The history of The Morning Star Hostel

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The Morning Star Hostel is located on Morning Star Avenue off North Brunswick Street. Dublin 7.

It is one of the oldest hostels for homeless men in the City and is well regarded by many Dublin families.

Frank Duff founded the Legion of Mary in 1921, and due to his work among the poor of Dublin’s inner city he came face to face with the scourge of poverty that gripped the city at that time, due in the main to unemployment and drink, particularly amongst men. These men inevitably found themselves homeless and destitute.

He dreamed of a day when he could open a night shelter where he could provide these men with food and clothing and somewhere safe to sleep and at the same time try to lift the men to a level of decency, more in keeping with human dignity.

He found a vacant building in Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. The building itself is known to have existed since 1780 and is believed to have been originally built as a house of charity for the poor and had been used by the Black and Tans as a barracks. His dream became a reality on the 25th March, 1927 when the Morning Star Hostel opened it’s doors.

The Hostel was staffed solely by volunteers from the Legion of Mary and this policy continues to this day. There are no staff salaries, administrative costs or paid executives.

On the 23rd December, 2014, the refurbishment of the west wing of the Hostel was completed, increasing the bed units to 68. 

The Stickyard

In those early years there was great poverty in Dublin and the hostel used to house over 200 homeless men a night. There were so many families sleeping on the streets that homeless men could only stay for two weeks in the other hostels that were available.

 

At the time the hostel would have had four large dormitories filled with beds lining the walls on the left and on the right. The survival of the Hostel is a miracle when we stop to realise that the hostel has been operated since 1927 on the sole reliance of volunteer Legionaries and has catered for so many homeless men in Dublin all that time.

To this day there are no staff salaries, administrative costs or paid executives.

On the 23rd December, 2014, the refurbishment of the west wing of the Hostel was completed, increasing the bed units to 68. 

The Stickyard

When the Hostel opened it wasn’t long before it was operating to a capacity of about 200 men per night. This in time presented many difficulties, one of which was, how to keep the men occupied and sober.

Frank Duff was a man of great belief and charity and always strived to see the best in his fellow humans. He was also a man with great drive and ingenuity, he always said “when a man loses his employment or his ability to work, very soon after he becomes homeless (ironically, this is as true today as it was in the 1930’s) the road back for any man begins with the first day of work”.

He would always encourage the men in his care to try and find work and for those who didn’t, or couldn’t, he created the Stickyard at the top of Morning Star Avenue, adjacent to the Hostel. He was able to secure an endless supply of worn out railway sleepers. The idea was to cut the sleepers into log size, the men would then split them into kindling, wrap the kindling into bundles and sell them door to door.

  The Morning Star Hostel   Morning Star Avenue, Brunswick Street, Dublin 7.  01 8727277     themorningstarhostel@gmail.com  The Morning Star Hostel is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  The Morning Star Hostel is a registered Irish charity. CHY 4772

The Morning Star Hostel 
Morning Star Avenue, Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. 
01 8727277     themorningstarhostel@gmail.com

The Morning Star Hostel is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

The Morning Star Hostel is a registered Irish charity. CHY 4772

This became a daily routine for many of the men and served to rebuild their dignity and create a work ethic that had been lost to them. The Stickyard presented an opportunity to work and earn money, in many cases this was the start of a new life and the belief in a bright and better future.