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LOCATIONS

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2022

County Wexford
Paranormal Investigation 84
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The Athenaeum

The Athenaeum, situated on Castle Street in Enniscorthy, County Wexford was constructed in 1892 on a former vacant plot in the town. The new-custom built hall was designed by Joseph Kelly Freeman (born 1865) at a cost of £2,207 5s.2p. The Athenaeum was named after Athena, the Greek Goddess of arts and wisdom by the buildings committee treasurers Dr. Nicholas Furlong and Dr. Thomas J. Kelly.  The initial purpose for the new town hall (brought forward in a meeting 4th February 1891) in Enniscorthy was to educate the young catholic men of the town on the subjects of arts, literature and science. For over seventy years the Athenaeum hosted touring companies from Ireland and overseas. Apart from dances and concerts operatic recitals were performed at the hall; including an appearance from world renowned tenor Count John McCormack (1884-1945) at a Feis (festival of music and dance) in 1905. Lectures were also presented to an audience on-site. Notably an address was given by Dr. Douglas Hyde (1860-1949) in the Main Hall in 1901. Hyde was the co-founder and first President of the Gaelic League. He would later become the first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945. It was on the 17th June 1927 that the founding members of the Gate Theatre company in Dublin (established 1928) Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards first met each other at the Athenaeum. It was the Emmet commemoration concert and oration of 1st March 1916 that saw the most rousing gatherings in the Main Hall. Orator on that evening was Patrick Pearse (1879-1916). He spoke passionately about Robert Emmet (1778-1803). Amongst those who attended were the Volunteers of the Irish Republican Brotherhood based in Enniscorthy. Pearse gave knowledge that orders of an armed uprising would arrive soon. On the Thursday 27th April 1916 between 100 and 200 Irish Volunteers led by Robert Brennan, Seamus Doyle and Sean Etchingham took over the town of Enniscorthy. One of the buildings that was commandeered was the Athenaeum. Members of Comann na Mban (Irish Republican Women’s Parliamentary Organisation) raised the tricolour on a flagpole above the building and discharges of gunfire were fired as a salute. The insurgents also managed to fire shots at the R.I.C (Royal Irish Constabulary) from Vinegar Hill (a symbolic site of the 1798 Rising). Other buildings that were occupied in the town included Enniscorthy Castle, the Church Institute on the corner of Castle Street and Church Street; and the Courthouse on Court Street and Friary Hill. On Monday 1st May the British Army under the command of Colonel George Arthur French (1864-1950) succeeded in regaining control of the town. Enniscorthy was the only town occupied by Republicans outside of Dublin during the 1916 Rising and one of the last places to lay down arms in the revolt.

MANIFESTATION/LEGEND

Familiar occurrences of poltergeist activity have been reported at the building, such as doors banging, people being touched and lights switching on and off. Shadow figures have been seen and clear voices (some not friendly) believed to be that of Priests, children and Volunteers of the 1916 Rising are said to be heard. The majority of paranormal and anomalous experiences occur in the Museum area of the Athenaeum.

The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum

March