Series 1 - Father Mathew Hall, Dublin

Flier for Father Mathew Centenary Memorial Hall Annual Reports and Statements of Accounts Ticket Sales Account Book Flier for Brian Boru Fete Expenditure and Receipt Book Ticket for Grand Dramatic Performance Fáilte / Organ of Aonach na Bealtaine Souvenir of St. Brigid’s Aonach Concert and Play Programmes Ticket for Annual Concert of the Colmcille Branch of Conrad na Gaelige
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Father Mathew Hall, Dublin


  • 1881-2003 (Creation)

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38 items, 139 files and 32 artefacts; Manuscript, typescript, printed, newspaper and artefact

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Although the Irish Capuchins had a long tradition of involvement with the temperance movement, their connection with this apostolate was reinvigorated in 1905 when the Catholic hierarchy invited the Order to preach a ‘national crusade’ on the merits of total abstinence. The Capuchins’ commitment to sobriety as a moral and social ideal was promoted through the founding of lay sodalities and temperance halls where the pledge to abstain from alcohol was taken. The Father Mathew Memorial Hall on Church Street was opened in 1891. Funded by voluntary subscriptions, this temperance hall was built by Joseph Kelly & Sons of Thomas Street, Dublin. The total cost was about £4,000. It was designed by Walter Glynn Doolin and was initially plainly decorated. Before the addition of extensions in 1904 the main auditorium was 73 feet in length and 39 feet wide. In total, there was accommodation for about 900 people. There was also a coffee bar, a billiard room, and a reading room. The interior of the auditorium was greatly embellished in 1909 when an elaborate proscenium arch, stage and gallery were added. The plasterwork was executed by the firm of John Ryan of Upper Abbey Street to the designs of Anthony Scott of O’Connell Street, Dublin. This series comprises records relating to the Hall’s primary function to promote sobriety ‘by providing instruction and healthful amusement’. It should be noted that the Hall’s drama group, band, debating society and athletics’ club were initially only open to total abstainers. The records also reflect the varied social functions of the Hall.

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The personal papers and diaries of Fr. Columbus Maher OSFC (1835-1894) contain much information on his role as President of the Total Abstinence Sodality and on the opening of Father Mathew Hall on Church Street in 1891.

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For more on the architectural design of Father Mathew Hall on Church Street in Dublin see

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