Fr Sean Sheehy (67) has been based in Kerry for less than two years. He has been Castlegregory parish priest in the Diocese of Kerry since July 2008 when he was confirmed to the position by Bishop Bill Murphy.
While a native of Kerry, Fr Sheehy has spent the bulk of his ministry in the United States.
However, a chronic shortage of priests in Irish dioceses -- including Kerry -- has prompted many Irish-born priests to return home over recent years.
Fr Sheehy was one of two priests assigned to Kerry parishes 18 months ago on a pro-tem loan basis from their US dioceses.
Fr Sheehy's last posting was in the Diocese of Baton Rouge in Louisiana where locals were heartbroken at his decision to return to Ireland.
Throughout his time in the US, Fr Sheehy maintained close links with Ireland and regularly returned to Kerry on holidays.
Castlegregory locals last night hailed Fr Sheehy as a tireless community worker who had been particularly active in supporting local charity and developmental groups.
While in the US, he was particularly noted for his commitment to education.
Fr Sheehy is also a keen GAA supporter and a lifelong fan of Kerry Gaelic football.