By Peg Prendeville

Mikie Sheahan, formerly of Knockdown, who died recently, was buried during the week in Bury Green Cemetery in Cheshunt, UK. He was obviously as popular in his adopted country as he was at home in Knockdown as he had a lovely piece written about him in “The Irish World”. Mick, as he was known in Cuffley Hertfordshire, was a devoted GAA man and had helped many young people who went to London by helping them find accommodation and work. He managed Robert Emmett’s football team during the 80’s and 90’s. He is survived by his wife Mary and daughter Lorraine and sons Michael and Kevin. May he rest in peace.

It was with shock and sadness that we heard of the death last week, after a short illness, of Thomas J. O’Donoghue, poet and editor of the Ballyguiltenane Rural Journal since 1977.  One may forget that he was a very fine poet as well as editor. I understand that he had this year’s journal almost ready for printing when he got ill. One of the most treasured items in Glin library, where local history is concerned, is the collection of Journals since 1977. There is such an amount of local history contained in them that it would be hard to replace so in that alone he has left a huge legacy. He and Pat Brosnan and Paddy Faley RIP did not know in 1977 how much they were contributing to local history when they produced their first edition 37 years ago. I wrote the following article four years ago in 2010 but feel that it is fitting to repeat it here. I visited Pat Brosnan in St Ita’s during the week and he also spoke of his sadness at the passing of Tom. The following is the article.

Three Wise Men

Two important events took place in 1977. My wedding and the birth of the Ballyguiltenane Rural Journal. Thankfully both are still thriving! Yes, it is 33 years since Thomas J O’Donoghue, Pat Brosnan and Paddy Faley got together and conceived the idea of putting together a journal. The idea was a novel one at the time as there were none before them but even more so when one considers that these three men did not live in the one town or even the same townland. Tom is from Drumreask, Glin, Pat from Knocknagorna, Athea and Paddy from Glenbawn, Ballyhahill. What they had in common was a love of reading, a yearning for writing and enthusiasm.

The 1st edition of twelve pages cost 10p and had a drawing by Mr. Sheahan of Ballyguiltenane School on the front and back cover. There were submissions from the three founding members and also from Jimmy Dalton, Scairt, Annie & Michael Kinnane, Glenagragra, James McNamara, Ballygoughlin and Michael Fennell, Glenagragra. Such was the impact of that 1st edition that the next year, 1978, saw an increase to forty two pages, costing 50p including photographs. The founders were helped by Mary Brosnan, Knocknagorna, Mick Lynch, Blaine Bridge and Chicago, Mary Lynch Keogh, Killoughteen, John Joe O’Connor, Athea, J. Dalton, Scairt, Michael Fennell, Annie & Catherine Kinnane from Glenagragra, Liam O’Shaughnessy, Maighread McGrath, Athea, Henry Lyons, Jim Scanlon, James Feury and Paddy Barrett.  Since then it has grown to 138 pages in the 2009 edition with poems and articles and photos from over thirty contributors. Fitzsimons Printers continue to print it annually. It is noticeable by its green cover ever year.

It is only since I started working in the local library that I realise the enormous contribution to society these local journals give. There is an amount of local history contained within their pages and they are often a great resource to the children doing projects for school. So much folklore and history would be lost and forgotten but for these and I am not just thinking of the BRJ. I also include Athea, Loughill/Ballyhahill, Castlemahon etc. The photos, too, are a great reminder of people who have passed on and of events, and indeed fashions, of older days which would otherwise have been forgotten about.

So great credit is due to these three wise men, Tom, Pat and Paddy, who had the vision and the courage to start such a publication back in 1977. Thankfully they are all well and healthy though advancing in years. Paddy is 91 years and has contributed to all the journals through the years as has Pat and Tom. A special thanks to Tom who has edited all the journals and who continues to produce it year after year. He is constantly amazed at the amount of stuff he gets each year and appreciates all the contributions from near and far.”

I extend my sympathies to his wife Delia and two sons John and James. May he rest in peace.

Meanwhile the Athea Journal is on the shelves and has some very interesting articles and stories in it to keep us reading over Christmas which is almost upon us so I take this opportunity to wish all readers a very Happy and Contented Christmas with your loved ones wherever you may be, either at home or across the water.