Roscommon Holiday

Roscommon Ireland

William Wilde, renowned surgeon and writer

From: Castlerea


Sir William Wilde was a renowned ear and eye surgeon, author on multiple subjects, father of Oscar Wilde and a Roscommon native.

Born in 1815 just outside Castlerea in Kilkeeven, Wilde was the son of a local medical practioner, Thomas Wilde, and his wife Amelia. William was the youngest of his five siblings and he grew up in County Roscommon, attending the Elphin Diocesan School in Elphin before leaving for Dublin to pursue further education in medicine. It was in 1832 that he began his apprenticeship with renowned surgeon Abraham Colles at Dr Steeven's Hospital in Dublin. Wilde learned his profession from a number of other surgeons and studied at the school of anatomy, medicine, and surgery in Park Street, Dublin. In 1837, five years after beginning his apprenticeship, he obtained his medical degree fom the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Wilde was appointed as medical commissioner to the Irish census in 1841 and was later awarded a knighthood for his services and contributions in this role. As well as running his own hospital, St Mark's Ophthalmic Hospital for Diseases of the Eye and Ear, he was also editor of the Dublin Journal of Medical Science during his remarkable career.

In 1851 Wilde married the poet Jane Francesca Elgee who published under the name of Speranza. He did however have tragedy in his life also, as the couple had a daughter who died in childhood and Wilde had two daughters from a previous relationships who died tragically in a fire. Despite being knighted his reputation suffered when a long term patient of his accused him of seducing her and Wilde began withdrawing from public life to the west of Ireland, where he died in 1876 at his house in Connemara.