The following brief history may be of interest to those who don’t know about the early years of AA and how it came to Ireland in 1946.
Alcoholics Anonymous started in Akron, Ohio in 1935. It spread to Australia in 1943 and an AA group was formed in Sydney. In the same year, an Irishman, Conor F., joined A.A. in Philadelphia, he would become instrumental in bringing AA to Ireland.
Fr. Tom Dunlea, an Irish priest working In Australia, had noticed, and been impressed with the gradual growth and success of the Sydney group. In 1946 he came back to Ireland on holiday and while in Dublin, was asked by the Dublin Evening Mail to give an interview. Not alone did Fr. Tom give an account of his project, but he also spoke at some length on the success of the Sydney group of A.A. It was the first introduction of A.A. to the general public in Ireland.
At about the same time Conor F. was about three years sober, he had travelled to Ireland on holidays along with his wife. She read the Evening Mail article and suggested to him that he might do something about getting AA started in Ireland. While they were holidaying in Derry, he tried to get people interested but was told there were no alcoholics in the North to try the South. In the South he was told that problem drinkers here should join the Pioneers.