All posts by quakersireland

Victor Bewley’s Memoirs 2nd edition published

A second edition of Victor Bewley’s Memoirs has been published by Veritas. The memoirs, which Victor recounted to his granddaughter Fiona Murdoch, several years before his death in 1999, give a fascinating insight into his life.

Victor became director of Bewley’s Cafés at the age of 20 and, the following year, managing director – a position held by his father and grandfather before him. He never felt he was a natural businessman but, as the eldest son, he knew from a young age that he was expected to take over the running of the popular Dublin cafés. He was thrust into this role following his father Ernest’s untimely death in 1932.  

There was far more to Victor’s life, however, than the successful running of the cafés for 45 years. Although a shy and sensitive man, he had a quiet determination to improve people’s lives in any way that he could.

His memoirs reveal why in 1972 he and his brothers, Alfred and Joe, handed over Bewley’s cafés to the staff and what drove him to dedicate great time and energy to improving the lives of many, especially Travellers. Also, how he initiated cross-border reconciliation talks, including with loyalists and republicans, and how, on one occasion, he ended up carrying secret messages from the IRA to the British government.

One section of the book, which is dedicated to his faith and spirituality, gives an insight into his firm belief of ‘that of God in everyone’ and the Quaker values that underpinned the way he led his life – equality, honesty, fairness, integrity, peace and community. He certainly put his Quaker faith into action and always sought to understand people and why they behaved the way they did.

The book is available from Veritas at this link >>

New Website for Irish Quaker Faith in Action –

The Irish Quaker Faith in Action (IQFA) Committee has set up a new website, in order to be able to directly update and renew information about projects supported by IQFA and ways to donate to IQFA.

The purpose of IQFA is to give practical and spiritual help and support to the Christian concerns of Irish Friends desiring to be guided to do God’s work in helping build His kingdom on Earth. The IQFA Committee includes representatives from each of the Quarterly Meetings, as well as a representative from Yearly Meeting Committee and the Ireland Yearly Meeting Clerk, Ex-Officio. When funds are restricted, IQFA will generally focus on funding relatively small projects that might have difficulty finding funding elsewhere, and that have a direct Quaker connection. How much support IQFA can provide depends on how much income is received from donations, fundraising events, etc.

Please have a look at this new website,, and feel free to send any comments or suggestions about the site to  It is still a work in progress and will be updated and expanded over the coming weeks.

We hope you’ll also consider making a donation to IQFA using the newly installed PayPal buttons!

Quakers and Ethical Investment booklet

Eco Quakers Ireland and the Ireland Yearly Meeting (IYM) Investment Committee has produced a booklet to promote an ethical investment policy for Quaker Meetings in Ireland and for IYM Funds.

The Quakers and Ethical Investment booklet, which arose out of a widespread concern among Friends in Ireland about the investment of funds under Friends’ care, is designed to give broad guidance on investment within the ethical framework which Friends have set.

In a letter accompanying the booklet, the Investment Committee and Eco Quakers Committee urges Friends responsible for the investments of Meetings and Funds to view afresh the strategy that is being pursued.

“Monies are only useful if they are used for a purpose which is well thought out,” the letter states. “If, as a result of a review exercise, you do plan to change some of your investments, do take into account that stock markets can be very volatile as we have seen in early 2020.

“We are investing for the long term and should not be over affected by short term movements. Advice is available, both from within the Society and from outside – do seek it and take it into consideration!”

The letter may be read in full here and the booklet at this link.

The booklet is initially being launched in digital form and hard copies have been made available to all Meetings. A small number of hard copies are still available on request by emailing

Beirut explosion and new challenges for Brummana High School in Lebanon

Quaker International Education Trust

Beirut explosion and new challenges for Brummana High School in Lebanon.

Brummana School Appeal 2020

Continuing and deepening difficulties in Lebanon including the recent explosion in Beirut make life for the staff, the pupils and the whole community of Brummana High School, a real challenge.To donate and find out more, see:

South Belfast EcoQuaker Group Conversations via Zoom

The South Belfast Eco-Quaker Group is organising and hosting a series of civic conversations related to the challenges of the ecological and climatic emergencies.   As well as enabling a process of learning together and from a diversity of perspectives, initiatives and stories, the ‘Eco-Quaker Conversations’ are intended to help us look for ways to enact constructive responses for the common good.  Several of the conversational gatherings scheduled for the coming months have a particular focus and involve invited contributors whose role will be to inform us and provoke our thinking together.  From time to time, the intention is to pause for reflection.

The programme until January 2021

Tuesday 17 November (from 7.30pm)Responding Locally to the Climate Emergency
Guest:  Michael Donnelly from Dolmens Climate Action Network (Castlewellan)

Wednesday 9 December (from 7.30pm)Growing a Forest Town
Guest:  Karin Eyben from Garvagh People’s Forest

Thursday 7 January 2021 (from 5.30pm) Reflections and Resolutions

Eventbrite links
Invitation to participate in each session will be via an Eventbrite page. Those who register their intention to participate will then receive a Zoom meeting link shortly before the scheduled date. If you would like to receive these Eventbrite notifications, e-mail Jane Lutton at:

Here is a link for the Eco-Quaker Conversation on Wednesday 14th October (19.30-21.00)

History of Quakers in the Liberties

The Liberties Cultural Association have launched two new video pieces as part of their ongoing exploration of social history and folklore in The Liberties. The films are being made public to coincide with this year’s Dublin Festival of History.

The first film produced under the project looks at Quaker history in The Liberties and features Christopher Moriarty, curator of Friends Historical Library at Stocking Lane.  Friends have a long connection with The Liberties, including the city’s earliest Friends’ Meeting House at Meath Street and the little-known Quaker burial grounds at Cork Street.

Christopher talks about the charitable ethos of The Quaker Community and its work in the area in this short introductory film (6 mins).

The clip forms part of a larger ongoing collaboration between the Quaker Community and the Liberties Cultural Association, celebrating the links between the Quakers and The Liberties 

More information on this project is available here:

World Quaker Day 4th October 2020

Every year in early October, the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) facilitates the celebration of “World Quaker Day” – providing a framework for Quakers worldwide to connect with each other, become more aware of the wonderful diversity of the World Family of Friends and celebrate all expressions of Quaker Worship. More information can be found at the link

This year, World Quaker Day will be celebrated on Sunday 4th October.  The theme for World Quaker Day 2020 chosen by FWCC is  “What does it mean to be a Quaker today? Living a faithful life in a changing world.”  

It won’t be possible to do many of the activities one might normally think of for World Quaker Day – opening our Meeting Houses to the public, giving public talks, holding a candlelit evening Meeting for Worship, holding discussions or doing creative activities based on the theme. At the same time, Clerks may wish to let Friends in their Meetings know about World Quaker Day, and perhaps even organise some kind of discussion or other activity related to the World Quaker Day theme in the near future – either in person with social distancing, or virtually using an online platform.

Enjoy World Quaker Day!

                 Denise Gabuzda, IYM Clerk

New book on Samplers, Sewing and Simplicty

We are delighted to bring you news of a recently published book written by Clodagh Grubb of Monkstown Meeting.

Clodagh, a history graduate from Trinity College Dublin who has curated the collection of samplers and other textiles in Friends House Historical Library in Dublin since 2011, has spent the past seven years researching and compiling her book, ‘Samplers, Sewing and Simplicity in Quaker Ireland’.

The book grew out of the author’s love for textiles and design, her interest in history and the discovery of the rich and varied collection of needlework and textiles in the Friends Historical Library. With over 150 illustrations, the book looks both at this work, produced for the most part in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and at the social and historical context in which it was made.

Samplers, Sewing and SimplicityThe Quaker belief in the equality of all and the consequent importance given to the education of girls meant that Quaker women were often better equipped than most to deal with running a household and dealing with much of the business and accounts. They might have to do everything, from spinning to making clothing, bed linen and other soft furnishings.  At a period when employment for women could be difficult to obtain, their sewing skills were a considerable advantage.

The Quaker ethos of simplicity in everything from clothing to furnishings to social life coloured most activity. Where unnecessary ornamentation was frowned on, surviving dresses show a definite awareness of fashion in their cut.

Making a sampler was a form of recreation for girls, some as young as six years of age, which allowed them to use more creatively the skills that they had spent many hours practising in the schoolroom. A love of colour and a diversity of scripts and motifs, many drawn from a broader European tradition, and the way in which they are arranged gives many of the Irish Quaker samplers a character of their own.

Clodagh is from a Quaker family who came to Ireland in the late seventeenth century.

‘Samplers, Sewing and Simplicity in Quaker Ireland’ by Clodagh Grubb is  published by Friends’ Historical Committee and copies are available from Friends Historical Library, Stocking Lane,  Dublin 16  at a price including postage of €30 for paperback or casebound at €40.  Email to purchase a copy or for further information.

‘Re-imagining Society Sustainably’ – EcoQuakers’ online conference

Almost 100 people signed up for EcoQuakers’ ‘Re-imagining Society Sustainably’ online conference, which took place on 18th July 2020.

It was a wonderfully stimulating session considering how we can rebuild society post Covid19 with the three speakers providing plenty of food for thought.

Denise Gabuzda, Ireland Yearly Meeting Clerk and physics and astronomy lecturer at University College Cork, painted a wonderful picture of a more equal society with more renewable energy, more locally grown food, stronger communities, protection of biodiversity and a more peaceful earth.

She said imagining a future like this was the first step to it becoming a reality. “As our planet heals, so will we as we appreciate the inter-connectedness of all living things,” she said.

You can read Denise’s full script here.

Romanian-born and US-raised Oana Sariana Marian, an artist and writer and Co-founder of the Active Hope Network who is pursuing a PhD in Theology at Trinity College Dublin, spoke about the need for climate grief and imagination as we work towards a sustainable future. She also encouraged each of us to self-audit how we spend our money and to educate ourselves about how our society is functioning within the wider global economy.

You can read Oana’s talk here.

Féidhlim Harty of Cork and Limerick Meetings and founder of FH Wetland Systems said there were five things we could do to help create a more sustainable future:
– spend our money consciously
– live more simply
– advocate for change
– build and strengthen connections
– remain optimistic and ‘hold the vision’

He encouraged us to nurture a clear vision of a beautiful earth and to anchor this in our minds through prayer and meditation.

You can read the full script of Féidhlim’s talk here.

The entire event was recorded and you can watch it on our You Tube channel.