Within Ireland has always been a class of educated intellectuals who actively explored mysticism in both the Eastern and Western Occult traditions. This class often overlapped into commonly known poets, painters, Irish Nationalists and profound thinkers in Irish culture. The Theosophical Society (TS), as a non-sectarian organization was attractive to this group of seekers.
The TS is part of the occult tradition. In this sense, occult is used in its original meaning as “hidden.” It’s the opposite of apocalypse, which means “revealed.” The TS was founded in New York City in 1875 by Russian mystic Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-91), American Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907), and Dublin born immigrant William Q. Judge (1851-96). Blavatsky claimed she had contact with the “mahatmas.” These were evolved beings who participated in the divine plan for all ages. She was their messenger to deliver the Ancient Wisdom tradition to a modern audience. Her most influential books Isis Unveiled (1877) and The Secret Doctrine (1888), would inform generations of occult thinkers. They would also help birth the modern New Age Movement. The TS would help initiate a Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and many of its members were linked with the Indian Independence Movement.
Many of the early Theosophists were Irish born. In 1885, the Dublin Hermetic Society was founded. The next year it would be replaced by a Theosophical Lodge. A Theosophical commune located in Dublin was known as “The Household” (1891-96): www.robotwisdom.com/jaj/household.html Members published The Irish Theosophist (1892-97): www.theosophycanada.com/irish-theosophist.php
There are two main branches of the original TS society. The Theosophical Society, headquartered in Chadyr, India: www.ts-adyar.org and the Theosophical Society in America: www.theosophical.org Both have libraries and old record collections. An independent organization is The Theosophical Society in Ireland: http://theosophy.ie