Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)
Fr. Peter Dunne. PP. (1934 - 2002)
Fr. Peter Dunne. P.P.
It was with deep sadness that the people of Tinryland learned of the death of their beloved parish priest Fr. Peter on Monday morning the 16th September 2002. Fr. Peter had been quite ill for some time and had retired from his position as Parish Priest of Tinryland in August 2002. However he had planned to continue to live among his parishioners and was about to move into his new home on the Moate hill. Alas it was not to be.
Fr. Peter's parishioners from every comer of the parish will remember him fondly. He was a quiet man in some ways but he always had a word, a smile or a touch for everyone. Over the years he often spoke critically of himself but in doing so he showed how human he was and this enabled him to empathise and relate with young and old alike. He was a very kind, thoughtful and understanding person who seemed to understand so well the problems that people were going through.
In his earlier years as Parish Priest, before he became ill, he was very actively involved in all aspects of the community and gave great support to every club and society in the parish.
He was to be found at GAA matches, or down the Cross County course supporting local participants or dancing at the Senior Citizens Christmas Party. More typically if you were looking for him he was to be found out on the land surrounding the parochial house tending to his sheep and lambs from which he got great enjoyment. One of the annual events that he will be remembered particularly for is the Good Friday Stations of the Cross ceremony, which he held along the Priest's House Avenue.
This was always well attended and in his own inimitable style he made the occasion relevant to all. For anyone who attended Lourdes with him they will also recall the lovely manner in which he performed the Stations of the Cross ceremony there. Other good memories are of him step dancing at local parties and socials, walking daily to the shop for his paper and fags where on the way to and fro he would stop for a chat, and his enjoyment of a cup of coffee.
Fr. Peter was born in May 1934, son of John Dunne and Margaret (Carroll) Dunne of Boley, Abbeyleix in the Shanahoe area of Raheen Parish, Co. Laois. Following his secondary education at Ballyfin College, he entered the seminary at Maynooth College and was ordained in June 1960. He served as curate in Clonegal Parish from 1960-1975, as curate in Portarlington Parish from 19751981 and as curate in Killeigh Parish from 1981-1984 before being appointed Administrator of Tullow Parish where he served from 1984 to 1989. He was appointed Parish Priest of Tinryland in 1989 following Fr. Denis Doyle's move as Chaplain to Naas Hospital.
The impact he made in all of the places he served was borne out by the large crowds that attended his funeral both at the reception of his remains and at the Requiem concelebrated Mass, which was presided over by the new bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Bishop Jim Moriarty. Rev. Tommy O'Shea, PP Arles and Rev Francis McNamara, PP Mountmellick who were Fr. Dunne's classmates in Maynooth and also ordained in 1960 gave the homilies on Tuesday and Wednesday. Over 70 priests concelebrated the Requiem Mass with Bishop Moriarty including our new Parish Priest Fr. John McEvoy. On behalf of the parishioners Pat Hayden welcomed the Bishop, the many priests especially former Parish Priest of Tinryland Fr. Denis Doyle and local man Fr. P.J. Byrne who is now parish priest of Kilcock.
After Communion, Nurse Geraldine O'Connor from the Holy Angels read the following beautiful tribute to Fr. Dunne who was chaplain to the Holy Angels for twelve years.
As Holy Angels chaplain for many, many years
You helped us through our losses and comforted our fears.
Mass was extra special for you'd add your human touch
With that magic twinkle in your eye we'd come to love so much.
To share a pot of tea with you was such a simple pleasure
Your brilliant sense of humour was a trait we'd come to treasure
The warmth and compassion you exuded was so rare
It gave a piece of heaven to the children in our care.
Though sad we are to lose you, much from you we did gain
Our fondest memories of you, will never ever wane.
After Nurse O'Connor, John Browne of Ballinacarrig read the following poem, which he wrote as a tribute to the life and work of a priest.
So many years have passed since ordination,
So many souls encouraged on their way,
So many joys and sorrows shared with people,
A lifetime's work of giving - night and day.
"I baptise thee", so often said to babies,
"Do you take X?" to couples who were wed,
"Go sin no more" to those who showed repentance,
"May Angels lead thee" to departing dead.
For them, no early age to reach retirement,
"Retirement" does not mean they get a rest.
It simply means they do their former duty,
As heretofore, though lacking former zest.
And think of all the times they helped in sadness,
At times of crisis how their words held sway,
At times of tiredness, how they rallied quickly,
No Peter Gilligans - they led the way.
In changing times they carried out their duty ;
Were criticised, perhaps by those who "know",
With certitude how God is really thinking,
Yet priests must listen to both friend and foe.
So God will surely honour their devotion,
And show appreciation for work done,
By telling them, in words of kindest feeling,
"You served me well, step in, my faithful son".
The local choir backed up by organist Mary Hennessy-O'Neill and soloist Josie Kelly provided the beautiful music. Members of Tinryland GFC carried Fr. Dunne's coffin from the church to the grave located in the adjoining cemetery. The schoolchildren from Tinryland NS provided a guard of honour at the entrance to the church on both days. Fr. John McEvoy PP thanked the many Tinryland people who helped out at the ceremonies. There was a special word of thanks to Fr. Dunne's carers in particular his devoted housekeeper Bridie Townsend and Sr. Clare Walshe.
Prior to Fr. Peter's death a collection had been started in the parish to present him with a gift on the occasion of his retirement. Sadly he died before this could take place. It has since been decided to put any money already collected towards a new set of vestments for Tinryland church in Fr. Dunne's honour and to donate the remainder to the Holy Angels of which he was chaplain.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis