This photograph was given to us by the National Library, and gives us An aerial view of the Regional Hospital which was being built at the time, (about fifty years ago).
In the foreground you can see part of the recently built Shantalla Housing estate. Beside that is the old Model School. It was a school for Protestant children, and was memorably described by Frances Moffett in her book, ?I also am of Ireland?. This building was later taken over by U.C.G., and it housed the Chemistry Department for many years. It included a lecture hall and laboratories, as well as administration offices. It has since been bought by the Western Health Board.
For any motorist in the 21st century the car-free Newcastle Road looks like a dream. Notice how few houses there are on this road, and no commercial buildings. In the background, you can see Newcastle Park being built, and in the distance there are occasional houses on the Upper Newcastle Road as it goes off into the country.
The main feature of this photograph are the wide open spaces, the green agricultural fields behind the Hospital. There are one or two isolated houses, and apart from those, the only other influence on the landscape was the remains of the railway line that ran from the quarries in Shantalla to connect with the Galway Clifden Railway Line.
The foundation stone for the new Regional Hospital was laid by the Minister for Health, Dr. Noel Browne in 1949. The main block of the new hospital was located to the rear of the old Central, and involved the demolition of the rear wing of the old hospital. The longstay patients from this rear section were accommodated in temporary huts erected at the front of the central, and this arrangement allowed the Central to function more or less normally during the construction.
The first patients were admitted to the Paediatric Section of the hospital in mid 1955, which could accommodate 50 infants and children. The patients in the main block of the Central were transferred into the new building the following year, largely helped to do so by the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps. The issue of overcrowding in the old Central did not disappear with the new Regional, and was to remain an issue for some time.