Donnybrook Youth Club

Pictured: Eoin Mulville (centre) with the members of the youth club.

Pictured: Eoin Mulville (centre) with the members of the youth club.

Saturday March 7th will see Donnybrook Youth Club celebrate its 50th anniversary. The event will see a reunion of past club leaders and members and will take place at Belvedere Rugby Club on Anglesea Road, Dublin 4.
NewsFour sat down to chat with current president of Donnybrook Youth Club, Eoin Mulville, as well as previous leaders Maurice Mulville and Mick O’Connor.

The plan for the anniversary celebration was born of a natural curiosity about the club’s origins, and from a conversation between Eoin Mulville and another team leader. The actual date of the club’s birth was unknown until a full-scale investigation of documents, online searches and testimonies from past members revealed the truth!

“We’ve been planning this since roughly last summer,” Eoin Mulville said. “The reaction has been very good when you mention it to people.” Maurice Mulville added, “What we wanted to achieve was to have everyone involved with the club from day one, to bring people together who haven’t seen each other in years.”

The March 7th event will see many former members and club leaders converge at Belvedere Rugby Club, with between 1,500 to 2,000 former members and approximately 550 former leaders being facilitated on the night.

The committee are also putting a book together to commemorate the history of the club, with members from different time periods each submitting articles expanding upon their experiences with the club, with the current crop of youngsters also doing their bit by adding pictures.

It should be noted that the event itself is not a fundraising enterprise and has had its costs subsidised by businesses involving former members. The introduction to the book has been written by Paul Dixon, one of the club’s founding members, and printed by Richard Kelly.

Over the years, youth club members went on many trips to several historically significant venues, such as the town of Kleve, Germany, which suffered heavy damage during World War Two. Several club members engaged in a youth exchange programme with German families and went on trips to Germany. As a result, many of the Donnybrook youngsters still maintain friendships with their continental counterparts, and some of the German contingent are expected to be present at the anniversary bash.

Some of these trips have been captured on film reels, which have been transferred onto DVDs, which will be available to buy on the night if requested, although the commemoration book is free of charge.

Donnybrook Youth Club has come a long way since interested parties first met to discuss the club’s creation in July 1964. Its current address is 4A Belmont Avenue, though its original location lay where the Donnybrook Credit Union building now stands.

One of the club’s keystone figures in its early days was Vincent Byrne, a police liaison officer who was pivotal in recruiting young boys to the club. The club was formed under the auspices of The Society of St Vincent de Paul and was granted much assistance by Catholic Youth Care, helping the club to rapidly expand in the 1960s. The club even published its own weekly magazine, The Info, which was typed up on a stencil machine in the old days!

Currently, the club hosts two nights per week on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Wednesdays for 5–10 year olds and Thursdays for 10–17 year olds, where members engage in arts and crafts, sleepovers, table tennis and all the glories of club life.

For anyone interested in attending the 50th anniversary on March 7th, there is a Facebook link below that they can add their name to.

By Craig Kinsella

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