Tubbercurry and Kiltimagh
The love and respect in which the late Fr Paddy Kilcoyne was held in Kiltimagh was very much in evidence in the huge crowds who turned out to pay their respects as he was brought back to Kiltimagh for the last time on Saturday evening, June 20. Hundreds of people lined the streets (social distancing) as the funeral cortege made its way up the town to the Church of the Holy Family, flanked by a guard of honour from the GAA club and led by the local Fire Brigade.
Fr Paddy died peacefully at his family home in Ougham just outside Tubbercurry, on the day following the 53rd anniversary of his ordination in Maynooth. The news of his death after a short illness was greeted with a great sense of sadness and loss in the Kiltimagh community who had come to regard him as one of their own over the years.
Fr Paddy, who retired three years ago and went to reside and help out in Foxford parish, had spent the last 18 years of his ministry as parish priest in Kiltimagh where he had endeared himself to the community both as a priest and a good and trusted friend. During those 18 years he was involved in the local schools, in various clubs, organisations, committees, groups, and the many initiatives he undertook such as the Parish Centre, the Childcare Facility and the Webcam in the Church. He celebrated his 50th Anniversary with his parishioners in 2017 and was invited to be Grand Marshal of the St Patrick’s Day Parade that year which he was delighted to accept.Fr Paddy’s 53years of service as a priest had seen him become part of life in many other communities in the Achonry Diocese; his first appointment in 1967 was in Bohola. A man steeped in the GAA Fr Paddy immediately became involved with the Kitimagh Club and togged out in the blue and white. In 1970 he returned to his old school St Nathy’s College, where he taught for a year and at this time was also curate in the local parish of Carracastle. In September 1971 Fr Paddy returned to Bohola, again taking up the position of curate. With Bohola Moy Davitts GAA Club established a few years later Fr Paddy traded the Blue and White of Kiltimagh for the Red and White of Bohola. He also took up a teaching post in the Vocational School in Kiltimagh and taught Religion there over a number of years. He then spent some years in Kilkelly where he continued his love of playing Gaelic Football with Kilmovee Shamrocks. In 1986 he was appointed to Swinford Parish where he looked after the Meelick area and served there until 1991. His first appointment as Parish Priest was in his home county of Sligo and the parish of Coolaney, until his move to Kiltimagh in August 1999 where he got a great welcome back.
Fr Paddy loved all sports be it the GAA, golf, greyhound racing or coursing to name but a few; he was also involved with Community Games in Mayo since its establishment and was very proactive in the development of the games over the years. He took a keen interest in the local Community Games in Kiltimagh where he volunteered each year. Fr Paddy had a great love of photography, he had an enormous collection of photographs he had taken over the years and he was seldom seen without his most treasured possession, his camera. He was a keen golfer and enjoyed nothing more than getting out on the course in Enniscrone or Tubbercurry as often as he could. He also loved a game of cards, 25 and solo were his favourites, he rarely missed the weekly 25 game in the Community Centre and after moving to Foxford he came back regularly until ill health prevented him doing so. He was a loyal supporter of the Sligo football teams and had the honour of wearing the Black and White at minor level. He also supported his adopted county of Mayo and rarely missed a game be it county or club. He served as the Club President for a time and was delighted to be honoured with the Hall of Fame Award some years ago, an award well deserved by a man who was always ready to advise or help the club in which he took a keen interest since he first arrived in town.
The many people he met on his journey through life and the many communities he served so faithfully will remember Fr Paddy with great affection and appreciation, and as a loyal friend who was always there with them in their celebrations and especially in their times of sorrow. When he spoke at funerals his words were so deeply moving and heartfelt and gave great comfort to those who were grieving their loved ones.
He will be sadly missed by his family, his parishioners, the priests of the Achonry Diocese and all who had the pleasure of knowing him over the decades.
Fr Paddy was laid to rest in the Church grounds in Kiltimagh following his private funeral Mass celebrated by Diocesan Administrator Fr Dermot Meehan at which Fr Paul Dempsey Bishop elect, was in attendance.
May he now rest in peace.