The circumstances surrounding the actual formation of the Bohemians are obscure. Such evidence as exists indicates the time as being not later than 1878.
The consensus is that it came into being mainly as a result of the efforts of Harry White who was its President until 1901.
Closely associated with Harry in the foundation were, amongst others, John Byrne and George Matthews. Tradition has it that the earliest meetings were held in Corless’s Restaurant on the corner of Temple Lane and Suffolk Street.
By 1894, the earliest year for which written records are available, The Bohemians were apparently well established and seem to have been functioning in much the same way as they do today.
The weekly concerts were held on Tuesdays; the Chairman of each week was succeeded by his Vice Chairman the following week. Non performing membership was then confined to 80 persons but performers were not subject to restriction in numbers provided they would entertain publicly by singing, dramatic performance or some other form of entertainment.
In general, its form and the nature of its activities have hardly changed at all. The Club’s activities, both social and musical, are a response to fundamental needs of the people whom it serves and those who followed the founders had the good sense to realise this, and that the formula in its essentials should be preserved unchanged.
That this was possible is attributable in considerable measure to the fact that order and decorum at the weekly concerts became an established and widely known feature of them. This was achieved by the simple ritual, the allocation of the Chairman of prime responsibility for the preservation of order and to the evolution of traditions in this regard making such standards sacred and any departure from them a matter of abhorrence.
The Bohemians continue to meet to this day on a weekly basis during their annual season.
Source: Extracts taken from “The Bohemians 1878 – 1978 The First Hundred Years” by the late Desmond Doyle, Past President, Life Member and former Honorary Secretary.