An unassuming archway entrance next to Fusco’s on Meath Street (No. 27) is the remnant of a former Meeting House of the Quakers, or the Society of Friends as they are more properly known. The archway remnants are barely visible under the paint and shutters and the space within, which would have been the entrance vestibule into the hall, is now occupied by a small provisions shop.
Despite is rather battered and truncated appearance, No 27 probably dates to 1770s. Dublin Civic Trust suggests it was a later rebuild of the Quaker House first established on Meath Street in 1686 [DCT 2008]. The Meeting Hall to the rear was demolished as recently as the 1980s. Only its quaint archway stones survive and are now obscured by a shutter.
Some interesting details from a study by AJ Walsh on ‘Meeting Houses of the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland’ (undated):
“In 1684 the large Quaker Meeting House at Meath Place was erected to replace the earlier one at Wormwood Gate, which had become too small. This new Meeting House was erected by friends of the Leinster province by subscriptions taken from all over Ireland. It is interesting to note, however, that even at this early date, Cork friends were showing a spirit of independence which had long characterised them, by objecting to being asked to contribute to the fund.
This Meeting House, although out of Friends’ hands for over twenty years, is still in good order and must be the largest Meeting House ever to be erected by the Society in Ireland. A gallery surrounds three sides and the stand remains on the fourth side. Some pillars incorporated into later walls in the yard show the original entrance to the stables. Although the furnishings are now gone, and the building is used by a silversmith as a workshop, the interior retains much of its former dignity. One noteworthy feature is the presence of a timber ceiling cornice and rather more elaborate panelling than one would expect in such an early Meeting House.”