St. Joseph’s Hospital was founded as the Limerick District Lunatic Asylum in 1827 and records of the institution survive in the archive from that date.
The hospital once employed 400 staff to care for more than 1000 patients and ran its own bakery, laundry, cobbler, butcher, tailors and upholsters. It employed permanent tradesmen to maintain the buildings including masons, carpenters, grounds men and painters. The Morning Statement books record the daily activities of patients, whether employed in the kitchens, laundry or sewing.
All social classes and religions were recorded among patients admitted to the hospital and the vast majority were adults. Over the years patients were admitted for many different reasons, including sunstroke, epilepsy, disease of brain, effects of climate and dementia.
The St. Joseph's Hospital Archive Collection was transferred from the Health Services Executive (HSE) to Limerick Archives on long term loan in 2013. The transfer of records took place on Monday, 12th of March 2013, at a launch in City Hall, Limerick by Mr Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.