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On the eve of the Great Famine there was a terrible scandal in Kinvara, Co Galway. William Burke, who had served as a Catholic priest for 13 years, announced to his congregation that he was leaving the church and becoming Protestant. The people were so angry that about 2,000 pursued his carriage and hurled abuse at him. Two other clergymen and police protection were required to keep him safe.
On Sunday September 19 1976 the former bishop of Kerry, Eamonn Casey, succeeded to the See of Galway. He had been appointed some months beforehand, but was delayed by his long goodbye tour of Kerry. The people of Kerry were heartbroken to lose him.
It is three years to the month since the signing into law by President Higgins of the Local Government Reform Act 2014. The act abolished Ireland’s 80 town councils as part of a range of measures designed to reform local administration. Three of those town councils operated in the Mayo towns of Ballina, Westport, and in the county capital, Castlebar. The debate continues as to whether the abolition of an entire tier of local government was largely beneficial or harmful. It may take longer than three years for any lasting effects to register themselves.
Most of us are mad jealous that we cannot claim some kind of connection with Caherlistrane. A new book by Mary J Murphy* manages to link the north Galway parish with an extraordinary number of writers, artists, singers, poets, actors, and historical personalities, that leave all other parishes in Ireland bereft of personality and character. There can be no other competition. We are all characterless by comparison to Caherlistrane.