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This is the second and final part of the interview with Molly Hartin.

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Death of Mr Lorcan Kiernan

The People Newspaper, Wexford, January 1977

A legion of friends and acquaintances, deeply mourn the death of Mr Lorcan Kiernan, “Loma”, Newtown Road, Wexford, which occurred at Ely Hospital, Wexford, on Thursday of last week.

Lorcan Kiernan at his desk, County Hall, Wexford

Lorcan Kiernan at his desk, County Hall, Wexford

Aged 48 years, Mr Kiernan was born in Dublin. He was son of the late Peter and Ellen Kiernan, and lived in Enniscorthy. He was a student of the local Christian Brothers’ schools. He commenced work in the County Hall, Wexford as clerical officer, with the County Council 30 years ago.

He first worked in the Housing section, then following a period in the Morter Taxation office, General Purposes, Rates, and he had been Housing Officer for 18 years.

In 1956 he was promoted to Staff Officer, and here he proved himself to be a most capable and able officer.

He served in various capacities, on the Officer Board and the Committee of the Wexford Branch of the Local Government and Public Services Union.

In 1965, he secured the Diploma in Local Administration of the Institute of Public Administration.

Mr Kiernan had a great interest in history, and when in Enniscorthy was secretary of the Local National Monuments Advisory Committee, working in close co-operation with that wonderful historian, the late Rev Joseph Ransome.

He found that the Wexford County Council Staff’s Social Club and took an active part in the social and charitable activities of the group.

Many times he visited the hospitals in Wexford and Enniscorthy, with the County Hall carol singers and around Christmas time this year he was rewarded when the singers came to the gate of his residence to cheer him with songs and hymns traditional of the festive season.

Lorcan was a leading member of the County Hall, “Tops of the Town” group and was well known for his performances in drama and variety shows in Dun Mhuire, with his equally gifted colleague Billy Ringwood. He wrote many brilliant scripts for the variety shows and on a couple of occasions he helped his group to carry off the premiere award. Last year the group reached the all Ireland “Tops of the Town” semi-final, and on that occasion, the great comedy team of Lorcan Kiernan and Billy Ringwood played in a brilliant sketch entitled “Electionitis”.

One great love in the late Mr Kiernan’s life was acting. At the age of seventeen he founded the “St Patrick Players” in Enniscorthy, and produced many plays, the proceeds of which went to the CBS Building Fund. These plays usually entertained the patients of St John’s Hospital.

He was president of the Wexford Parish Drama Group for the past four years and was an active member for many years previously, participating in several drama festivals. For some years he did the make up of the Wexford Light Opera Society.

Mr Kiernan was a lovable character, kind and unassuming and was greatly devoted to his wife and family to whom numerous friends offer sympathy on the severe blow they have sustained.

Lorcan and Mairín with their first born, Lorcan, in Arklow 1956

Lorcan and Mairín with their first born, Lorcan, in Arklow 1956

There was an extremely large attendance at the removal of the remains to the church of the Immaculate Conception, Wexford. Rev Denis Doyle, CC, Rev John O’Brien, St Peters College, and Rev W. Howell, do., officiated.

Mass of The Resurrection was celebrated on Saturday by Rev Fr Doyle. Amongst the other clergy in attendance were – very Rev Declan Cleary, PP, Castelbridge, very Rev Seamus de Bhal, PP, Oulart; Rev Michael Funge, CC; Rev P O’Brien, SPC, and Rev H Sinnott, CC Caim.

The readings were taken by Billy Ringwood, County Hall, and Tomas Murray of the Wexford Parish Drama Group.

Interment took place afterwards, in St Ibar’s Cemetery, Crosstown.

Chief mourners – Mrs. Mairin Kiernan, (widow); Lorcan, Peter, Timmy, Colm, Giliosa, (children); Mrs Dympna Doyle, 25 St John’s Villas, Enniscorthy (sister); Padge Kiernan, London; Seamus Kiernan, Dublin (brothers); Mr and Mrs Timothy Kennedy, Arklow (parents in law); Mark Doyle, Thomas Kennedy, USA, John Grogan, USA, Maurice Byrne, and Noel Gavin (brothers in law); sister Nuala Kennedy, Mercy Order, Coolach, Dublin; sister Caroline Kennedy, Mercy Order, Goldenbridge, Dublin. Mrs Aideen Gavin, Longford; Mrs Maurice Byrne, Templeogue, Dublin, Mrs Padge Kiernan, London (sister is in law); uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and other relatives.

Rev Denis Doyle CC officiated at the graveside, and many other clergy were in attendance. RIP.

An Appreciation

To some men is given the capacity, temperament and personality to enrich our lives simply by their friendship. They are good to know and a joy to have as a friend. Such a man was Lorcan Kiernan.

One outstanding quality of life which endures above all others is good humour, and God bestowed Lorcan with this great quality and generous measure. Add to this an equal measure of loyalty, humanity and an amazing artistic talent, and the total person. That was Lorcan comes into focus. To all who knew him well these wonderful qualities made him stimulating companion and a loyal friend.

Lorcan had another profoundly attractive asset – he never grew up, and never lost his incredible sense of boyhood fun. When the occasion demanded seriousness, Lorcan had to work at it.

During his memorable years in the County Hall, while the rest of us pondered, frowned and worried over work problems, Lorcan instantly saw the inherent humour in them, adopted a light-hearted approach to their solution and then proceeded to solve the problem with an elegance that few could match. To his quick-fire mind, and with his unique descriptive talents, a programme of work became a military operation, a mundane occurrence was material for instant wit, a simple episode became an hilarious adventure. He had a startling capacity to argue, but none to quarrel.

Outside of his working life, to the people of Wexford, Lorcan will probably be best remembered for his talents on the stage. Excelling in either drama or a variety, a fierce love for the stage which he developed in his boyhood years never faltered and for many years he was the powerhouse of St Patrick’s Players, Enniscorthy and subsequently, Wexford Parish Drama Group.

In recent years, his priorities for his family and his profession left him insufficient time to devote to the dramatic stage, but he continued to delight Wexford audiences in his inimitable fashion. As an outstanding performer in “Tops of the Town” and variety shows, invariably performing for charitable causes. His reward was the roars of laughter from a packed Dun Mhuire Hall, which was heady wine to him.

His death in the fullness of life has left all who knew him well with a profound sense of personal loss. Above all, our hearts are with his wife, Mairin, and his family, who mourn him as a gifted husband and father but who must rejoice that they knew and loved him during the previous years.

I know you would want his final curtain call to resound with the words of the immortal Bard whose works he loved and interpreted so well:

Now cracks and noble heart, Goodnight, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Ar dheis De go raigh a anam dilis.

– BR  [Billy Ringwood]

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In December 2007 Mary Duffy sent me the following inquest report into the death of Patrick McCarthy, my great great grandfather – and Mary’s great grandfather. He was also my father’s great-grandfather, on his mother’s side.

Northern Standard Saturday 25th of June 1890

Fatal accident at the Cathedral

Wednesday evening – at half past four – death of respectable, quiet and inoffensive workman named McCarty – constantly employed as a mason at the building for the past 25 years. Deceased was 52, and leaves behind a widow and nine children to mourn him. Much sympathy for a wife and family who have lost a most affectionate and thoughtful husband and father and who are in consequence, left in a very miserable and helpless condition.

It appears that McCarthy was engaged with another man named Conlon on a partly erected scaffold, about 11ft high, holding up planks to a third workman who was on a platform higher up again over where, they were standing. An open space in the centre of the scaffold and which they stood was left for the purpose of passing up planks through, and it appears that McCarthy, while in the act of assisting to raise one of them to the man above triped on one lying at his feet and fell through the aperture. Conlan made an attempt to catch McCarthy as he fell, and in consequence, he too was precipitated to the ground, but his feet touched the ground first, and he was uninjured. McCarthy’s head struck the ground first, and on an alarm being raised, it was found that he was fatally injured.

St.Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan

St.Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan

Express messages were dispatched at once by the doctor and the clergy. Both arrived while the poor man was breathing and remained with him until steps were taken to have him removed to the county infirmary. He expired, however, before reaching that institution.

The Inquest

On Thursday morning at half past eleven, Dr Stewart, coronor for the Northern Division of Co Monaghan, held an inquest. Mr DC Rushe solicitor attended the inquest on behalf of the most Rev Dr Donnelly. Mrs Elizabeth McCarthy was sworn and stated: I am wife of the deceased. He was employed working at the cathedral. He was a mason. On Wednesday morning he left to be in the cathedral at seven o’clock. He returned at nine o’clock is breakfast. He was then in good health. After taking his breakfast he left. I never saw him alive again. He was about 52 years old.

John Doran was the next witness examined. He stated: I am clerk of works at the cathedral. I knew deceased Patrick McCarthy. He was employed here it as a mason. He was at his work on Wednesday. Part of the day he was working at Mason work, but from about 11 o’clock in the day he was engaged in putting up scaffolding. There were four others with them. I was on the scaffold with him and was assisting with the work. I was working with my back to the deceased. The scaffold was about 11 feet from the ground. At about four o’clock in the evening I heard some of the men shout suddenly. I could not say whether it was the deceased that shouted. I turned quickly around and deceased was just striking the ground as my eyes caught him. I am almost sure that his temple struck the ground first. No portion of the scaffold broke our gave way. The men were engaged in sheeting, the scaffold at the time of the accident. None of the plank fell with him. Nothing fell, nothing broke. He was in the act of sheeting at the time .

Hugh Gormley stated: I remember Wednesday last I was working in the cathedral that day as a labourer. I was employed at putting up a scaffold along with others. I knew Patrick McCarthy. He was also assisting at putting up the scaffold. I was higher platform – about 6 feet higher than the one the deceased was on. Patrick Conlon and the deceased were engaged in passing up a plank to me. This was about four in the evening. While they were doing so, the deceased tripped by some means on the edge of the plank and fell towards Conlon. Conlan endeavoured to catch deceased could not hold him. He fell between the planks and Conlon fell after him. I think by the way deceased fell, his head struck the ground first. Conlan fell on his feet. He was not hurt. When I got down from the scaffold deceased was bleeding from the temple and the nostrils. He was not dead at the time. He was breathing. (Note: Conlan gave similar evidence).

Dr Teevan was sworn and stated: At about a quarter to five in the evening in question, a boy came to my house telling me to come immediately to the cathedral, that a man had fallen and was injured. I went at once and I found the injured man lying in a room in the cathedral. He was on his back on the floor. He was alone at the time and presented the appearance of compression of the brain. There was a small cut on the frontal bone and another at the angle of the eye. There was no bleeding from the nostrils as far as I could see. His breathing was stentorious. The pupils were both dilated. The eyelids were closed, and he was completely unconscious. I would say death resulted from compression of the brain due to fracture at the base of the skull. I had deceased carried to the county infirmary. I understand he died before he reached the place.

The jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased Patrick McCarthy had died of a fracture of the skull following a fall from a scaffold on the 22nd of June 1890. This concluded the inquest.

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5 April 2005

Provided by Lorcan Kiernan from the family Bible, bought in the USA, and handed down by Patsy Kiernan, Letrim Dring.

MARRIAGES

Pat Kiernan and Rose Kiernan 2nd Feb. 1888

Micheal Sheils and Mary F Kiernan 2nd Mar. 1917

Peter Kiernan and Nellie Treanor 18th Feb. 1925

Dan Reilly and Rose A Kiernan

Laurence Kiernan and Maggie Cosgrave 26th June 1946

Laurence M Kiernan and Mairin Kennedy 11th Oct. 1955

Patrick Kiernan and Marie Cleere

Mark Doyle and Dympna Kiernan 7th Oct. 1972

BIRTHS

Mary A Kiernan 12th June 1885

Patrick J Kiernan 15th Aug. 1887

Mary Frances Kiernan 19th Dec 1889 (Pat)

Patrick Kiernan 2nd Dec. 1890 do

Laurence Kiernan 18th Mar. 1893 do

James Kiernan 31st Aug. 1895 do

Peter Kiernan 29th June 1898 do

Rose A Kiernan 27th July 1901 do

Matteaw Shiels 6th May 1919

Patrick Sheils 5th Sept. 1921

Rose Anne Sheils 25th Feb. 1920

Patrick Kiernan 6th Jan. 1926 (Peter )

James Kiernan 6th Jan. 1926 do

Laurence P M Kiernan 2nd May 1928 do

Dympna Mary Kiernan 9th Oct. 1931 do

Mary F Sheil Dec. 1930

Kathleen Reilly Dec. 1930

Laurence J Kiernan 17th Aug. 1956

Peter G E Kiernan 14th Oct. 1958

Timothy A Kiernan 18th Feb. 1961

Mary Giliosa Kiernan 27th June 1963

Colm D Kiernan 25th Dec. 1968

DEATHS

Patrick Kiernan 26th Nov. 1927

Micheal Sheils 12th June 1930

Rose Kiernan 28th Feb 1935

Patrick Kiernan 1st Aug. 1937

James Kiernan 30th June 1954

Mary F Sheils 17th June 1957

Peter Kiernan 18th June 1957

Ellen Kiernan 29th Dec 1957

Rose Anne Reilly 17th Nov 1971

Laurence P M Kiernan 6th Jan. 1977

Laurence Kiernan 30th April 1978

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