William Daniel was born in Kilkenny around 1570. His mother’s name is unknown but his father was one Nicholas O’Donnell, described in John O’Donovan’s history of east Galway, The tribes […]

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In 1944 the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) in Dublin pioneered the use of the symphysiotomy operation (see sidebar) as the procedure of choice in certain cases where the woman’s pelvis was deemed […]

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By 1949 Dr Alex Spain, master of the National Maternity Hospital, had performed 43 symphysiotomies. Dr Arthur Barry, his successor, was a fervent advocate of Catholic teachings on human sexuality. […]

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Symphysiotomy involved cutting the cartilege joining the two parts of the pelvis. It had largely been abandoned in the twentieth century owing to its perceived dangers; Caesarean section (CS) was […]

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The inspiration for the painting was a ballad or poem ‘Hellalyle and Hildebrand’ that appeared in ‘A second batch of Danish ballads’ translated by Whitley Stokes from Danske Viser, vol. […]

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