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Temple Street Hospital: A home away from home for sick children this Christmas

Parents have commended the staff for their excellent care over the Christmas period.

TEMPLE STREET CHILDREN’S Hospital in Dublin becomes a home away from home for many children who have taken ill.

And there is one time of year where an extra effort is put in by the great staff that work there – Christmas.

I was once a patient there myself, having been born with dislocated hips, I had to travel into the hospital every week for treatment for about a year. My mother always speaks so highly of the care in the hospital, which is why we continue to donate to them every year.

In hospital at Christmas

The hospital cares for up to 105 children at one time but at Christmas there are efforts made to facilitate as many children as they can to go home. However, every year, there are about 30 or 40 children who are too ill to leave.

The staff go to great lengths to bring Christmas cheer to the wards, with decorations, Santa visits and the turning on of the Christmas lights.

Source: Temple Street/Vimeo

TheJournal.ie visited the hospital in the run up to Christmas this year, where we found a relaxed environment.

Reception is home to a large fish tank and rocking horse, as well as Christmas decorations and lights.

It doesn’t feel like a hospital. In fact, it never should.


Mark Burch, father of five-year-old Megan Burch, says the staff that have been caring for his daughter have been exemplary. Megan was admitted a few days previous with appendicitis.

“She had taken ill, and we knew something was up with her. She was just limp with no energy and her eyes had sunken in,” he said.

We have other children but none of them have ever been very ill, thank god, so we weren’t sure what to do. When Megan was brought in here, the doctors and nurses were amazing. They didn’t even have to examine her, they pretty much knew what was wrong with her straight away.

unnamed (33) Megan Burch with her father David in the decorated ward at Temple Street Children's Hospital. Source: Christina Finn

Minister for Health Leo Var Megan got to meet the Minister for Health earlier that day. Source: Mark Stedman

He added that the hospital doesn’t feel like a hospital at all.

The place is so well decorated for Christmas, right down to nurses that even dress up. It’s all about making the children feel relaxed here. It’s great that it doesn’t feel like a regular hospital, as that might scare the children, but here, it’s just a lovely environment.

Unlike many children this Christmas, Megan, who is lying in her hospital bed, says she isn’t interested in Elsa from Frozen. She’s all about Merida and her bow and arrow from Brave.


“They can’t do enough for you in here. Obviously, we were scared as parents coming in here, but they treat you like people, and come down to family level and explain everything,” continued Mark.

Sheila Mulligan, mother of nine-year-old Conor Mulligan, from Athlone said it can be tough to be so far from home, especially around Christmas.

Conor has Angelman Syndrome and suffers from seizures. His mother explains they had to come up to Temple Street as there are no neurologists in Cork because maternity leave vacancies were not filled.

“It is difficult being up here in Dublin, it splits the family, with my husband and other son, who is 16, and who also has Angelman Syndrome, left at home” she explained.

unnamed (34) Sheila Mulligan with her son, Conor. Source: Christina Finn

We even had a friend from Berlin come over to help us out, extra reinforcements.

Sheila is staying in the parents’ accommodation provided by the hospital but often she just stays by Conor’s side.

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Clery's mascot Stitches visits Temple Street Children's University hospital. Santa and Stitches delivering presents to the children. Pictured here is Bernard Keaney, age 4, From Roundstone, Co Galway. Source: Leon Farrell

Pictured is top author Cec The official ambassador for Temple Street Children's Hospital, author Cecilia Ahern, stops by to say hello to the children. Here she is pictured with Cecelia Ahern along with Temple Street patient six-month-old Realtaoin O'Lone from Tyrrelstown, Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Excellent staff

Every day of the week, there are activities and events organised.

“There was carol singing the other day and we even got to go to Dublin Zoo,” Sheila recalls, adding that Conor, who has no speech, seemed relaxed here.

“We are all in the same boat here, but everyone has a different story.”

unnamed (36) Presents waiting for the children who will be staying in hospital for Christmas. Source: Christina Finn

Sheila said the plan was to get home for Christmas but they would have to wait and see.

There are also very young babies cared for at Temple Street. Dylan Kelly, who is 8 weeks old, and Cillian O’Hara, who is 7 weeks old, are in one of the newer wards, where they have their own isolated rooms.

The two babies are both in hospital for the same thing, bronchitis, and have humidifier tubes hooked up to them to help them breathe more easily.

Their mothers both said the care they have received had been fantastic, adding that it was comforting to have their own room with a bed by their baby’s side.

Read: This video of the Christmas lights being turned on at Temple Street hospital will warm your heart>

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