The Ambassador and Rotunda Hospital, O'Connell Street

The Rotunda Hospital was built by Bartholomew Mosse in 1757 for mothers and babies. Bartholomew raised money for the new hospital by organising concerts and garden visits. The concert hall was called the Rotunda, which means round room because of its shape. The hospital got its name from this hall.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Ambassador and Rotunda Hospital, O’Connell Street

Do you know the Rotunda Hospital near O’Connell Street in the city centre? Many Dublin babies were born there. Maybe you were born there, too?

Well, a man called Bartholomew Mosse started the hospital for mothers and babies in 1757. A hospital for mothers and babies is called a maternity hospital. Bartholomew Mosse got the money for this new maternity hospital by organising concerts and garden visits. He also earned money from renting sedan chairs. A sedan chair looks like a box with two poles. It has a seat for one passenger within the box and it is carried by two people. It was used as a kind of taxi service for rich people.

The new hospital building included a beautiful garden and a concert hall. This concert hall was called the Rotunda, which means round room because of its shape. The hospital got its name from this hall.

Three famous architects who designed many other beautiful buildings in Dublin helped plan the hospital: Richard Cassell designed the hospital building, John Ensor designed the round concert hall and James Gandon designed the square entrance block.

In the 1890s the concert hall was used to show ‘moving pictures’ which were all the rage then and from 1910 it was used exclusively as a cinema. It had 736 seats then. In the 1950s it was redesigned to hold 1,200 people. It had a balcony for 500 people as well as private boxes. On 23 September 1954 it was reopened by the then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alfie Byrne, with the new name of Ambassador Cinema.

It was very popular as the Ambassador for many years, often showing films for the first time. It closed its doors as a cinema in September 1999 but was still used for various concerts and events.

There was good news for The Ambassador this year as it was announced that it will be renovated again to become the new Central Library of Dublin.

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