Dolly’s Cottage located opposite Dorrin’s Strand, has been in Strandhill since the early 1800’s. It is an iconic building and one of a small amount of thatched cottages that exist in Ireland today.
Dolly’s is owned and operated by the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) and the ICA has been in existence since 1910 in different forms and with a membership of 15000 members across Ireland. It is the largest women’s organisation in Ireland.
The ICA is made up of a wide spectrum of people and has been at the forefront of leading campaigns related to the recent cancer misdiagnosis debacle and is a leading advocate for women’s rights. It started out as an organisation to champion the rights of women in rural Ireland and has been at the coalface ever since – originally called the Society of the United Irishwomen, the ICA has been a mainstay of rural life.
Strandhill ICA administers and operates Dolly’s and they open every year from April to October. It is run by a minimal number of dedicated volunteers and they receive no gratuity for this. Dolly’s is run as a small museum and craft shop and relies wholly on donations it receives from visitors.
The problem today is that the number of volunteers have reduced considerably and some of the volunteers who have given most of their lives to helping keep Dolly’s open are now at a juncture where they want to step away and let others take up the baton.
All of those that help run Dolly’s are either from Strandhill or live in the area or have a connection to the village. The volunteers of Dolly’s cottage have today asked the Strandhill community for help. As a Strandhill Community it is imperative that the community take a more active role in preserving institutions like Dolly’s – there is a very real possibility that due to lack of volunteers to assist in the operation of Dolly’s that it could be confined to history. Dolly’s is a Strandhill institution and gives us a tiny glimpse into a past way of life that is long gone.
It wouldn’t take much, and any amount of your time would be greatly appreciated. If you feel like you can help (the more the merrier), there are many ways to do so – the most precious gift though you can give is a small amount of your time…
There is an information evening on 19th March 2019 in Bree’s Bar at 8pm and you can see what you can do to help…