The Royal Hospital was founded for superannuated and maimed soldiers, in 1679, by royal charter, on the site of the dissolved priory of St. John of Jerusalem, at an expense of £23,539.
The building consists of a quadrangle, 306 feet by 208 on the outside, enclosing an area of 210 feet square.
On the north side is the dining-hall, 100 feet by 50, the walls of which are appropriately ornamented with guns, pikes, and swords, and with standards taken from the Spaniards.
The chapel is a plain but venerable structure: the east window, ornamented with stained glass, is very large, and beneath it is the communion table, of highly wrought Irish oak.
The remainder of the quadrangle, round which is a covered walk, is appropriated to the use of the inmates. The present establishment is for 5 captains, an adjutant, and 200 soldiers selected from the out-pensioners, whose number is about 20,000. The building is surrounded by a space of ground laid out in lawns and avenues well-planted: its principal approach is from the military road.
SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (pub 1837)
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