Mendicity Institution

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The Mendicity Institution in Dublin, Ireland, is one of Ireland's oldest charities. It continues its charitable work of providing meals to Dublin's needy from its premises at Island Street, south of Usher's Island, its former location.


The Institution was one of many that were established in Dublin to relieve the poverty that pervaded the city at that time. There was no system of public welfare, nor, until some time later, any general policy on the part of the government to alleviate poverty. It was left to parishes (which in the poorer areas of the city had very little to spare), private individuals and institutions to ease poverty through voluntary work.[1]

The Institution was established in 1818 as the Mendicity Association. From 1826, it had its headquarters at Moira House, Usher's Island, near the River Liffey, formerly the family house of Lord Moira. The house had many historical associations. It was here, on 18 May 1798, that Pamela, wife of the rebel patriot Lord Edward FitzGerald, was spending the evening when her husband was betrayed into the hands of his pursuers nearby.[2] The Institution remained at this location until 1954. Its aim was to provide food, clothing, and lodging for the poor of Dublin.[3] It was demolished in 1960, however the front gate and railing remain to this day.[1]

The Mendicity Institution in 1890

During the 1916 Rising, Sean Heuston was ordered to occupy the Institution. He was told to hold this position for three or four hours, to delay the advance of British troops. He actually held it for more than two days, along with 26 Volunteers. With his position becoming untenable against considerable numbers, he had to surrender, and was later executed.[4]

Further reading[edit]

Audrey Woods: Dublin outsiders: a history of the Mendicity Institution. A & A Farmar, Dublin 1998; ISBN 978-1899047499


  1. ^ a b Lindsay, Deirdre (1990). Dublin's Oldest Charity. Dublin: Anniversary Press. p. 3. ISBN 1-870940-06-7. 
  2. ^ Gerard, Frances (1898). Picturesque Dublin, Old and New. London: Hutchinson & Co. 
  3. ^ Mendicity Institution
  4. ^ Desmond Ryan, The Rising, Golden Eagle Books, Dublin, 1966

See also[edit]

External links[edit]