or a hall that was the centre of so many Greystonian’s world for years on end, it’s surprising that there are so few photos of St Kilian’s Hall.
Built for saints, and yet home to quite a few sinners during its teenage P’n’R disco days, Kilian’s was a lot of things to a lot of people.
Originally built at the end of the 19th century as the Church of Ireland’s parish hall, and originally called Trafalgar Hall, this late, lamented landmark – which is now all swanky apartments, of course – was, for many years, Greystones’ very own Orange Lodge. Always handy to have somewhere to go after a long, hard march up Church Road.
And just in case you didn’t know already, for a while there, the Protestants really got a hold of this town.
This was a time when, of a population of 900 people, 600 attended the Church of Ireland.
During the 1920s, St Kilian’s was almost destroyed by fire, later being acquired and rebuilt by the Holy Rosary Parish before being reopened as a Church Hall in 1928.
And that’s when Kilian’s became the centre of many a Greystonian’s social life, as the hall became a cinema, a dance hall, a snooker room, an art school with Mrs Booth, the Greystones Harbour Market, Tae kwon do with Ken, Gladys Sheehan’s drama classes every Friday, the Greystones Operatic & Dramatic Society, ballet lessons, pantos, bingo, beetle drive, Irish dancing, the birth of St Laurence’s National School and, of course, a scout hall.
Even Éamon De Valera found use for St Kilian’s, when he made an address there circa 1950. Give or take.
The Dublin Catholic Diocesan Trust put St Kilian’s Hall on the market in 1999, going to auction on July 7th that year. The 4,000 sq. ft building was, of course, quickly snatched up, the old Victorian architecture being demolished in 2001 to make way for some swanky apartments that, mercifully, echoed some of the characteristics of the original Victorian building.
For GG, it was always that magical place, sandwiched between battling the one-armed bandits down in Joe Sweeney’s amusement hall and trying to get a snog down in the bus shelter at the harbour, a place where you could twist the night away to Bowie, Quo and T-Rex.
When you weren’t busy going Full West Side Story with those smelly Kilcoolers, of course.
This archive was first published on November 10th 2021. You can explore more old Greystones buildings right here.