Fr Denis celebrates mass while on holidays

THOSE of us who were children of the 1960s have dearly held and cherished memories of Fr. Denis Lynch who, when on holidays to Valentia, celebrated mass with that distinctive and clear voice in fine summer mornings in the village of Chapeltown (Caol).

Fr. Denis, who is now a sprightly 87 years old, comes originally from Ballymanach in Valentia and recently celebrated daily mass in the church of Chapeltown while on holidays.

His formal education began at the Knightstown National School where he was taught by John Mawe, Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. O'Driscoll. He attended St. Brendan's College in Killarney between 1940 and 1945 and recalls fellow and older students Fr. Donal O'Sullivan of Cahirsiveen and Austin Ring of Valentia who took him under their wing in his early days there. The late Fr. Willie Murphy of Valentia was also in attendance with him.

After leaving 'The Sem' Fr.Denis joined the Dominican order of priests doing his novitiate and first year studies at Pope's Quay in Cork City. From here he went to the Dominican house of studies in Tallaght, Dublin and was ordained in July 1952 by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid.

The next seven years from 1953-60 were spent as a Bursar in Newbridge College, Co. Kildare and following that he returned to Tallaght and also spent periods in Athy, Dorset St. in Dublin, Drogheda and Waterford.

The year 1976 saw him embark on his first foreign venture when he went to Argentina where he spent 10 years, coming home every three years. Shortly after his arrival, the Argentinian Government fell to the military, followed by the well documented phase of the disappeared, or 'desaparecidos,' in which tens of thousands of anti government dissidents disappeared without trace. However, he was contented there, living in the city of Parana, about seven hours North of Buenos Aires.

Having arrived home in the mid 1980s, Fr. Denis spent the next seven years as a curate in Tallaght and from there went to Ballybeg in Waterford for two years. He was subsequently transferred to Tralee for seven years, affording him the opportunity to visit his brother, Paddy, in Valentia. He arrived to his current abode, Pope's Quay, nine years ago.

On a beautiful May evening on Friday, May 23, Fr. Denis served mass at the renowned Valentia grotto with many of his island friends in attendance. All good future wishes are extended to him. Go maire se an cead.


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