Quaker Meeting House and Burial Ground
Mountmellick town can be traced back to 1440 when it became a garrison town for the soldiers of Henry V1 when defending the Pale from the pressures of the Irish Chieftains.
In 1655, Quakers otherwise known as the “Society of Friends” formed in Mountmellick which became the most important Quaker centre outside Dublin. In 1655, the group were joined by William and John Edmundson, Richard Jackson, John Thomson and John Pim, starting with a population of 175 equally divided between Irish and English.
Under the astute leadership and simulation of William Edmundson, Mountmellick advanced more successfully than any other provincial town and due to its dynamic industrial development became referred to the as The Manchester of Ireland.
Quakes are greatly misunderstood in Ireland due to their perceived association and as planters from England. However, history would show that Quakers were as much victims of the crown as the indigenous population. As religious dissenters of the Church Of England, they were targets like the Seperates and the Puritans. However, Quakers were devout pacifists and refused to fight in England’s wars or pay taxes if they believed that their proceeds would assist a military venture in any way. They believed in total equality and would not bow to nobility or take oaths of allegiance.
Women achieved greater equality in the Quaker society as they were allowed to participate fully in Quaker meetings.