Belmont Park, 9 Arbourmount,
Tel. 051-833400 Tel. 051-832180
Congregation of the Brothers of Charity
Brother Joseph Killoran (Community Leader )
Brother Frank Brennan
Brother Austin Rackley
Belmont Park Then and Now
Richards and Scales map of 1764 shows the existence of a building on, or close to, the site of the present house. On the map the property was described as Mount Hulings. It is established that a family called Hulings lived there. An old deed tells us that in 1753 a John Hulings was a witness of a lease arrangement between Sid and John Snow and four farmers of Kilmurry.
In 1789 William Anthony Junior designed the Belmont mansion. It was probably built for a member of the Newport family, most likely William Newport, the banker. He ended his own life at Belmont . It is said he faced bankruptcy and could not deal with the situation.
Shortly after-wards Henry Winston Barron took up residence in Belmont and changed the name to Barroncourt. That name remained on the house during his lifetime and also while Pierce Marcus Barron, his successor, was there. The property was offered for sale in 1881. At the time Dr. Abraham Brownrigg, Catholic Bishop of Ossory, invited the Brothers of Charity to come to Ossory to open a foundation for the treatment and care of mentally sick patients. Belmont was thought of as a possible suitable location for this work. Later that year the Superior General of the Brothers of Charity and Canon de Groote, Spiritual Director of the Order came to Ossory and were taken to inspect the Belmont property. On examination it was discovered that the buildings were in need of major repairs. Eventually in 1883 a sale was agreed, the purchase price being f600. The roof was replaced and extensive work had to be done to the foundations, which cost a further f600. Hearne’s of Waterford were the contractors.
The religious ceremony of taking possession of the property was performed on May Ist 1884. New extensions were built the following year under the direction of the Superior, Rev. Bro. Wenceslaus Becker.
At Easter 1885 local papers carried an advertisement for the hospital – ‘St. Patrick’s Hospital for the insane, under the care of the Brothers of Charity was now in a position to accept patients.’ The first private hospital of its kind in the country, it claimed to be equipped to the highest standards. The first patient, a priest from Ossory, had been accepted in May 1884. By 1908 the hospital was licensed to have 73 patients. The next building development was the chapel. It was blessed and opened in 1927 and it is still in service.
Disaster struck in 1949 on 10th December at 1:10a.m. Fire had broken out in St. Mary’s Wing and the alarm was raised using the chapel bell to rouse everyone. Most of the building was gutted but the patients and members of the community escaped unharmed. The current statue of St. Patrick standing over the front entrance escaped damage as the building around it was gutted. Work commenced on replacing the hospital building in 1951 and was completed in February 1954. In the interim for a short period patients were accommodated in St. Otteran’s and some in the present St. Michael’s building. Large wooden huts with individual rooms were built on the tennis court to accommodate the community and patients until the hospital was ready, in tandem with the psychiatric services in 1965 a residential service was established for male adults with intellectual disability at St. Michael’s Belmont Park and in 1982 the first community based group home was opened. Since then these services have gone from strength to strength.
On the contrary the psychiatric services and a specialist alcoholism treatment centre were discontinued in 1991 as a stage had been reached when the continuance of such services seemed in conflict with the ethos and vision of the Brothers of Charity Congregation. Their ethos was to care for the marginalized and to leave each individual live life to their full potential and the decision was taken to concentrate on the Mental Handicap Services.
A huge financial input was required to upgrade facilities to compare with the private hospitals in Dublin and the Congregation felt that there were adequate resources and facilities in the country already in the area of psychiatry.
Today – November 2001 – Brothers of Charity Services is one of the three largest service providers in the South Eastern Region, offering residential and day services to persons with Intellectual Disability in Waterford City and County, and in Tipperary South Riding. Over three hundred adults and children avail of the services on offer and in excess of 300 staff are employed directly in service provision and administration. There is an emphasis on community based services and the development of small enterprises that offer real work opportunities for people with intellectual disability in an environment that paces itself to the needs of the person with intellectual disability rather than to the commercial pressures of regular businesses.
The members of the Brothers of Charity Congregation are no longer involved in the day-to-day administration of the services but work at a Governance level.
© Extracted from
“Sliabh Rua – A History of its people and places”
By Jim Walsh
Canon Peter Triest
P.J. Triest was born in Brussels in 1760. He took holy orders in an agitated time. One political regime replaced another in quick succession; the Roman Catholic Church was going through hard times during the French Revolution. From 1797 till 1802, the nonjuring Fr. Triest had to live in hiding and to administer the sacraments in secret. Yet, this period was fruitful in that his inner drive to help the neighbour matured. Moved by Jesus’ words, “In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me” (Mt, 25:40), he devoted himself to the poorest, the orphans of Ronse.
Having been appointed parish priest in Lovendegem in 1803, he founded his first Congregation, the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, a few months after his arrival. They would care for abandoned and poor children of his parish.
In 1806 he was made a member of the Commission of Hospices in Ghent , where his pastoral care would come to full bloom-, the poor, the aged, the mentally ill, the foundlings – all these needy people, the least privileged were the object of his loving attention. In 1807 he founded the Brothers of Charity to care for “poor elderly and the mentally ill”. In 1825 he established the Brothers of St. John of God for domicillary care of the poor sick-, and in 1835, a year before his death, he concluded his founding work by instituting the Sisters of Jesus’ Childhood, who were meant to care for foundlings.
During the period of thirty years that Fr. Triest helped to organise poor relief in Ghent he introduced several improvements of which the liberation of the mentally ill from their chains and dismal quarters at Gerard the Devil Castle was one of the most memorable. His approach to any fellow human being was to bring him God’s message of deliverance from inhuman treatment as a sign of love, and he did so successfully. Peter Joseph Triest, meanwhile honoured as Canon of St. Bavon’s cathedral in Ghent , died in 1836. His dying words, “give and there will be given to you”, are a poignant summary of the total dedication of his life to the neighbour.
© Brother Rene Stockman,
Brothers of Charity,