Blessed Frederic Ozanam
The Famine days of 1844 saw the first meeting of the Society in Ireland. This took place, just before Christmas that year and was held on December 16 in Charles Street, Dublin. By the end of 1845, five conferences were active in the city. The Following year, Conferences were started in Cork, Limerick, Kerry & Waterford – and in 1985 the Belfast Conference was formed.
In 1863, famine conditions again took hold in Ireland and the Society was active on all fronts. SVP assistance included provision of seed for impoverished small farmers.
In 1912, the Society provided hostel accommodation for the homeless for the first time when it opened its Black Lane Hostel near Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin.
The Society’s growth continued and in 1916, the year of major historical importance to the future of Ireland, the Society was provided help when, at the request of the Local Government Board, it made food aid available following the Easter Rising. Over 41,000 food tickets were distributed by house-to-house visitation.
In 1935 the well-known “Sunshine House” Holiday Home for children was opened.
In 1990, the Society topped the list of “most deserving charities” in a public survey.
Today the Society remains Ireland’s best known and, in Dublin, is the most widely supported organisation in terms of social concern and action. The central purpose of its work in the Dublin Region is to see poverty and social exclusion eliminated wherever and however it occurs.