Joe Dolan (1872 – 1930)

Joe Dolan was a leading Ardee figure of his time. He knew many of the leading figures of the 1916 rebellion including Paidraig Pearce and Douglas Hyde, the first president. He was active in the Gaelic League as the Irish language and its revival was of huge importance to him. He had a particular interest in promoting the interests of Ardee and was instrumental in the establishment of St Brigid’s hospital and the inviting JJ Thorne to open the Chair factory on the Kells Road. The photo, below, shows the contract, signed by Pearce, for when Joe Dolan loaned him money to build St Endas.

The following article, written by Olivia Ryan, was taken from The Argus on 1 Sept 2017

Joseph Dolan (1872-1930) was an exceptional individual who contributed much to the country. He cared for his native town of Ardee and he supported many charitable causes and local organisations. He was engaged with the Irish National Foresters Ardee Branch, the Ardee Cycling Club, the Ardee Amateur Dramatic Society and the Ardee Commercial Society to name a few and had key roles in many.

Joseph Dolan was active in the Gaelic League as the Irish language and its revival was of huge importance to him. Dolan assisted Pádraig Pearse in setting up St Enda’s School as he supported the teaching of Irish in schools. Dolan was also an enthusiastic member of the Louth Archaeological Society who studied and researched extensively and had a deep interest in archaeology and antiquities, history and Celtic Studies. He became the Society’s first president and was editor of its journal for many years.

Dolan also took an active interest in local and national politics. He served on Louth Co Council and Ardee Town Commissioners. Dolan kept up correspondence with key national public figures that were at the centre of Irish politics conveying his point of view regarding Irish nationalism and independence and condemning the destruction and brutality of the War of Independence.

Throughout his lifetime, Dolan was occupied with many local developments and enterprises. He was part of a group who purchased the local demense for the purpose of building St Brigid’s Hospital and was responsible for inviting JJ Thorne to come from Edenderry to Ardee to set up the Ardee Chair Factory.

Lorraine McCann, County Archivist explained that the exhibition is part of Louth’s 1916 Centenary Programme funded by Ireland 2016. It is based on collections of Joseph Dolan’s archives that were deposited in Louth County Archives Service by Colman O’Flynn of Ardee and the Co Louth Archaeological and Historical Society. The collections provide an intimate view of the life and work of Joseph Dolan and are a wonderful resource for researchers. The aim of the exhibition is to bring Joseph Dolan to a wider audience and raise awareness of his achievements as an exceptional scholar and a local and national advocate.

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