March Talk: Irish National Foresters – St Molaga Branch, No.315 (Balbriggan) 1897-1942 – Jim Walsh

Balbriggan and District Historical Society back live

After a difficult two years Balbriggan & District Historical Society were delighted to welcome back old friends to an in-person talk in the Bracken Court Hotel on Wednesday March 30th, 2022.

The talk Irish National Foresters – St Molaga Branch, No.315 (Balbriggan) 1897-1942 ” was presented by Jim Walsh who is very well known as a founding member of the Society and an expert on Balbriggan history who has given many talks on a variety of subjects.

The Irish National Foresters Benefit Society was founded in 1877 embracing the dictum of Unity, Benevolence and Nationality. Offering much needed financial and medical assistance to its members this social movement spread rapidly throughout the entire island of Ireland. When the Balbriggan branch was formed in 1897, there were already 300 branches already established in Ireland. In the year 1911, Balbriggan Branch numbered 111 members. A female branch named the Molly Bawn was founded in the following year 1912. Payments garnered from branch membership funds were disbursed to families for sickness, death, widows and orphans and sundry “distress”.  Having met in the Balbriggan Band Rooms for the members erected their own edifice in Hampton Street in the year 1913. 

The Foresters Hall on Hampton Street found a new role when it was purchased by Dan O’Shea. Dan bought the house from the Foresters in 1947 and ran his school, St. Brendan’s College there from his family home until he closed it in 1957 to take up a teaching role elsewhere. Dan helped the Society with research into the building and in appreciation a photo of Dan O’Shea was presented to Dan’s daughter, Marian Connolly née O’Shea and her daughter, Tara

The talk was filmed and is available above