireland establish the National Programme Office for Traffic Medicine.
RCPI and HSE establish the Equals Initiative to donate good quality medical equipment to hospitals in Zambia.
International Clinical Fellowships
International Clinical Fellowships is launched, offering two to three years of hands-on clinical training to doctors from outside Ireland who are sponsored by their government to undertake postgraduate medical training abroad.
Launch of Towards 2026 - A future direction for Irish Healthcare
18 October 2017
First Female President
Prof Mary Horgan elected as President of the College, the first woman to hold the post in the history of the College.
RCPI's Heritage Centre receives Full Accreditation under the Museum’s Standards Programme for Ireland run by the Heritage Council
Public Health (Alcohol) Bill
Public Health (Alcohol) Bill passes all stages, following advocacy over a number of years by the RCPI Alcohol Policy Group and Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland.
Agreement with iheed Training
RCPI signs a collaboration agreement with online medical education group iheed Training Limited, to offer new postgraduate programmes for healthcare professionals.
Institute of Medicine
The Institute of Medicine is established becoming the training and professional body for Clinical Medicine specialties in Ireland, replacing the Irish Committee on Higher Medical Training.
RCPI supports it's members in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuting to provide training and examinations for trainees.
The National Immunisation Advisory Committee ,within the College, provides expert advice on the role out of the vaccination programme.
Strategic Plan 2021-2024
RCPI launch a new three year strategic plan. This includes the creation of a new Healthcare Leadership Function in the College, with Prof Trevor Duffy appointed as the first Director of Healthcare Leadership.
RCPI achieves accreditation by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the first step towards increasing the number of education programmes with postgraduate qualifications.
Investors in Diversity
RCPI awarded Investors in Diversity Bronze accreditation from the Irish Centre for Diversity in recognition of our commitment to a diverse and equal workplace.