For 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 – it’s now apartments, of course – was, for many years, Greystones’ very own Orange Lodge.
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 and 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 banditsdown 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.
St Killian’s Hall 1960s: Nuala Walby, Peggy Kinsella, Theresa Corrigan, Betty Canna, Monica Darcy, Albert Green. Pic: Maud Tee
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