History of the Institution

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Mendicity Institute in the 1940s

The Mendicity Institution is one of Dublin’s oldest charities, established in 1818.  During its life-span, it has always worked towards the relief of poverty in the city. In 1818, there was very little public help for the thousands of poor forced to beg in the streets of Dublin, who, as a contemporary put it, “crowded around the doors of shops, assailing customers”.  So, a few enlightened men founded a charity which provided free food, clothing, lodging, schooling for children and training in marketable skills, and later public baths and washing facilities.  It gave financial assistance to those wishing to travel in search of work.

As the social organisation of poverty altered, the Institution has had to adapt to meet the current needs of a changing clientele. Today, the Institution still provides meals for 70 people per day.  This detailed history of one of Dublin’s most respected charities shows how the aims and objectives changed over the years to meet the changing needs of its clientele, while never losing sight of the basic object to make it unnecessary for men, women and children to beg in the streets

It has always been situated on Usher’s Island and has been at its present location (9 Island Street, Dublin 8) since the 1950’s, where it continues as a food centre providing free meals.