Lives of the fellows

Donal Bernard Buckley

b.10 February 1918 d.20 September 2007
MB BCh BAO Cork(1942) MD NUI(1947) MRCP(1948) FRCP(1970) MRCPI(1973) FRCPI(1975)

Donal Buckley was an influential and innovative dermatologist in Ireland. An outstanding clinician, many would say the most able diagnostician of his time, he was the first lecturer in dermatology at University College Cork and the first dermatologist in Ireland to practice outside Dublin.

He was born in Cork, the son of Daniel Bernard Buckley, a marine engineer, and Mary Margaret née Carroll. He studied medicine at the National University of Ireland in Cork, and then held several junior appointments in England. After gaining his membership of the RCP, he selected dermatology as his specialty. He worked at St John’s Hospital and the Institute of Dermatology, London, from 1952 to 1953, before returning to Cork to establish clinics in Cork, Limerick and Tralee. In 1970 he was appointed as a consultant dermatologist to the South Health Board. He was also a consultant dermatologist to the Bons Secours Hospital and the Cork Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.

As an outstanding supporter of academic dermatology with publications in the Irish Journal of Medical Sciences, the Journal of the Irish Medical Association and Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, he played a prominent part in the formation of the Irish Association of Dermatologists and was the association’s most faithful supporter, never missing a meeting. Even during Belfast’s dark days, Donal never missed a meeting, even when others might have been fearful of staying overnight in the city. He was always generous with his help and advice to young people. It would be impossible to exaggerate the influence he had on Irish dermatology at a time when it was developing. That the Irish association involved the whole island and came to be a respected organisation at home and abroad was in no small part due to his influence.

His contribution to dermatology was recognised by honorary memberships of the Irish Association of Dermatologists, of the British Association of Dermatologists and the Dowling Club. He was the first dermatologist to be a member of the Corrigan Club, whose membership consisted of all the leading physicians in Ireland.

He had lots of interests outside medicine. He was a vice-president of the Cork Literary and Scientific Society and an honorary member of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. His interests also included classical music, history, archaeology and cork silver, and he was a member of the local golf and tennis clubs. He retired from hospital practice in 1987, but continued a much sought after service to the people of Cork for many years.

While working in London he met his wife June Elizabeth Robertson. She entered into life in Cork and accompanied him to many meetings. They had four sons and two daughters. One son (Colin) is a consultant dermatologist in Waterford, having followed in his father’s footsteps by training in London.

Dennis Burrows

(Volume XII, page web)

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