About the building

6 Kildare Street has been the home of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland since 1864. The College has a much longer history and struggled for over 200 years to find a permanent home.


Before Kildare Street

Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital
Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital

When the College was founded in 1654 its first home was in Trinity Hall, part of Trinity College. The Physicians remained there until 1692, when the second Royal Charter was granted to the College. This Charter made the Physicians independent of Trinity, forcing them to move out of Trinity Hall. For over 100 years the College had no home, with meetings held in the homes of the Presidents.

In 1808 Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital opened in Dublin, funded by the Dun's Trust managed by the College. The College was provided with a meeting room and accommodation for the library in the new hospital. Despite finally having a home, the College was dissatisfied, they wanted their own building in the heart of Dublin. The opportunity came in 1860 when the Kildare Street Club offered to sell their old buildings on Kildare Street to the College.


6 Kildare Street

William Murray Jr. design for the new building
William Murray Jr. design for the new building

Just four months after purchasing the buildings on Kildare Street, and before they had moved in, the main building was destroyed by fire. Luckily, the building was insured and the College were able to use the money to commission a new building. Six architects were invited to submit designs, with the College picking the design submitted by William Murray Jr.

Murray's design comprised a grand central staircase, with small offices on the ground floor, a grand hall (now the Graves Hall) and a library running the full width of the front of the building. In July 1864 the College held its first meeting in the new building

we cannot permit the present occasion ... to pass without expressing the satisfaction we feel at the altered circumstance in which the College is now placed from what it has been for so long a period


Minutes of the College, 15 July 1864


Expansion and renewal

The facade of 6 Kildare Street
The facade of 6 Kildare Street

In 1873 the College undertook a significant building expansion project. At the back of the site was a racquets court which had not be destroyed by the 1860 fire. Initially the College rented this court to the Kildare Street Club. In 1873 they took the court back, refurbished the space and linked it to the rest of the building, creating the Corrigan Hall.

The next major change came in the 1960s, when it was discovered that the limestone facade had become detached from the brickwork behind it and was in danger of falling into Kildare Street. Presented with several options for a replacement by Desmond FitzGerald, the College opted for a like-for-like replacement but in harder wearing Portland stone.

Between 2003 and 2006 the building was closed for a major refurbishment, led by Scott Tallon Walker. The project restored the interiors of the building to their former glory and made the building accessible for all.