A history of scouting in Fairview
Whilst scouting in Ireland was started in 1908, the groups formed were attached to army barracks (British) or in schools and halls of The Establishment. The nationalistic opinion of that time meant that many parents of young boys would not permit their sons to become scouts.
The old Den in bad condition
With this in mind and the promise of support from some leading parishioners, Rev. Fr. P. Grogan met with a large group of boys under a lamp post on Richmond Road on the 9th December 1925, and from this first meeting a troop known as The Catholic Boy Scouts of Fairview was formed. With their distinctive grey flannel uniform and all green neckerchief (scarf), within a very short time the membership soared. With camping weekends and the first summer camp of 1 week in Santry Woods with the thrill of outdoor cooking and games under the guidance of Mr. Leo Fitzmaurice (Brother of the famous aviator) and his team, Catholic Scouting in Ireland began.
With the approval of the Archbishop two brothers, Rev. Frs. Ernest and Tom Farrell paid a few visits to see the Fairview Scouts in operation. They also visited a troop in Greystones, which was formed in February 1926. In 1927 Frs. Ernie and Tom, as they were affectionately known, formed the Headquarter troop of The Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland (C.B.S.I.) and within a few months troops of CBSI were in all 32 counties of Ireland.
When the Fairview Scouts were invited to join C.B.S.I. they were given the title of 1st Dublin (Fairview) Troop and adopted the new navy blue uniform of the C.B.S.I. Having to forsake the old grey uniform, the colours of the neckerchief incorporated the colours that are still in use today, Green and Grey halves.
At the official opening of Marino Church in 1928 (as a church of ease to The Visitation Fairview), the Archbishop Dr. Edward Byrne was so impressed by the turnout of 1st Dublin that he presented to them the title of Archbishops Own with the honour of wearing his special crest (see above left). This title has been successfully held to the present day.
With numbers increasing a second troop was formed, the 73rd Dublin, with a scout band. But band practice and outdoor scouting couldnt compete and the band became known as The Marino Boys Brass Band under the conductorship of Mr. Liam Devlin. He was tragically killed a few years later and with his death this well known marching band ceased and the title of 73rd Dublin is with a Raheny Unit formed by an ex 1st Dublin leader, PJ Killackey.
After the 1932 Eucharistic Congress a galvanised hut was purchased and erected on parish grounds behind Marino Girls schools. The Den or Hut as it was known was reasonably large and catered for scouting in Fairview and Marino for many years until the land was sold for the use of Dublin Fire Brigade. The next three years were a severe test of the Scouting Spirit of which 1st Dublin were justly proud. With having to meet in family houses, garages, school halls and outdoor venues, many another scout troop would have failed. In 1947 after much controversy a disused tennis pavilion in Croydon Gardens Marino was granted to the Unit under licence by the City of Dublin Corporation. This Scout Den was the home of local scouting for almost 40 years. The Scout Programme flourished under many dedicated leaders, as did Football, Swimming, Athletics, Boxing, Singing and Drama. Many a proud parent beamed with delight whilst been entertained by their sons on a Parents Night concert.
Over the years very many past members have continued to support scouting in the setting up and assisting the management of new scout troops locally such as 58th Donnycarney, 80th Coolock, 40th Beaumont, 92nd Clontarf, 73rd Raheny, East
wall, Baldoyle, Bayside, Dundrum Brackenstown/Swords and others. Some have become District Commissioners in places as far afield as Canada, Scotland and Australia and are proud of their traditions with 1st Dublin.
The professions too have been graced by some past members such as Clergy, Medical, Law, Teaching, Politics Arts, local Government and even an Everest Mountaineer. In 1987 due to continued vandalism, Dublin Corporation ordered the demolition of the Scout Den without notice as it was declared a dangerous building and once more 1st Dublin was homeless. With the kind permission of the Marino Residents Association and the Carleton Hall committee, local scouting continued under difficulties during the next three years with a short spell in Grace Park Road Convent grounds.
This major set back to the Unit resulted in a concerted effort by the Ladies Committee (most of whose sons were no longer scouts), Past Members and the active scout leaders of 1st Dublin in a massive fundraising drive by forming a Den Building Committee. With Cake/Book sales, Table Quizzes, Golf Classics and may other events and with the contribution from local traders and business, the massive sum (at the time) of £60,000 was raised. With this money and a grant for the National Lottery Fund, the building of a new Scout Den on the old site began. This entailed numerous meetings with Architects, Planners, Dublin Corporation, ESB etc.
The Unit must be forever grateful to the unstinting civic mindness of all those involved and their cheerful disposition that helped to keep the Unit functioning at that time. Some past members were coerced into donating and supplying the Heating, Lighting, Tiling and furnishings for the Den.
The official opening of the new Den was performed by Mr Bertie Ahern, TD and Minister for Finance (later Taoiseach) and blessed by His Grace Dr. Desmond Connell Archbishop of Dublin on the 1st March 1992 with many civic and Scout dignitaries in attendance. Coinciding with scouting in the Den, a name change in CBSI occurred with the deletion of B for Boy, and the new name of (C.S.I.) Catholic Scouts of Ireland which was co-ed and the formation of a new section Beavers Colony (6-8 year olds), came about with the character building of scouting in the young members continuing.
Newly built den 1992
After many years off negotiation between CSI and SAI (Scout Association of Ireland) the two associations have united under the title of Scouting Ireland, which came into existence on January 1st 2004. Many changes will occur with uniform and titles during the next few years but with the continued dedication and guidance of Mr Tom Mc Kiernan, Group Leader, and his very able Scout Leaders team, the fulfilment of scouting principles and the well being of the young members is guaranteed well into the future.
In conclusion may I take this opportunity to thank the very large number of people whom I have met through scouting for their friendship and generous support during my 68 years with Fairview. This I will value forever. May the joy and fulfilment that I have experienced continue to flow in 1st Dublin Fairview and for the group to achieve the success it so richly deserves on the Scouting Trail.
Mr Pat Dunne
Yours in Scouting,
A big thank you to former Unit Leader Pat Dunne for writing this piece and for all the years of effort he has put into scouting in Fairview. The group would not be in the strong position it is today were it not for Pat.