A Life in Medicine

From Asclepius to Beckett

By: Eoin O’Brien

Publication Date: 18 May 2023


In his memoir, A Life in Medicine: From Asclepius to Beckett, Eoin O’Brien, a cardiologist with an international reputation as a clinical scientist, describes his life in medicine and literature. He depicts his relatively privileged up-bringing in a medical family in the impoverished city that was post-war Dublin and his intensely Catholic schooling in St Conleths School and Castleknock College, and how he would eventually rebel against religion.

O’Brien describes his training in medicine in the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin and in its teaching hospitals, the Richmond and the Rotunda, with personal vignettes of his teachers and the teaching of medicine. Moving to England to train as a cardiologist, he describes from the unique vantage point of front-line doctor the early development of the exciting speciality of cardiology with the introduction of coronary care units, defibrillation and pacemakers to reverse the then horrendous mortality from heart attack.

Back in Dublin, O’Brien describes the practice of medicine, the establishment of a research unit that would gain international recognition for research on the treatment of high blood pressure, and his role in many activities, including journalism and humanitarian activities.

O’Brien’s interest in literature brought into a close friendship with many remarkable writers and artists that included Nevill Johnson, Samuel Beckett, Con Leventhal, Edith Fournier, Brian O’Doherty and Niall Sheridan and in the final section, he writes about these associations, giving unique glimpses into the lives of many remarkable people. His recollections of Samuel Beckett, alone, make this an essential text for those interested in the Nobel Prize-winning writer.

Eoin O’Brien, a professor of medicine in both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Dublin, is author of several highly regarded volumes: among them, The Beckett Country: Samuel Beckett’s Ireland, Conscience and Conflict: A Biography of Sir Dominic Corrigan, 1802-1880, and A Portrait of Irish Medicine: an Illustrated History of Medicine in Ireland. He also co-edited Ethna MacCarthy: Poems with Gerald Dawe (Lilliput, 2019).

Available on backorder

Weight .6 kg
Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Publication Date

18 May 2023