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Francis Brennan
Hotelier and Television Personality
Francis Brennan

I had a few visits to Cappagh hospital as a child. One I remember vividly was from late 1966, when I spent a prolonged time there due to a musculoskeletal condition, affecting my feet. The reason I am lucky enough to ‘remember’ is because, as I was there over Christmas, someone gave me a diary for daily use and in fact I have written a diary every day since!

I was lucky enough to spend time over Christmas. This was a fantastic time to be there as I can well remember a visit from Fossett’s Circus. Now when one was confined to bed over a long period it was a joy to relish the arrival of a private circus. We were so excited in the ward. The arrival was heralded by a clown playing a big base drum and the whole place shook when the team came into the ward. They then had a magician who went around the ward beds and performed a trick. I participated in a card trick and was very intrigued as I had only played snap with cards previously and the fact that you could use a deck of cards for tricks was exciting. I subsequently received a magic set from ‘Santa’, which helped me to relive the magician’s tricks. I also remember the juggler, who was very deft, using 4 or 5 Coca Cola bottles to juggle and never dropped one of them!

This visit to Cappagh was close to 3 months in total and I recall during this time too we had an injection/needle strike! In those days the needles used by the nurses to give antibiotics were reusable and had to be sent to a central depot for the re-sharpening after a few uses. When this facility was on strike they had to continue to use these blunt ones and I can recall the pain that I felt and also the pain felt on the faces of the nurses as they administrated the medicine. This went on for weeks. I recalled when I left the hospital I had two black thighs but survived the ordeal.

My time in Cappagh you can see was memorable and I do recall that I cried when I was discharged and did not want to go home. What more can one say!