Friday 2 August 2013

The Macnamara Family of Corofin - Tales of a GP Dynasty

A recent article in the Irish Medical News details the Macnamara family of Corofin and their 180 years of medical service in north Clare. Dr Michael Macnamara (1806-1892) was the first member of the family to work as a GP. He was followed by his son, Dr George Unthank Macnamara (1849-1919). George was a keen genealogists and photographer and a member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries. He was a contemporary and colleague of T.J. Westropp and R.W. Twigge, both renowned antiquarians. He can be seen in many of Westropp’s photographs, providing scale for various monuments (see photo).

Some of Dr George’s own photographs have been donated to Clare County Library and Clare County Archives over the years and are available on this website. The collection contains family portraits of the Macnamara family and other local families and images of social and archaeological features of late 19th and early 20th century Clare. The medical tradition was continued by George’s son, Dr Donough Wheeler Macnamara (1893-1970) and finally by his son, Dr Maccon Macnamara.

The article was written by June Shannon, an award-winning journalist with the Irish Medical News. She has a special interest in medical history which stems from a family connection in medicine going back over two generations. Her father Professor William (Bill) Shannon is a retired GP originally from Kilkee, Co Clare and his father (also called William) was also a GP. Dr William Shannon (1899-1940) from Cranny, Co Clare served as the Dispensary Medical Officer in Carraigaholt from 1929 to 1940. His son Professor William Shannon was born in Kilkee and worked as a GP in Cork from 1969 to 1987. In 1987 he was appointed as the first Professor of General Practice in Ireland at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) where he worked until retirement in 2005.

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