25th Anniversary of Slane History & Archaeology Society

On the morning of Sunday 24th November 2019, Mass was celebrated by Fr. Richard Matthews in St Patrick's church for all members of Slane History & Archaeology Society who passed away over the last twenty five years.

Present members participated in the readings and Offertory procession. Mary Mc Donnell brought a decorative card with prayers for all deceased members of the Society. Martina Corrigan carried the Society’s first publication. “The Old Frequented Ways”. Relatives, members and friends filled the Church.


In the afternoon of Sunday 24th November 2019 from 3pm onwards, present and former members of Slane History & Archaeology Society headed towards the Conyngham Arms hotel to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Society. In a short time people were seated comfortably at large, round, linen covered tables in the Lavender room chatting happily. The venue was most appropriate as the Society was founded in 1994 on the 24th November in this very same room.

Eddie Fleming, Chairman, was master of ceremonies for the evening. Having welcomed everyone, Eddie outlined the objectives of the Society and the importance to know about our past. He then introduced Wayne Harding, a native of Slane and Chairman of Meath County Council. Wayne talked about his school days and regretted that he very often missed the Society’s talks/outings owing to a busy work schedule.

Sheila Crehan, former Principal of St. Patrick’s Primary school in Slane was the keynote speaker for the evening. Sheila, who first mooted the idea of a History Society for the area reminisced about how the Society was formed and developed.

Initially, having contacted some like- minded history enthusiasts who promised support and commitment Sheila called a meeting. From the forty attendees the first Committee was formed. The officers elected were as follows,

President : Very Rev. Joseph Dooley
Chairman : Michael Leahy
Vice Chairman: Bill Ronan
Secretary: Sheila Crehan
Assistant Sec. Moyna Doherty
Treasurer : Madge Fortune
Honorary member : Terry Trench

Slane and surrounding areas are saturated in history. Consequently the Society went from strength to strength in a very short time, boasting of seventy members at one stage ranging from distinguished scholars to amateur researchers. Sheila, who was secretary for twenty years, outlined some of the accomplishments of the Society. She spoke about the early days, fundraising efforts, and the many excellent subcommittees formed through the years. Numerous projects were undertaken e.g. the 150th anniversary of the founding of St. Patrick’s primary school Slane, was commemorated in 1997. In tandem with this celebration, the 1st Past Pupils’ Reunion was organized and a commemorative booklet produced.

Committee members were busy in 1998 researching the bicentenary of the 1798 rising in Slane and environs which resulted in each member making a presentation whilst displaying some authentic weapons.
A very energetic subcommittee collated material and produced “The Old Frequented Ways”, the first major publication of the Society.
A group who researched Dean Cogan, had a plaque erected on the wall of the house in Slane where he was born. Dean Cogan who is buried in St. Patrick’s R.C. Church, compiled the first ecclesiastical history of Meath.

Members involved in the “John Cassidy” project researched the Slane sculptor in Manchester and environs. Afterwards a weekend exhibition of Cassidy’s many works was mounted in the Conyngham Arms hotel. A lovely booklet was produced entitled “John Cassidy 1860-1939”. The numerous images of Cassidy’s sculptures are now in safe storage with Navan Library.

A new website funded by Meath County Council was launched by the website subcommittee.
A second very interesting book containing information on the surrounding area, entitled “Slane Reflections”, was published in 2008.

Many other projects such as Life in Slane in the 40s, Heritage Centre, John Boyle O’Reilly, Slane Races, and the Heritage trail were researched and admirable work displayed by various groups.

Sheila, after outlining some of the projects in which members were involved made a Powerpoint presentation. The many slides of lectures, outings/ field trips brought happy and poignant memories to the large audience. Some former members have passed away but they will always be remembered by the Society. Afterwards Mary Kelly a very distinguished harpist, played some Turlough O’Carolan pieces of music. Gerard Doggett, former Chairman, and a highly accomplished violinist accompanied by Mary produced some beautiful Irish airs. The rendition was truly magnificent. Later in the evening, Paddy Reilly, another talented musician entertained the audience with some lovely melodies. Frank Lynagh, Jimmy McComesky and Michael Kelly contributed some interesting and funny anecdotes which were enjoyed by all. It was now time for some refreshments. Tea, coffee, and a variety of sandwiches as well as a special celebratory cake purchased in George’s, the local bakery, put an end to a memorable day. The people enjoyed the few hours together and some even saw themselves on the large screen.

Thank you to the many attendees, the hotel staff, Committee members and all who helped with the successful celebration of the 25th anniversary of our Society

Sheila Crehan, Nov. 2019

L to R: Eddie Fleming [ Chairman], Irene McCabe committee member, Sheila Crehan [ President] William Locke comm. member, Councillor Wayne Harding, Mary McDonnell Secretary, Martina Corrigan Treasurer, Margaret White comm. member, Michael Kelly, Committee member

The following members held the position of Chairman over the years.

1st [1994] Michael Leahy 6 years
2nd Gerard Doggett 3 years
3rd Michael Kelly 4 years
4th Clare Ring 2 years
5th Ita Mahon 5 years
6th John Reidy 5 years
7th [2019] Eddie Fleming ongoing

Sheila Crehan was Secretary from 1994 until March 2014.
Mary Mcdonnell succeeded Sheila and is ongoing.

The following members held the position of Treasurer from 1994
1st Madge Fortune 2 years
2nd Peter Marron 6 years
3rd Christina Devaney 3 years
4th John Ryle 4 years
5th Marie Byrne 2 years
6th Anjo Mongey 2 years
7th Martina Corrigan Treasurer in 2014

Members of the numerous hardworking Sub Committees who researched various topics, produced projects with information hitherto unknown to many deserve a sincere “Go raibh maith agaibh”.

Other members of the main Committee who performed admirable work are, Irene McCabe, Lil Sears, William Locke, Ellen McConnon.

Your work and interest over the years has been greatly appreciated. Thank you all.
[Sheila Crehan]

Our first president, Fr. Joseph Dooley, P.P. a very avid historian was a great asset to our Society.
Fr. Joseph Deegan P.P. [2nd President] facilitated the Society at all times and always struck the right note.!
Sheila Crehan is now President of the Society.

The 1st Committee : L to R
Bill Ronan, Moyna Doherty, Terry Trench, Fr. Dooley, Michael Leahy, Sheila Crehan. [Madge Fortune Treasurer, is missing]


Family History

Below you will find links to online resources that will help you with your family history research:

Irish Genealogy.ie
Here you will find historic Civil records of births (1864-1916) deaths (1864-1966) and marriages (1845-1941) from the General Registry Office and a selection of church records.


1901 and 1911 Census Records


Griffith's Valuation
The first full-scale valuation of property in ireland. It was overseen by Richard Griffith and published between 1847 and 1864.


A further list of Genealogy websites is available on the National Archives website

Christmas outing , 2015


This Christmas, the Slane History and Archaeology Society will travel to the TLT, Drogheda to see the Drogheda Male Voice Choir in "An Old Fashioned Christmas" on the 18th December at 8pm.
     Preceding the show, we will have an early bird meal in The Kitchen, South Quay, Drogheda.  Our bus will leave Slane car park  at 5.30 pm to arrive in The Kitchen by 6pm.
   The show will cost 26 euro, the meal 24euro and the bus 4euro.
   If you are interested in coming please contact me (email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 087 2222144) by this Thursday 26th November to book your place.
          Hoping it will be an enjoyable evening for all, Mary McDonnell.

About the Society

"People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors"

The above society, founded in 1994, has grown steadily over the years with a current membership of 70. Meetings are held in the Youth Café which is situated beside the Catholic Church in Slane at 8 p.m. The society has an ongoing programme of events and projects which includes talks/lectures and outings etc on local history topics. New members are always welcome.

founding committee


Founding Committee
(from left) Bill Ronan, Moyna Doherty, Terry Trench, Fr. Joe Dooley, Michael Leahy, Sheila Crehan. Madge Fortune (Treasurer) not in photo.

Slane parish provides a rich heritage containing within its bounds the ancient pagan monuments at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth with the Christian site on the Hill of Slane and St. Erc's Hermitage on the bank of the Boyne. Over the years sub-committees have researched many subjects including Slane Races, 1798 Rebellion, Slane in the 1940's as well as Senior Citizens anecdotes and memories of bygone days. The latter has been videoed and recorded for posterity.

Another sub-committee had a plaque erected at the house in Slane Village where Dean Cogan was born. He compiled the first history of the Diocese of Meath.

Last year a sub-committee was formed to research the life of locally born sculptor and artist John Cassidy. This culminated in an exhibition of his works in October 2004.



Two historical journals have been published to date. The first one entitled "150th Anniversary of Slane National School" which deals with the history of the school since its foundation in 1847 was published in 1997. "The Old Frequented Ways", published in 2000, contains articles on the local history and folklore of Slane. It was written by members of the society and can be purchased from any of the officers.

historical journals


Field trips and outings, to places of historical interest, are organised during the summer. At Christmas a visit to the theatre or concert hall is enjoyed. Sometimes a dinner in a local restaurant or hotel fits the bill.