About Us


The Aisling (pronounced Ash-ling) Society traces its origins to 1954, when three friends gathered at Pfahlert’s Hotel in Margaret Street: Mary Hegarty, a classical scholar and teacher, Brian McGrath, a distinguished Sydney lawyer, and Fr Nicholas McNally. They shared a love of Ireland, of literature and history and of learning generally, and they decided to form a society devoted to those interests.

The name they chose, “Aisling”, is an Irish word meaning a dream or vision. The Aisling poems and songs were a phenomenon of the “hidden Ireland” of the eighteenth century, helping to keep alive among Irish people a knowledge of the past, a pride in their heritage and a hope for the future.

On 16 March 1955, the inaugural meeting of the Aisling Society of Sydney was held, a constitution adopted and office-bearers elected. The first ordinary meeting was held in April 1955, and a talk was given by one of the society’s first great characters, James A Meagher. In every year since then, the society has hosted monthly talks on the fourth Wednesday of each month, on a wide range of subjects. Go to PAST TALKS for more.

For more on the history of The Aisling Society, download our PDF here.

To read the Aisling Society Constitution download our PDF here.

Our 2018 Annual Report

Our 2017 Annual Report

Our 2016 Annual Report

Our 2015 Annual Report

Our 2014 Annual Report

Our 2013 Annual Report

Our 2012 Annual Report

Our 2011 Annual Report

Our 2010 Annual Report

Our 2009 Annual Report

Our 2008 Annual Report

Our 2007 Annual Report

Our 2006 Annual Report

Our 2005 Annual Report

Our 2004 Annual Report

Our 2003 Annual Report

Our 2002 Annual Report

Our 2001 Annual Report

For reports prior to 2001, please contact the Archivist, Peter Gray SC.