Death of Rev Dr Padraig MacGowan

Death of Rev Dr Padraig MacGowan

Fr. Padraig who died suddenly on February 13th 2015, in his 75th year left the whole community stunned when they learnt of his sudden and untimely death. He was a native of Newtownforbes and came to the parish here in 1987 after 16 years in Athlone RTC as it was then known. Before that he spent some time working in Galway with the Marriage Tribunal group. He was our first Parish Priest and the last ADM in Shrule parish. Fr. Padraig was an inherently shy man, an intellectual, with extensive educational qualifications that he would never dwell on or tell parishioners about. It took time to get to know him and see beyond the stern exterior of a man with the pressure of looking after a parish on his mind. In a less formal setting, his company was positively engaging and enjoyable where he could hold lengthy conversation over a cup of coffee and a scone debating the topics of the day. But his real strengths would come to the fore in times of joy or grief, his hours of preparation for a glorious occasion – a wedding or christening, and the care he showed families in time of sorrow. He had the ability to always hit the right note in his sermon that would resonate with the entire congregation. The unseen hours he spent in preparation paid off in spades, as his kindness and dedication is something remembered by all involved in such occasions. He was a very caring pastor as those who received his help in times of sickness and ill health always testify to how understanding he was and the many unobtrusive hours he spent at their side was of great comfort. A tireless worker for the parish, particularly the schools, his ability to recall the names of all the students set him apart from many other adults who were amazed at this talent. He was a forward-thinking man with his welcoming attitude to parish newcomers, be they from Ireland or abroad. He was a pioneer of the regular Polish Mass, something greatly appreciated by the newcomers to the area. He often greeted them in their languages if the occasion arose. He was a great lover of music and drama. As a student in St. Mel’s College he was the pianist in the Ceili Band, Fr. John Quinn was a violinist and Fr. Gerry Macaulay was the director. All three served in Ballymahon. His love of music continued in Ballymahon and was a member of the Innyside Singers in its earlier years. He loved joining with the Church choir in as many ceremonies as possible, but the Exultet on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday was for him the epitome of his faith as the celebration of the resurrection takes place. Bhi anghra aige freisean d’ar dteanga duchais, bhi an t-Aifreann i nGaeilge aige gach La Fheila Padraig. He was a man of deep faith who spent hours in prayer and solitude. The removal of Fr. Padraig’s remains were brought to St. Matthews church on Tuesday evening last week where a Guard of Honour, from the Presbytery down to the church was formed by pupils from the local schools and many parishioners, a Guard of Honour was also formed following the Funeral Mass on Wednesday. His coffin was carried in to the Church by six local parishioners also. He was received in the church by his good friend and fellow-Clonguish man, Fr. Tom Barden who actually served as a 12 year old at Fr. Padraig’s first Mass back in 1965. He paid a glowing tribute to his friend, they had often done relief for one another in Ballymahon and Kenagh. He spoke about his love of reading and music and that he always enjoyed going to Choral concerts. He told us of Fr. Padraig’s love to travel and his interest in foreign languages. The Polish community here loved him just as he loved them. He said that Fr. Padraig died as he lived, quietly, in communion with God. Following the Removal an all-night Vigil was held in the Church. A huge number of people attended right throughout the night, not just from this area but also from outside Parishes. Refreshments were kindly served to the McGowan family and also to those who attended the Removal, at St. Matthews National School where Fr. Padraig dropped in almost on a daily basis to chat to the young children who were all very fond of him. The Funeral Mass on Wednesday afternoon was concelebrated by Bishop Francis Duffy, together with Bishop Brendan Kelly, Bishop Emeritus Colm O’Reilly and up to sixty priests. Mgr. Patrick Earley gave the Homily and spoke of his long friendship with Fr. Padraig since he was a young child and of how helpful he had been to him when he needed a friend. Among the gifts brought to the Altar were a photo of Fr. Padraig’s parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary, the words of Handel’s Messiah which he never failed to attend each year, it was his favourite piece of music, also his Stole and Oils, his Brievary and his Thesis. The Church Choir who sang beautifully, directed by Mary Clancy, with organist Padraig McGowan, were joined by some members of the Innyside Singers on the day. Students from the Mercy Secondary School where Fr. Padraig was the Chaplain, played some lovely hymns and singing solo was Emer Barry with accompanist Fintan Farrelly and also Emer McGowan, Fr. Padraig’s sister. At the end of the Mass, Carmel Kelly retired N.T. spoke on behalf of the people of the Parish and as a good friend, she paid glowing tributes to our Parish Priest of 28 years who was to celebrate his 50th Anniversary this coming June, of how dedicated he was to his work as a priest and how fortunate we were to have him with us. Fr. Krystoff spoke on behalf of our growing Polish Community thanking Fr. Padraig for making himself and the polish people welcome in the area. His niece, Lorna Quinn of Fair City and Love/Hate fame spoke with fondness of her uncle, of the help and guidance he gave to her and to all his nieces and nephews when they were growing up. His brother Enda, finished by telling the congregation about how Fr. Padraig always loved attending the many family celebrations down the years, he was a frequent visitor to their homes and took a great interest in their lives. Ballymahon he said, was Fr. Padraig’s home and he was always proud to have been part of the community here. On behalf of the McGowan family he thanked everyone in the Parish who had a part to play in the organising of the Refreshments, Parking and the Funeral Services on both days making the sad occasion easier for them. The Church overflowed on both days with hundreds of mourners, many of whom travelled long distances, each of them having their own fond memories of Fr. Padraig. Many tears were shed, by young and old, which showed the huge impact he had on their lives. His remains were laid to rest with his parents Paddy and Bridie in Newtownforbes Cemetery. We send our prayers and deepest sympathy to his sisters Maura, Rheda, Imelda and Emer, brothers Enda, Tony and Gerard, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, relatives, Bishop Francis Duffy, the priests of the diocese, all his parishioners and many friends. He will be greatly missed and leaves a legacy of a recently renovated Church to a grateful flock. Ne bheidh a leitheid aris ann. May he rest in peace. Bacat, et videte quoniam ego sum Deus Be at peace, see that I am God Exaltabor in gentibus, et exaltabor in terra. I triumph over nations: I triumph over the world Dominus virtutem nobiscum: The Lord of hosts is with us: Susceptor noster Deus Jacob. Our protector is the God of Jacob. (Many thanks to Carmel Kelly who contributed to some of the above).

Launch of new Poetry Book

Congratulations to Valerie Masters, St. Matthews Park who will be launching a new book in association with Lapwing Publications called “Conversations in the Dark” in Ballymahon Library on Thursday March 5th at 7.30p.m. Everyone welcome. We wish Valerie the very best of luck with the new book of poems.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

A new committee has been formed and a number of meetings have now been held to organize the Ballymahon St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2015. In order for the parade to be a success it is vital that it is supported by local businesses, community groups, schools and the people of the town. The Theme of this year’s Parade is the World Wide Web. This theme was chosen to coincide with the launch, on St. Patrick’s Day, of Ballymahon’s Development Committee new web site, The Parade will start at 4.00p.m. and as usual will start down at the Creevaghbeg road. There are 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes for Best Float and bearing in the mind the Theme is very broad, floats should be as colourful as possible. So come on everybody, let’s get 2015 off to a good start with a great parade on St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Remember it’s your town. So if you are in a position to support the parade, please do. You can do so by entering a Float, supporting the Table Quiz or simply volunteering to help out on the day.

Tenth Anniversary

Congratulations to Gerry and Sinead Kiernan who will be celebrating their 10th Anniversary in “Kiernans Pub” on Friday night next, 27th February from 9.00p.m. There will be lots of good music on the night with T.R. Dallas heading the bill, also The Blackguards, The Request, Nite Owls, Ita, Pauric Campbell, 3 Tops, The Ramblers and Evan O’Donnell. Lots of Spot Prizes on the night, also Finger food. A great night’s entertainment is guaranteed. We wish Gerry and Sinead the best of luck in the years ahead.


There will be Storytelling for young children in Ballymahon Library on Saturday next, 28th February at 11.30a.m. All welcome. Please ring the Library at 09064-32546 to book your place and to avoid disappointment.

Job Vacancies

Carrickedmond/Legan C.E. have the following vacancies: a number of environmental positions due to start between now and April 15th. Job Reference 887925. To check eligibility and to apply please call into the Intreo Offices, D.S.P. Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford. S.D.P. eligibility/conditions apply.

Death of Mrs Una Cooney

The death occurred on 18th February of Mrs Una Cooney (nee Beggie), Mullingar at Cluain Lir Centre, in her 103rd year. Una is pre-deceased by her husband, Christy, native of Ballymahon, who passed away 40 years ago. She was the Matron at St. Loman’s Hospital in Mullingar for a long number of years. Una and Christy were regular visitors to Ballymahon down the years visiting all their relations here. We extend our deepest sympathy to her relatives Hilda, Dessie and Rosie, the Cooney family, Ballymahon and to all her relatives and friends. May God grant rest to her Soul.

School enrolment

Forgney National School Enrolment for 2015/2016 will take place at the school between March 2nd and March 13th. Please call to the school or phone 09064 52659.

Lent 2015

Are you wondering what you could do for Lent! Would you consider joining the local Prayer Group on Thursday nights 8-9p.m. held at the Sisters of Mercy residence. You are invited to come and see if this type of prayer suits you.

Innyside Singers

Will continue their weekly sessions in Skelly’s on Thursday night from 8.00p.m. to 9.30p.m. Last weeks session was cancelled as a mark of respect to Fr. Padraig, who was a member of the group many years ago. R.I.P. If you would like to join the group, who sing together for fun, why not go along. They are presently preparing for a Concert which is to be held in May 2015 for our visitors from Landevant/Laundaul in France, so everyone’s attendance each week is very important. Everyone welcome, male and female.

Gurteen & area Environment group

The annual Springtime road verge clean up for Ledwithstown, Ardohill, Gurteen, Barnacor and Shrule including Ethra and Derry will take place on Saturday 28th February and Sunday 1st March. This will start each day at 10.30a.m. meeting at Gurteen working until 1.00p.m. approx. This has been a great success running for the past two years and all volunteer support is greatly appreciated. Please wear a high-visibility vest or coat if you can and a pair of good working gloves. Drivers, please drive with extra care when in the area. For more information please call Paul on 087-6390809.

Social Dancing

Continues every Saturday night from 9p.m. to 11.00 p.m. in Cooney’s Hotel. Everyone is welcome to attend. You don’t have to have a partner to go along, there are lots of Dancers there. Admission is just €5.

School Re-Union

Plans are underway to have a re-union of Ballymahon Convent Secondary School Class of 1970 to 1975. Dolores Power is one of the main organisers for this 40 year re-union which will be held in Cooneys Hotel, so if you are one of the sixty or so pupils from those years please pencil in a provisional date for Saturday, June 20th. If you wish to attend please e-mail or

Eucharistic Adoration

Presently the organisers are trying to recruit new members to spend one hour/half hour on Tuesdays before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in St. Matthews Church. Lent is a good time to start. Think about it.

Table Quiz

Ballymahon/Forgney Community Games are holding a fund-raising Table Quiz in Kiernan’s pub, Main Street on Thursday, 26th February at 8.30p.m. Tables of 4. Please support.


Weekday Masses in St. Matthews Church during Lent will now be at 10a.m. instead of 9.30a.m.

“Too close to home”

Newtowncashel Drama Group will be performing the comedy “Too close to home” on the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th March in The Hill, Newtowncashel. To book your ticket please call 086-2521536. A ticket only policy is being operated to avoid overcrowding or cramped seating. Tickets are €10. €5 for primary school children.

Spanish classes

The Longford Westmeath Argentina Society presents Spanish for Beginners in Cooneys Hotel commencing tonight, Wednesday, February 25th from 8p.m. to 9.30p.m. for 6 weeks. Fees: €50 for members, €60 for non-members. Tutor – Ms Una Byrne B.A. H.D.E. with a special interest in Spanish and Latin American culture. Contact Mary at 086-8370397 today. (bring a pen and notebook.

Death of Mrs Mary Ann Rock

Our deepest sympathy is extended to Eddie, Gerard and Johnnie Rock, Coolvin, Tang on the death last week of their mother Mary Ann in her 91st year, pre-deceased by her husband Edward and daughter Bernadette (Moran). May she rest in peace.

Sigerson Cup winners

Congratulations to Rory Connor, son of Tommy and Collette, Kenagh and to Daithi Mulvihill, Lanesboro, both past pupils of Ballymahon Mercy Secondary School who were part of the D.C.U. football team who won the Sigerson Cup Final at the weekend defeating UCC after extra time played in the Mardyke, also to Michael Quinn, Killoe who was part of the winning squad. Well done to you all.

U-21 football

We wish the best of luck to the Longford U-21 football team when they play Wicklow in the first round of the U-21 football Championship on Wednesday evening in Newtowncashel.

Forgney G.A.A. Lotto

The following are the winners of the monthly Forgney G.A.A. lotto draw: Numbers drawn 5, 8, 9, 15. No Jackpot winner. €30 consolation prizes - Patrick Lloyd and Ballymahon G.A.A.

Death of Mrs Frances Lennon

The death occurred on 19th February of Mrs Frances Lennon, (nee McDonagh), Currycreaghan, Carrickedmond, a quiet and hard-working lady, who was highly resepected in the local farming community. We offer our deepest sympathy to Frances’s sons Joe and Gerard, daughter Bernie, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, grandchildren and to all her relatives and friends. May she rest in peace.

The Late Late Show

Looking very well on R.T.E.’s Late Late Show on Friday 13th February was John McGee, Creevaghbeg for the special Valentines Day edition. We hope John enjoyed the event

Adoration Vigil

The next Reparation and Adoration vigil to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary is in the Chapel of Our Lady’s Manor, Edgeworthstown on the first Friday, 6th March commencing at 10p.m. with the Holy Rosary and Confession followed by Mass in reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Vigil concludes after Benediction and the 6.00a.m. Mass. This is a wonderful opportunity to pray, do penance in this holy season of Lent, and to spend the night in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. All are welcome. For further information contact 086-0405621 or 086-1900640.