Whilst I have never lived in Ireland, I was in Killeen in January 1994.
I made a wrong turn down a tiny road which ended abruptly in the water so I had to turn my rental car around in the water to go back. It was at that time I decided to marry my wife, Kathleen (nee Dolan), whom I had taken there for her first trip to Ireland. And so it was done on November 4, 1995.
Our first two children would have Irish locations as their middle name, Shannon Clare and John Cashel. Molly, our last child, would have Killeen. Strangely, a couple of years after Molly was born, while looking at Kathleen’s Grandmother’s 1906 Belfast birth certificate, I learned her maiden name was Killeen.
Sadly, our little Molly died 10 months ago today. While my heart remains broken, I fondly recall our quick passage through Killeen.
County Mayo is where my great, great grandparents, William and Catherine Kennedy, fled the famine & the Crowne on July 20, 1847 from Killala Bay on the ship Isabella with their 9 children, all under 16 years of age. William died 10 days after arriving on Grosse Isle, Canada from shipping fever.
John F. Kennedy
Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
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Mr. Kennedy, your Molly is an Angel, and as the nuns told us in grade school, “God couldn’t wait any longer for Molly as He needed her special qualities to help Him with his challenges!”. My Father was born in Falduff, Louisburgh, Co. Mayo just the other side of Louisburgh. It, too, has special meaning to many of us.
When “growing up” on the West Side of Chicago, I was sent off to to the Dominican Priests @ Fenwick HS in Oak Park, Il. to get educated. I believe it was my Junior Year, my Father (RIP) found out that The Dean of Men (Disciplanarian) at the school went by the name of Fr. Killian O’Malley, OP. Dad sought him out to do some probeing and discovered that his real name was Jack, but he took name of Killian when ordained due to his Dad was from Killian, a place my Dad was very familiar with.
I thought I was “home free” regarding my conduct for duration of time at Fenwick until I heard my Dad tell Fr. Killian O’Malley (my Grandmother was an O’Malley from Cahir) “if he gives ya any trouble whatsoever, you beat the crap out of him, and then send him home to me!”. Needless to say, my last two years at Fenwick HS were very uneventful!
I’ve said a prayer in the lovely chapel in Killeen many time on my numerous visits back to the Louisburgh area during my lifetime. Any future visits, and I will say a prayer for your Molly when I visit that chapel again! Fr. Killian O’Malley, OP is retired now and lives at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Rectory, River Forest, Il., FYI. Jim Hester
Hi John, thanks for sharing this wonderful yet sad story. It maybe a great big world but somehow we find connections to the smallest of places. Although Killeen is a small village in the great scheme of things, we as a people have a far reaching welcome. Be sure to come back & sample more of our little hidden treasures, just like the road into the water….. And now, while you have never lived here you are forever connected to us.
Wishing you & your family many more years of happy relationships with Ireland.
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