Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Alice Mauger
    Pages 1-24 Open Access
  3. Governing Insanity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 25-25
    2. Alice Mauger
      Pages 69-112 Open Access
  4. Understanding Insanity

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 253-281

About this book


This open access book is the first comparative study of public, voluntary and private asylums in nineteenth-century Ireland. Examining nine institutions, it explores whether concepts of social class and status and the emergence of a strong middle class informed interactions between gender, religion, identity and insanity. It questions whether medical and lay explanations of mental illness and its causes, and patient experiences, were influenced by these concepts. The strong emphasis on land and its interconnectedness with notions of class identity and respectability in Ireland lends a particularly interesting dimension. The book interrogates the popular notion that relatives were routinely locked away to be deprived of land or inheritance, querying how often “land grabbing” Irish families really abused the asylum system for their personal economic gain. The book will be of interest to scholars of nineteenth-century Ireland and the history of psychiatry and medicine in Britain and Ireland.


Mental health Asylum Psychiatrist Mental illness Patient Pauper Institutionalisation Insane Fee-paying Open access

Authors and affiliations

  • Alice Mauger
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, School of HistoryUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • License CC BY
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-65243-6
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-65244-3
  • Buy this book on publisher's site