Parish Of Birth
St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth Co Kildare, Ireland
Details Of Ordination
Kinsale CC : 4/12/1927 – 16/11/1940
Chaplain, Dunmanway Workhouse : 7/12/1923 – 4/12/1927
St. Finbarr’s Seminary, Farranferris : 20/3/1914 – 7/12/1923
Chaplain, Clifton Convalescent Home : 20/3/1914 – 7/12/1923
Ministry Abroad/England : 1911 – 1914
For 17 years, Fr. McSweeney, worked in Kinsale, and a characteristic of his whole existence was the zeal, which he displayed for the spiritual and temporal needs of the people of the town. The advancement of Kinsale was a matter very dear to his heart. His association with the local Development Committee saw him give much time and energy to any work undertaken by that body and in the area of technical education he did more than one man’s share where Kinsale was concerned. He acted as Chairman of the local Vocational Education Committee, as as well a member of the County Vocational Committee.
For many years he gave unstinted help to the project for the establishment of a museum in the town. On the 11th September, 1939, that museum was officially opened.
He continuously advocated for the establishment of a Vocational School in the town, and on the 25th September, 1939, he saw the opening of a new Vocational School.
He was also instrumental in having provided a cemetery in the town.
This articles appeared in thenSouthern Star in Nov 2012: A seat erected over 70 years ago to honour the memory of well-loved priest Fr Patrick McSwiney was re-dedicated and blessed recently by Fr Stan Hession, O Carm, at the scenic harbour setting of the Low Road at Scilly, Kinsale. Addressing members of the local history society, Scilly residents and others, local historian Terry Connolly, who spearheaded the project, said the seat was damaged and lay broken for many years and despite pleas to the local and county councils to have it repaired, nothing was done. Thanks was expressed to Noel Lovell of A & N Lovell, Builders for its restoration and to local painting contractor Paddy Irwin for the re-lettering of the original plaque, both of whom completed the works free of charge. ?Fr McSwiney is still spoken of with respect and love by the older people of Kinsale and his achievements are still with us today,? said Terry. Born in Cork on March 16th, 1885, Patrick McSwiney was ordained on June 18th, 1911, studied languages at Liverpool University and completed a Master of Arts degree. He returned to Cork in 1914 where he was appointed chaplain to a community of nuns at Clifton House, Montenotte and professor of Irish Studies at St Finbarr?s Seminary, Farranferris and lived through one of the most turbulent periods of Irish history. ?Fr McSwiney was a personal friend, though not related to Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney, and obviously shared his political views. In 1922, he was given a parcel and asked to deliver it to Clifton House where he was chaplain. The bishop was informed that some military property had been taken and hidden in the oratory. The subsequent confrontation between bishop and priest was to profoundly affect the life of Fr McSwiney and that of Kinsale,? said Terry. ?The bishop concerned was Daniel Coholan DD who was appointed assistant bishop in 1914 and later served as Bishop of Cork until 1952. He was a supporter of John Redmond and the National Party and was also the bishop who excommunicated all those involved in violence in the Cork dioceses during the War of Independence which included the IRA. This action caused considerable resentment among the nationalist community. The meeting between the bishop and Fr McSwiney cannot have been a pleasant one and resulted in the banishment of the younger man to become chaplain of St Mary?s Convent in Dunmanway, a form of internal exile. Fr McSwiney took up his appointment in 1923 and quickly became actively involved in the town, notably with the Gaelic League, and is credited with the founding of the Dunmanway Feis. Fr McSwiney was appointed curate in Kinsale in 1927, which he later described as the happiest day of his life and the start of a ministry that was to have a radical effect on the town of Kinsale due to his tremendous organisational abilities and other talents. His many achievements, as outlined by Terry, included presiding over a branch of the Gaelic League; becoming chairman of the local and a member of the County Vocational Education committees; founding the Students? Union, which organised concerts, dances and other events; becoming chairman of Kinsale Development Association and the local Creamery Committee which set up a creamery at the Glen; and chairing the committee which established St Eltin?s Cemetery in 1937, where he is buried. He was constantly making strenuous efforts to revive the fishing industry, getting more local authority houses built and developing tourism. ?His charitable work was legendary,? said Terry, especially for the orphans in the care of the local Convent of Mercy where he organised plays, concerts and outings. A man with a lifelong interest in history, famous for his lectures, he was a member of the National Monuments Committee and Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, being a contributor to the latter?s journals. He was chairman of the local history group that initially collected and placed artefacts in a room of the new Vocational School at Bandon Road which in effect made him the founder of Kinsale Museum that later re-located to the old Courthouse. He also once organised a pageant to commemorate the Battle of Kinsale, produced plays in English and Irish and still managed to be a devoted pastor. A major triumph for Fr McSwiney and his committee was the official opening on September 26th, 1940 of the Vocational School. This was, alas, to be one of his last official acts. His health was always suspect and he was frail of physique. After a short illness, he died at Golding?s Private Hospital in Wellington Road, Cork on November 16th, 1940. The esteem in which he was held was manifested in the attendance at his removal and funeral. Tributes poured in from all sections of the community and the town of Kinsale came to a close when the funeral cortege passed, led appropriately by his beloved convent children to whom he was a father figure and friend always. Fr McSwiney was finally laid to rest, as was his wish, in St Eltin?s Cemetery near the big cross. Summing up, Terry Connolly said: ?He found Kinsale on its knees and he raised it to its feet. The Vocational School, St Eltin?s Graveyard and the seat on the Low Road were all monuments to Fr McSwiney but it is the fact that so many people still remember and honour him after all these years that is the greatest memorial of all.?
Date Of Death
Place Of Death
Goldings Home, Cork
Place Of Burial
St. Eltin’s Cemetery, Kinsale
Very Rev. Canon O’Leary, P.P., V.F., Bantry, presided at the Office and Requiem Mass. The celebrant of the Mass was Ven. Archdeacon Kelly, P.P., V.F., Kinsale; deacon, Rev. V. Sheppard, O.F.M., Multyfarnham, Westmeath; sub-deacon, Rev. W. J. Cashman, C.C., Tracton; master of ceremonies, Rev. J. Murphy-O’Connor, C.C., Cathedral, Cork.