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Michael McKenna R.I.P.

Michael was a hard working and kind-hearted person, who endeared himself with everyone with whom he came in contact. He was described as a ‘gentle gentleman’ and that was an accurate description. He was full of humour and wit and carried on the old Irish traditions of ceiliing and story telling. In company he was a breath of fresh air and could liven up any party with his stories and quick wit. His door was always open for visitors and there were always people calling. Inside his house there was something rare and he loved showing it to those who called. When the house was being constructed two centuries previously, a now very famous well was encased in a wooden cup-board like surround in the rear wall of the kitchen. There was a constant flow of fresh, cold and clear spring water passing through that well which had an overflow if the water was not being used. However there was no carrying the water from a well some distance from the house – there was always a supply on hand there in the kitchen.

Enda Keenan told me about this phenomenon and we arranged to meet there and have Michael show me the famous well. It was fascinating and Michael was in his element as he showed it to me and how it worked. Of course the conversation moved on from the well to many other topics and an intended short visit became an extended, amusing and very enjoyable long visit.

It is sad to recall that the welcome that was always at the door of Michael’s home was also to play a major role in the final years of his life. A burglary which took place in his home a few years ago frightened him terribly and weighed heavily on Michael’s mind afterwards. That attack and theft caused him to lose that sense of security and peace in his home, and this, the family would claim, took a severe toll on his health and well-being. It is an indictment of our present society that the aged, and especially those living alone, can be so exposed to the senseless invasion of their privacy, which leaves them anxious, nervous and apprehensive in their declining years.

Michael loved hunting and football and was an ardent Scotstown supporter all his life. He loved the open fields and the scenery that is so close to nature in the region of his home. Bragan Mountains was a place dear to him, both for its beauty and also for the turf which he saved there every year. He was an expert on the cutting, handling and saving of turf and it would be interesting to hear his views on current plans to prohibit people from cutting turf in bogs. He was also involved with his brother Owen in the erection of the Penal Cross in Bragan.

His main work was in Pattons Mills but he was a devoted and keen farmer and had extensive knowledge of farming and livestock. Indeed many came to him for advice and he shared his knowledge freely and willingly with all. He was a great neighbour who was always prepared to lend a hand when help was needed. He was also religious and had a deep faith. It was the faith, as handed down through generations, and one that framed his actions and deeds in life.

Michael was predeceased by his first wife Mary-Ann Mohan and his second wife Dolly Lynch, 2 brothers, and 7 sisters. He leaves to mourn his passing his daughter, Mary Kelly, son Eugene McKenna, grand-children, great grand child, his brother Owen McKenna, daughter-in-law Anna McKenna, nieces, nephews and cousins. To them we offer our sincere sympathies on their loss.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam naofa.

It is with regret that we record the death of Michael McKenna (Mickey Jamie as he was fondly known). Michael was born, reared and lived his life in Golan townland and was the fifth generation of McKenna’s in that home. He was born on the 16/6/1916, and died on the 16th, 3 months prior to his 94th birthday. He was a very popular character in the surrounding area and much wider afield too. His remains reposed at his home until removal to St. Patrick’s Church Corracrin and during that time the huge numbers who called to pay their respects and offer condolences was proof of the high esteem with which he was held in the region and beyond. Again a huge crowd attended his Requiem Mass and burial on March 18th and this was further recognition of his popularity and high regard in his own and wider communities. Fr. Hubert Martin, PP of Donagh, was the celebrant of the Mass and spoke very warmly and amiably of the deceased in his homily.