Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -)

, Volume 188, Issue 2, pp 649–652 | Cite as

Dr Eveleen O’Brien (1901–1981)

  • Aoife K. O’CallaghanEmail author
  • Brendan D. Kelly
Historical and Literary


Dr Eveleen O’Brien (1901–1981) was a leading figure in Irish asylum medicine, with a particular interest in the care of patients suffering from epilepsy and the crossover between neurology and psychiatry. From 1933 to 1966, O’Brien worked in Grangegorman Mental Hospital. She was appointed Governor of the Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum in January 1968 and remained in this position until 1971. An enthusiastic researcher, O’Brien published several papers in the Journal of Mental Science, including Ireland’s first systematic review of insulin therapy (1939). In 1942, O’Brien obtained a doctorate in medicine (MD or Medicinae Doctor) from the National University of Ireland for a thesis titled “Epilepsy and its theories, results of treatment”. O’Brien died in Sutton, North Dublin, on 31 July 1981 at 80 years of age. O’Brien belonged to a remarkable group of Irish women doctors in the early 1900s, each of whom made substantial contributions to the development of Irish medical services and improvement of social conditions, especially for the socially excluded and the mentally ill.


Diagnosis History Ireland Mental disorder Psychiatrist Psychiatry 



The authors are very grateful for the assistance of Dr Michael Reynolds and Dr Liam Daly.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Elliott M (2003) Inheriting new opportunities, Eveleen O’Brien (1901–1981): building a life on the achievements of first-wave feminism in Ireland. Dissertation, University College DublinGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kelly B (2016) Hearing voices: the history of psychiatry in Ireland. Irish Academic PressGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Irish Division (1933) J Ment Sci 79(327):832–833. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Irish Division (1935) J Ment Sci 81(334):744–746. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    O’Brien E (1934) The sedimentation rate of red blood-cells: its diagnostic and prognostic value in the treatment of the physical ailments of the insane. J Ment Sci 80(330):619–621Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dunne J, O’Brien E (1939) Insulin therapy: a short review of the work done in Grangegorman mental hospital. J Ment Sci 85(356):498–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    O’Brien E (1939) Epilepsy and its theories, results of treatment. Dissertation, University College DublinGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Reynolds M Personal communication, August 2018Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Daly L Personal communication, August 2018Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Regan N (2017) Helena Molony: a radical life 1883–1967. Arlen HouseGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kelly B (2014) Ada English, Patriot and psychiatrist. Irish Academic PressGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Collins A (2014) Fleury, Eleonora Lilian. In: McGuire J, Quinn J (eds) Dictionary of Irish Biography. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Trinity Centre for Health SciencesTallaght University HospitalDublin 24Ireland

Personalised recommendations