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History of esteemed Royal College of Physicians of Ireland is launched

By Staff Reporter

A major history of Ireland's oldest surviving medical institution is being launched today in Belfast.

Written by the Northern Ireland journalist and author Alf McCreary, the book - Healing Touch: The Illustrated History of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland - outlines the developments in the institution since 1654, and sets these in the context of each major period of Irish history.

With more than 500 stunning illustrations and images, the RCPI's rich story and accomplishments are outlined in this volume.

It also tells the stories of the achievements of individual physicians from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who have helped to make the college a leading player in Irish healthcare, and an internationally-renowned institution in its own right.

The Northern Irish physicians mentioned include Professor Frank Pantridge, the inventor of the portable defibrillator.

The Hillsborough-born physician and cardiologist was also a founder member of the Corrigan Club set up by the Dublin-based college during the Troubles to foster greater ties between physicians from both sides of the border.

Mr McCreary said: "I hope that people will enjoy this book, and learn something new about the important achievements of the college, and also the history of these islands in a period of significant developments in medicine, politics and major social issues.

"This is also a fresh story of Irish history told through the eyes of physicians and also a host of rich characters including kings and queens, emperors and statesmen, writers, musicians, artists and medical pioneers.

"It also mentions important figures ranging from Napoleon and Wellington, and from Handel to Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, James Joyce and many others."

The book will be launched at a reception in the Canada Room at Queen's University today.

Speakers will include Vice Chancellor Professor Patrick Johnston, a fellow of the Royal College, and Professor John Crowe from Dublin, who is a former President of the RCPI.

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