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History of Department

Prof Richard G.G. Barry established the Department of Paediatrics in 1951.

Prof Barry was the first appointed Paediatrician in Ireland outside of Dublin.  After spending time in the UK after graduating from University College Cork in 1937, he came back to back to Cork in 1949 and commenced practice as a physician with a special interest in Paediatrics. Paediatricians were unknown in Cork at this time and Prof Barry became a visiting Paediatrician in all hospitals in Cork.

In 1950, Prof Barry was made the first UCC College Lecturer in Paediatrics, in 1968 a Professor of Paediatrics and in 1970 was appointed to the first Chair in Paediatrics until his retirement in 1979. From the beginning, Prof Barry developed a strong Paediatric teaching programme for medical undergraduates and oversaw the rapid expansion of Paediatrics in Cork culminating in the establishment of our Department teaching unit at the Cork Regional Hospital. Medical students at that time obtained an excellent clinical experience in Paediatrics. Our Department was one of the first in these islands, where Paediatrics had parity with Surgery and Obstetrics. Paediatrics has been a full final medical examination subject in UCC since the 1950’s.

Prof G.H. Cussen was appointed Consultant Neonatologist in 1964 and was appointed to a personal chair in 1980. Professor Cussen was responsible for developing neonatology teaching in the Department.

Prof Peter J. Kearney was appointed Professor and Chair of Paediatrics in 1980 and worked tirelessly on the further development of undergraduate teaching until his retirement in 2005.  He introduced undergraduate self-learning with paediatric projects and other innovative teaching and assessment methods including the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and cross-faculty learning in the Arts Faculty with the introduction of BA in Early Childhood Studies.

Given the development of paediatric services throughout Ireland since the department's establishment in 1951, the department name has changed to reflect this advancement from the Department of Paediatrics, to the Department of Child Health and finally, Department of Paediatrics & Child Health to include the learning and teaching in paediatric and community child health.

Prof Tony Ryan became an Associate Professor in our Department in 2004.  He led the newborn side of the planning, design, development and delivery of neonatology teaching until his retirement in 2018. Prof Ryan’s deep commitment to medical education included the introduction of the neonatal resuscitation programme, PALS and Stable programme, which trained staff from all over Ireland.

Prof Jonathan Hourihane became the third Professor and Chair of Paediatrics and Child Health in 2005. Under the leadership of Prof Hourihane, the Department was developed and expanded exponentially with the increase of undergraduate and postgraduate medical students by fostering and supporting excellence in teaching and developing a leading centre for paediatric research in Ireland. In 2013, the Department worked with Obstetrics & Gynaecology staff to establish the INFANT Centre, which would focus entirely on pregnancy, birth and childhood research.  Several Departmental staff became the principal investigators in the research centre.  Prof Hourihane made sure that the students received the best teaching facilities possible and the new unit was opened in March 2017.  The dedicated UCC Paediatric Academic Unit at Cork University Hospital is the first of its kind in Ireland and is the home of teaching and training for both undergraduate medical students and postgraduate paediatric and health discipline trainees.  It is the only such fully integrated facility in the School of Medicine, where tomorrow’s doctors can see research-led healthcare both being developed and delivered

 In April 2018, Prof Deirdre Murray became Head of the Department for Paediatrics & Child Health. She joined the Department in 2008 as a Senior Lecturer and became a Professor of Paediatrics in 2017.  Prof Murray aims to make the Department the leading centre for undergraduate and postgraduate students and paediatric clinical trials in Ireland. 


Emeritus Professors

Professor R.G.G. Barry


Professor G. H. Cussen


Professor  P.J. Kearney


Professor Tony Ryan


Department of Paediatrics & Child Health

Péidiatraic agus Sláinte Leanaí

Floor 2, Paediatric Unit, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 DC4A