50th Anniversary countrywide appeal for Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty Stories, Memorabilia & Support

04 February, 2013

In the year that marks the 50th Anniversary of his death, the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society is reaching out to the county of Kerry and north Cork in seeking assistance in a number of ways i.e., Stories, Memorabilia, Photographs, and for those wishing to support the Memorial Fund, they can do so by becoming Friends or Patrons of the Society.

Chairman of the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society, Jerry O’Grady said, “Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty and his family had strong associations with many parts of Kerry as well as Mungret College in Limerick and of course Kiskeam in North Cork”. 

We hope that there are people throughout Kerry, Limerick and Cork that will have some items of memorabilia associated with the Monsignor, old photographs, letters or books, which we can borrow, copy and return safely to the owners”, he added.  “We have several important Anniversaries to commemorate this year and it would be great if we could add to the items we already have, to help celebrate his early life in Tralee, Kilgarvan and Killarney, his later visits to Cork and of course his time in Rome and finally in Cahersiveen where he died on October 30th 1963”.

Lisrobin – Kiskeam His father, James O'Flaherty from Headford in Co. Galway was a member of the RIC and he served in Glashkinleen, Co Cork from 1885 where he met and in 1897 married his wife, Margaret Murphy from Lisrobin, Kiskeam. Although transferred to Co. Kerry in 1897, in line with the traditions of the time, his wife returned briefly to her mother and family home in 1898 to give birth to their first child, Hugh O’Flaherty.

Tralee: In 1897, Hugh’s father was transferred to Tralee where we understand, they lived in a place called Chapel Lane. His sister Bride was born in Tralee. Around 1900/1901 Hug’s father was transferred to Kilgarvan.

Kilgarvan: We are not sure exactly where the family home was in Kilgarvan but that is where his brother Jim was born (father of Justice Hugh O’Flaherty and of Pearl Dineen who now lives in Cahersiveen). While in Kilgarvan, another sister was born but died very young  and is buried in Kilgarvan.

Killarney: In 1909 James with some persuasion from Margaret resigned from the RIC and applied for and got the post of steward at the old Killarney Golf Course situated at Deer Park. The family lived there for a number of years in what served as their home and the Golf Course Club House (the building still exists today as Bru na Pairce). It is from there that Hugh would have attended The Monastery National School from 1909 to 1914 and for another c.3 years, as a teaching assistant. This is also where he developed his passion and skill as a superb golfer.

Sometime later, James & Margaret bought a pub in Henn St (now called Plunkett St), in the property now operated as O’Leary’s Electrical. This would have been Hugh’s Irish family home throughout most of his early years in Rome. Later in the 1930’s the Pub was signed over to their son Jim, and James & Margaret relocated to a new family home in Mangerton View.

Mungret College Limerick: The Monsignor attended Mungret College from 1918 to 1921 when after securing sponsorship of Bishop O’Reilly of Capetown, South Africa,  which enabled him to travel to Rome to complete his studies for the Priesthood, and was ordained in Rome on December 20th 1925.

Cahersiveen: In 1960, following a series of strokes, the Monsignor retired from his positions in Rome and came back to Ireland to live in the home of his sister Bride who had married Christy Sheehan who had a retail business in the town.  The Monsignor enjoyed his last three years in Cahersiveen in the company of family and friends and he passed away peacefully on October 30th 1963, - some 6 months after he had travelled to London to participate in a BBC “This is Your Life” special with Eamon Andrews, which celebrated the life of Lt. Col Sam Derry, the Monsignor’s Head of Operations in the Rome Escape Line.

We Need Your Help

With plans to create a library of O’Flaherty Memorabilia for future generations to appreciate, the Memorial Society is anxious to hear from anyone who may have had a relative or friend that was acquainted with the Monsignor and his family and who may be in possession of items of memorabilia such as photographs, letters or other personal items connected with Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty. 

As required, photographs and documents will be carefully scanned and the originals returned safely to the owners. Enquiries or offers of materials should be directed to Jerry O’Grady, Chairman Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society, 2nd Floor TIO, Beech Road, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland  - Tel: 064 6637928 or e-mail [email protected]