1790 – Birth of Fr. Theobald Mathew, “The Apostle of Temperance” and campaigner against alcohol, in Co Tipperary.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Theobald Mathew, founder of the The Total Abstinence Association is born at Thomastown, near Golden, Co Tipperary. He received his schooling in Kilkenny, then moved for a short time to Maynooth. From 1808 to 1814 he studied in Dublin, where in the latter year he was ordained to the priesthood. Having entered the Capuchin order, after a brief period of service at Kilkenny, he joined the mission in Cork.

Father Mathew encouraged his flock to take the following pledge: I promise to abstain from all intoxicating drinks except used medicinally and by order of a medical man and to discountenance the cause and practice of intemperance.

“In 1838 came the crisis of his life. Drunkenness had become widespread, and was the curse of all classes in Ireland. Temperance efforts had failed to cope with the evil, and after much anxious thought and prayer, in response to repeated appeals from William…

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