Freeman's Journal 14 Jan 1879
“We regret to announce the death, at his residence in Ennis, on the 12th instant, of the Very Rev. Dean
Kenny, who had just entered upon his 88th year. Apart from his other claims to public notice, the fact that Dean Kenny was sixty-four years a priest, and the oldest Vicar-General in Ireland, if not in Europe, would excuse us for dwelling upon his life...[He] was born in the city of Limerick early in the January of 1792. Through his father, who had only recently settled, and who soon removed back to his old home near Ennis, he was widely and respectably connected in Ennis, while he numbered among his maternal relatives more than one family of local note. He received careful early training...In 1808 he was sent to Maynooth by Dr. O'Shaughnessy, Bishop of Killaloe, who had only a few years before succeeded the grand-uncle of the present ruler of France, Dr. Peter McMahon...[H]e was ordained in 1814, and was appointed the curacy of Kilmihill...Between 1816 and 1818 he was P.P. of Ogonoloe, a small, but beautifully situated, parish on the shores of Lough Derg. At the close of the latter year, he was appointed Parish Priest of Tulla, a Vicar-General, and Master of Conference for the decanate of Killaloe. He used to describe his earlier years in Tulla as the quietest and happiest of his life. Later on the bitterness produced by the Brunswick Clubs and other exciting causes disturbed the calmness of the short lull between two eventful epochs. On the eve of the Clare election he was transferred to Kilrush, supposed, through the influence of the Vandeleur family, to be one of the strongholds of Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald. How the hopes of the Protestant party were destroyed is now a matter of history, but it is not so well known that the energy and prudence of Dean Kenny contributed largely to the victory of O'Connell.
During the twenty years of his management of Kilrush his name was a household word in West Clare...His exertions during the famine years were recorded in more than one report especially those of Captain Hall, and were fully appreciated by another observer better known to the reading public, the late Charles Lever. Before his appointment to Ennis, in 1848, in succession to Dean O'Shaughnessy, he had competed the fine parish church of Kilrush...For almost 30 years as P.P of Ennis and Dean of Killaloe, he held the most prominent position in the diocese, and exercised wide influence outside its limits. He took an active part in the Synod of Thurles, in which his wide learning and his rare acquaintance with the condition of the Irish Church met a general recognition. But it was at home he left his most enduring mark. He founded the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy, one of the most exquisite Elizabethan buildings in Ireland, and lived to see the community send out colonies of religious to America, Australia, and New Zealand. He established the fine schools of the Christian Brothers, which were endowed by the noble generosity of his sister, the late Miss Kenny...[H]is general accomplishments, especially antiquarian lore, attracted a still wider circle. It was a subject of constant regret to his friends that he had never embodied in permanent form the large mass of local tradition he had carefully collected in his youth and increased through many years of learned research...
posted by Sharon Carberry USA
Bishop John Kenny of Ennis, 1879 obit
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