St. Davnet’s was founded in 1869. Catering for patients from Cavan and Monaghan, it was one of the many district asylums built throughout Ireland in the 1800s to care for those with mental illness.
The World Within Walls project aims to remember St. Davnet's history and explore its evolution from District Asylum in 1869, to a psychiatric hospital and now to its present role as a modern community mental health services campus.
Throughout its long history, many people and families have been involved with St. Davnet’s in various ways – as patients, as relatives or friends of patients, or as staff in the hospital. The site itself, which was in many ways a world within walls, has also had an impact on the social and economic development of the town. Today with increasing awareness of mental health and the provision of mental health services in communities, it is fitting that this project takes place to remember and recall the history of St. Davnet’s in its place and time. The project was commissioned by the HSE and delivered by Stair: An Irish History Company Ltd.
A Project Reference Group, chaired by the Area Manager, was established to support the implementation of the project plan. This group is comprised of former senior staff, representatives from the local historical society, mental health practitioners, Monaghan County Museum and representation from the National Archives of Ireland.
There are a number of elements to the World within Walls project.