History of the DCA




Mary Hanley, founder of the DCA.

Douglas Community Association was founded in 1969 by Mary Hanley who was a local District Nurse and midwife in Douglas for over 25 years.  As a midwife, she found many women were socially isolated in their homes and impressed with the ICA movement nationwide, she founded Douglas I.C.A. and during her first term of office the ICA hall was built on Church Rd., opposite the Community Park.  The ICA Hall was very much a community hall, used by lots of different groups in Douglas. 


In the late sixties, many housing estates were built in Douglas over a short period of time in formerly rural areas such as Grange, Donnybrook, and Rochestown.  Douglas became a very sought-after area because of its lovely, established villages in East and West Douglas, its proximity of 2 miles to the city, its many shops and public houses; it was also well serviced by buses to the city.  Added to that, it was on the route to lower harbour areas, Passage, Monkstown and Ringaskiddy, and also to Crosshaven, and Carrigaline.


What was once a semi-rural community, almost overnight became one of the fastest growing suburbs in Cork.  Mary saw that buildings were shooting up everywhere in Douglas, using up every available green space.  In her role as District Nurse, she was very aware of the stresses and strains of women rearing their children without a supportive  community structure, i.e. playing areas, places for the public to walk and enjoy the visual environment.  She was also aware of the elderly who needed support to continue on living in their own homes who would need services such as meals-on-wheels.


There was just one green space left in the heart of Douglas, a 5-acre area known as “The Soccer Pitch” which ran between Douglas East and Douglas West  However, this area was in private ownership, and would have been a prime site for the development of housing estates. Getting this land for public amenity became almost a personal obsession of Mary.


She gathered some like-minded people together, the first, was her good friend Seamus Lucy, who agreed to be first chairman as women weren’t as yet accepted to act in top roles in community organisations, unless they were women-only organisations.  They formed the Douglas Community Association.  In the December 1971 minutes of DCA, the following officers were elected:  Fr. Frank Fehily, Chairperson, Canon Packham, Vice Chairperson, Enda McDonnell, Secretary, Brendan Swanton, Treasurer, Jim Lucey, P.R.O., Jim Ryder, Seamus Lucey and Mary.  Initially their sole aim was to get ‘the last bit of green field in Douglas for the people.’  For almost 9 years, this group of people persisted in trying to get Cork County Council to buy the land, which they eventually did in 1977, when then Manager of Cork County Council, Michael Conlon, purchased the site by Compulsory Purchase Order for the sum of €32,000.  The Council agreed to give DCA a leasehold on this land.  Fund-raising for the Douglas Community Centre started immediately and the Douglas ICA were the springboard for most of the fund-raising activities through use of their hall and their huge voluntary effort, and the centre was completed in 1986.  Mary was given National Person of the Year Award in 1977 in recognition of her service to the community.  She died in 1995 at the age of 73.





Billy Coleman, Chairman of the DCA.

While still a young man in his 30’s, Billy Coleman joined the Douglas Community Association Committee.  Almost 45 years later, Billy is still with us and has been inspirational in the work he has done for the association over the years.  He has performed the chairman for many years, and puts in several hours in the office every day, managing the many services that the association provides.  His devotion to the association and its aims of providing much needed services to the Douglas community is unquestionable.


Billy leads by example and his natural enthusiasm for hard work drives him on,and still goes out every Saturday morning and picks up litter around Douglas; he is very proud of the D
ouglas Tidy Towns committee and is also a member of their sub-committee.


He is an extremely effective chairperson of the association and has earned great respect from the individual committee members who have continued to return him as chairman each year.  Billy has offered many times to retire from this job, but with all the hard work ahead of the committee in fund-raising for our new centre, we need his experience and calm personality to lead us through this process.  Billy is one of two directors of the company Douglas Community Association CLG  (DCA).



Billy Coleman, far left & Mary Hanley, Centre, at the birthday of DCA.

Special presentation to Mary Hanley, founder member of DCA, to mark the ocassion of the association’s Silver Jubilee.





















Nuala Keating pouring tea for the County Mayor.

Nuala Keating is the second director of Douglas Community Association Ltd.  and she started out as a volunteer driver for Meals and Wheels.  She was a driver from 1980-1989.  When asked to join the committee in 1989, Nuala had no intention of becoming Chairperson of the Meals and Wheels committee, but when this role became vacant, Nuala took it on with great spirit and determination, she is still in that role.  She was honoured by Vodaphone and Cork Chamber of Commerce and presented with a “Passion for the World Around us” Award for her service to the community.  Nuala is also Treasurer of the Executive Committee of DCA and has kept meticulous accounts over the years.  Our accounts system is now being computerised and she is well up for the new challenges that poses.







Jim Barry, Chairman of DCA for 12 years.

Jim Barry was chairman of Douglas Community Association for 12 years.  Jim, at this stage of his life, was retired from Irish Distillers.  He lived in Woodview, off Douglas Road with Mary, his wife.  He is survived by his son, Sean McCarthy, and his daughters Jane and Miriam, and his son-in-law, Sean McCarthy.  He had a life-long interest in rugby.  He was a Founder Member of old Christians and a respected referee in his early years.  He was a wonderful public speaker and he made a wonderful contribution to Douglas Community Association.













Stalworths of the Early Years’


Many people volunteered their time and effort to Douglas Community Association over the years, and the following is a list of some of those people.  It is by no means a comprehensive list, and if you have a relative or friend who was involved over the years, please get in touch and give us details of the part they played, and an indication of the time-span that they were involved.



Seamus Lucey Fr. Michael Crowley Eileen Collins Canon Watts
Brendan Swanton Fr. Francis Fehily Enda McDonnell Miles Kerrigan
Tom O’Keeffe Jim Ryder Eithne Frost Ellen King
John Monaghan Mrs. Holland Maureen Hurley Maureen Grimes
Sean Grimes Margaret Elley Canon Packham Margaret Murray
Denis Murray Michael Ford Jim Corr Barry Cogan
Phil Browne Dr. Michael Hyland Eileen Desmond Mr. Jerry Aherne
Vincent Toher Liz Kavanagh Kathleen Minogue Sean Minihan
Evelyn McFehilly Peggy Carroll Pearse Wise Clare Smith
Martin Heffernan Mrs. Shannon Kay Cuthbert Mrs. O’Keeffe
Paul O’Shea Mary Murphy Anne Doolin O’Brien Rose Farrell
Marian Linehan Madge Twohig Patsy Simkin Karen Connolly
Mary Boyle Lucy Marmion Kitty Sherman Joy Saville
Sylvester Cotter Anne Walls Deirdre Forde