‘Irish giant’ may finally get respectful burial after 200 years on display

On Friday 22 June 2018 the Guardian raised the prospect that the Hunterian medical museum is considering releasing the skeleton of “the Irish Giant,” Charles Byrne, for burial at sea, according to his last wishes, but over 200 years after his death in 1783.  At the time of Byrnes’ death, a contemporary newspaper described how “a whole tribe of surgeons put in a claim for the poor departed Irishman surrounding his house just as harpooners would an enormous whale”.

The pioneering Scottish surgeon and anatomist John Hunter acquired Byrne’s remains and they were displayed for the next two centuries at the Hunterian Museum,  which until now has rejected requests even to take the skeleton off display.

HAD warmly welcomes this development, which demonstrates the more compassionate approach to our fellow human beings which is becoming evident in some museums today.    The full Guardian article is reproduced here. 

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