In this fundamentally important work, Professor Brendan Kelly explores the background to Irish psychiatry in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, charting its progress and development. Using detailed case studies from the original records, the author examines some of the more unusual treatments explored and the history behind them. What emerges is a collection of piercing, untold stories of crime and illness, drama and tragedy. They are filled with a sense of the powerlessness of those detained and the dedicated – and sometimes misguided – enthusiasm of those trying to help. This book sheds important light on the foundations for the treatment of mental illness in Ireland.