The first meeting of Celbridge local history society was January 21st 2002. It wss formed by a group of enthusiasts including Catherine Boylan, Maura Gallagher, Maureen Hassett, Ann McNeill, Agnes Walsh, Jean McGeeny and others.
The group usually meets on the first Monday of each month in Celbridge library, although other dates and venues are also used.
The society’s popular annual climb of St Patrick’s Hill in Ardrass on St Patrick’s Day has revived a traditional pilgrimage that had ceased in the early 20th century.
Among the first achievements of the group was the mounting of a plaque commemorating the association of the Celbridge Mill with a spiritual site of the well of St Mochua in 2003. The group has also sponsored the Lena Boylan Memorial Prize for national school history projects, as a tribute to the prodigious and innovative Celbridge historian Eileen “Lena” Boylan (nee Scanlon 1917-2000).
The group has built up close connections with members of the Four Castles Orange Cultural Society from Larne, in a Co-operation Ireland funded project to promote cross-border cultural understanding.
During the term of the project, members of both groups have exchanged visits and participated in a series of lectures to promote greater awareness of each other’s culture.
The lectures and side activities have explored Ulster Scots, the Orange Order, religion, education, cultural values and local society and history. The project no longer receives funding but continues as a result of the friendships and interests forged. There are plans to carry out an oral history study to draw some conclusions to the project.
Members of the group have been proactive in representing the society in the broader history field, on the Federation of Kildare Federation of Local History Groups, at national level on the Federation of Local History Societies, on National Library of Ireland projects and on the Oral History Network of Ireland, among others.