St. Kevin’s Asylum

St. Kevin’s Asylum
Sunday's Well, Cork, Ireland.

It’s still beyond shocking to think that women who conceived outside of marriage, along with society’s poorest, uneducated folk and those with (often minor) mental illnesses (to name but a few excuses for incarceration) were once hidden away in brutal institutions such as St. Kevin’s.

The asylum was constructed in 1893 to ease the pressure on Our Lady’s hospital (Eglinton Asylum). An imposing red brick structure, the look of the place was enough to draw fear but conditions inside were truly horrific. In 1939, an inspector’s report said of St. Kevin’s:

Over the years the conditions inside Our Lady’s Hospital and St Kevin’s was condemned and declared a total disgrace. The people incarcerated in the asylum were guilty of nothing. Vulnerable, innocent and harmless. They did not deserve what was done to them. Victims of misfortune, victims of illness and indeed, tragically, of abandonment. They were locked up in a vermin-infested, unsanitary, dirty, dark confinement.

Despite being condemned in such strong terms, the facility remained open and only closed its doors in 2002, at which point the building fell into dereliction and became a “must see” for urban explorers, but also a hotspot for anti-social behaviour.

Unsurprisingly, the building also became a destination for ghost hunters, who described the atmosphere within as “intense and unwelcoming” one even described it as “evil”. Some of the poor souls who were incarcerated had not left the deserted building. Footsteps & disembodied voices were heard emanating from empty rooms and corridors, while others reported full apparitions.

In 2017, a serious fire gutted much of the building. In 2021, the land was sold and plans for a redevelopment of the site were being drawn up. Hopefully this will bring a happier chapter to what was considered one of Cork’s creepiest locations, and any unfortunate spirits will move on to something better.


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