Corrigan, Sir Dominic John (1802–80), physician, was born 1 December 1802 in Thomas St., Dublin, where an Augustinian church now stands, second of five children of John Corrigan, dealer in agricultural implements, and his wife Celia O'Connor. Educated at the lay college at Maynooth, he showed an aptitude for physics under the Rev. Cornelius Denvir (qv), and was influenced and perhaps instructed by Dr O'Kelly, a local medical practitioner who attended the college. O'Kelly urged Corrigan's father to send him to Edinburgh University, where, after studies at Sir Patrick Dun's hospital and elsewhere in Dublin, he took his MD (August 1825). Corrigan practised first at 11 Ormond Quay, then 13 Bachelor's Walk (1832), and finally 4 Merrion Square West (1837), rising with each change of address towards leadership of his profession. Knowledge and astuteness underlay his success. He advised a younger colleague never to look at his watch before patients: have a clock, instead, discreetly visible. A patient's husband was amazed when Corrigan exclaimed ‘I see she's on the mend’ on entering her room; he had deduced it by ‘an infallible symptom. . . the handle of a looking-glass peeping from under her pillow’.
He was physician to the Charitable Infirmary in Jervis Street (1830–43) and the House of Industry Hospitals (1840–66). Advancement was not uninterrupted. The King and Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland (the later RCPI) black-balled his application (1847) for honorary fellowship because he was on the board of health, which offered doctors recruited to deal with famine fevers the paltry daily reward of five shillings (£0.25). Corrigan flanked the opposition, took the licentiateship unexpectedly by examination in 1855, and became a fellow in 1856 and president in 1859, the first catholic to hold this office. During his presidency the college gained its present premises in Kildare St. He was the first catholic appointed physician to the queen in Ireland, and an honorary MD of Dublin University (1849).
He wrote many articles for medical journals: one bibliography lists 147 items. At his centenary celebrations (1980) six specialists from the hospitals he had served discussed aspects of his writings; each found significant modern resonance in his work. ‘On permanent patency of the aorta’ (Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, xxvii (1832), 225–45) is a classic, and ‘Corrigan's pulse’ a useful term. His right to the eponym and his priority in describing aortic valve incompetence have been challenged, but no paper written about it before 1832 was so widely read. ‘Corrigan's button’, a popular device for treating sciatica, passed long ago into disuse.
Created a baronet in 1866, he became liberal MP for Dublin city in the 1870 by-election. His support for temperance and Sunday closing were unpopular, and he did not stand in the 1874 general election.
He married (1829) Joanna, daughter of William Woodlock, a wealthy merchant; they had three sons and three daughters. He spent much leisure time at Inniscorrig, his Dalkey seaside home. His interests included the Dublin Zoological Society; his travels resulted in a book, Ten days in Athens (1862). He suffered a stroke in December 1879, died 1 February 1880, and was interred in the crypt of St Andrew's church, Westland Row. His portrait by Stephen Catterson Smith (qv), sr, and a full-length statue by John Henry Foley (qv) are in RCPI; his papers are in RCPI archives.