All posts by quakersireland

Limerick Quaker Records now online

Limerick Meeting House was the venue for the official launch of access to Limerick Meeting archives on-line on 12th January. They are now available via the Limerick City Council web site. This is the outcome of a project funded by Limerick City Council that involved placing all the records available on microfiche, in cooperation with the Quaker Historical Committee.

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Quaker Quest Belfast ’09

A Spiritual Path for Our Time

Four consecutive Wednesday evenings

From 30th Sept 2009

Quaker Quest Explores the Quaker way

It has actually happened!

We shared our individual and common insights through presentations, discussions, questions and an experience of Quaker worship.

Quaker Quest, an outreach programme tried and tested in the Britain Yearly Meeting ,took place in South Belfast Meeting this autumn.

Each evening the host or hostess introduces 3 speakers for the evening. Each speaker speaks on the chosen topic for up to 6 minutes and then the meeting breaks into small discussion groups. Following the discussion groups, each speaker gives another short talk on a more personal level on the same topic. There is an opportunity for questions and finally a Meeting for Worship lasting about 25minutes.

The topics covered were :

  • Quakers and the Spiritual Path
  • Quakers and Worship
  • Quaker Faith in Action
  • Quaker Values

Quaker Quest was jointly organised by South Belfast and Frederick St Meetings with support from Lisburn Meeting. Speakers, group facilitators, hosts, welcomers and caterers were drawn from these Meetings. A big effort went into publicity, from a leaflet drop in the local area, to posters and radio interviews and new road signage provided by the City Council.

After a lot of planning and effort we wondered if anyone would come to find out about the best kept spiritual secret! We need not have worried attendance was large the Meeting House buzzed with conversation, the hospitality was generous and the welcome warm. On the first night there were 90 people and on succeeding evenings 70 or so. Each evening there were between 35 and 45 visitors or Questors.

The Speakers were chosen to reflect the diversity of views within our Society, questions posed by Questors ranged from, What Quakers believe about original sin to how to join our Society?

Considering that many present had never attended a Meeting for Worship, it was striking that the time of Worship was settled and reverent. The presence of God was evident.

Prior to the 4 evening sessions, 2 Friends from BYM came to train us in the process, this was open to all and even sceptical Friends became enthused and committed.

Successful or not?

Judging by attendance and appreciation expressed yes. At a deeper level, we may never know the extent to which people were encouraged and challenged spiritually. More recent members and attenders of our Meetings found it very helpful and since QQ there have been a small number of new attenders.

Celebrating Christmas

Contemporary Quakers celebrate Christmas with as much enthusiasm as any other Christians.  It was not always so.  Over the greater part of the first two centuries of their existence, Quakers aimed for simplicity in all things.  So, every day was counted as equal – although Sunday was set aside for regular worship.  The early Quakers called it ‘First day’ to avoid the pagan connotation of the name.  Likewise, they refused to observe any special annual festivals.


Towards the end of the nineteenth century these strictures were relaxed and few, if any, living Quakers in Ireland would remember anything other than a typical twentieth century Christmas with presents, Christmas trees and hospitality.


Amongst the Dublin Meetings, Monkstown and Eustace Street celebrate the Sunday before Christmas with carols after their regular Worship.  Churchtown has a special candle-lit carol service on Christmas Eve at 7.0 pm and Worship, followed by carols, at dawn on Christmas Day, beginning at 8.0 am.  Rathfarnham and Monkstown have Christmas Day Worship at 10.0 am and 9.30 am respectively.

Mary Leadbeater and the Annals of Ballitore

Article first published in The Friendly Word November-December 2009


Christopher Moriarty

This year saw the triumphant conclusion of years of work by Mario Corrigan and his colleagues at the Kildare County Library in the publication of the definitive edition of a very remarkable 19th century book. Of particular interest to Friends because of the Quaker life of its author, The annals of Ballitore is also a vital source work in social history.

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Southern Schools’ Quaker Pilgrimage 2009

In late September, Jane Chittick, Katherine Mills and Tory Lawson, from Friends’ School Lisburn ventured to England to take part in a Quaker Pilgrimage called ‘The Foxtrot’. Four other Quaker schools; Sibford, Sidcot, Leighton Park and Friends’ School Saffron Walden, also participated. Tory Lawson gives her account of the expedition ….

When I was invited along with Jane Chittick and Katherine Mills to participate in a ‘pilgrimage’, particularly one called the ‘foxtrot’ I wondered what it was all about. ‘Pilgrimage’ has associations of pious holiness, hooded monks winding their way up hills and so on….and this is certainly (to my relief) not what happened! We learnt about the extraordinary and turbulent events which led to George Fox founding the Early Quaker movement in 1652. ‘Foxtrot’ is just a nickname for the ‘Pilgrimage’ based upon our travelling around the region of the Northwest of England ‘in the footsteps’ of George Fox. We visited significant places and buildings such as Pendle Hill, Firbank Fell and Swarthmoor Meeting House. At these places historical events involving George Fox took place and have subsequently inspired successive generations of Friends from all over the world.

On the trip we met up with 16 other students representing all southern Quaker schools. For four days we travelled together, shared the cooking, mealtimes, duties, free time, walks, talks and meetings of worship. Throughout the trip a great sense of fellowship was generated and many happy memories were brought back. Friends were quickly made and we have already made plans to meet up again! All of us had a fascinating and moving experience and will never ever forget it.

Coming from the Silence

Coming from the Silence :Quaker Peacebuilding Initiatives in Northern Ireland 1969–2007

Edited by Ann Le Mare and Felicity McCartney

‘Coming from the Silence’ describes the work of four major projects and a number of smaller initiatives taking place between 1969 and 2007. It sets the work in a wider Quaker context and analyses it from an international development perspective. Quaker House Belfast, Ulster Quaker Service Committee, the Centre for Neighbourhood Development, and the Quaker Peace Education Project in Derry are covered in depth and a general chapter refers to a variety of smaller initiatives by Friends.

Published 24th September 2009

To order by post from Sessions of York, go to or telephone 01904 697855/ 01904 697892

Also available on Amazon website or over the counter from the Quaker Care charity shop, 514 Lisburn Rd, Belfast.

Special Meeting for Worship in former Friends Meeting House in Tramore

Twenty Nine Friends and others attended a special Meeting for Worship in the former Friends Meeting House in Tramore, Co. Waterford on 16th August 2009.

Regular Meetings for Worship ceased about ten years ago. Among the 29 were Friends who had attended Tramore meeting as children many years ago.

The building has since been substantially renovated and is now used by the Tramore Development Trust for the education of children.

From Experience, What Can I Say?

Helen Haughton, Churchtown Meeting

Public Lecture, delivered at Ireland Yearly Meeting, April 22, 2006

In choosing what I wanted to say this evening, I am returning to an important early event in Quakerism.

On one occasion, George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, attended a church service at which he was permitted to speak from the pulpit. He pointed out that the prophets, including Jesus, and his apostles, spoke from what they understood God to be saying to them, – not from readings or from the scriptures. This spiritual individualism and the acceptance of diversity, is at the core of Quakerism. So, from my experience, what can I say?

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Reflections on a Home-coming

Doreen E Dowd

Address to Ministry and Oversight at Yearly Meeting, 2005

Good Evening, Friends;

For those of you who do not know me, I am a life-long member of Ireland Yearly Meeting, Dublin Monthly Meeting and attend Eustace St. Meeting. In 1992 I left my job as a respiratory physician in Dublin, and went to work in a Salvation Army hospital in Zambia. My work permit described me as a missionary. In 1998 I moved to Lesotho, which is a tiny mountainous kingdom, completely land-locked by the Republic of South Africa, and worked for six years as the Flying Doctor. I was officially a civil servant, but as I was flown several times a week to various remote mountain clinics by the pilots of Mission Aviation Fellowship, I was close to the missionary community in that country.

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