Lorrha Notes

Fr Donnelly’s cortege leaving his residence to-day Tuesday to visit the three schools in the parish and St. Kieran’s Care Home. His remains will repose in Our Lady Queen of Ireland Church this evening and tonight until burial after Mass tomorrow Wednesday.  RIP Fr John

Late Fr. John Donnelly.

There was widespread sadness in the parish when news spread on Sunday evening last May 9th of the death of our retired P.P. and the much loved, Fr. John Donnelly Rathcabbin. Fr. John celebrated his 98th birthday just last March and was in good health until recently. When he was appointed P.P. to the parish of Lorrha in 1988, he was moving closer to home and closer to his family as he was born and raised in nearby Cadamstown outside Birr. Born in 1923 the second youngest of eight children, he was educated in Kinnitty NS, St. Flannan’s College, Ennis and in St. Patrick’s College Maynooth. On June 20th 1948 he was ordained to the priesthood. His first assignment was to the parish of Derby in England and after two years he took up his new parish in Ireland in Cranny Co. Clare. He went on to serve in Whitegate, Kilkishan, Corofin and Killoe. He was appointed Parish Priest of Ruain Dysart in 1980 where he remained for the following seven years. After spending 37 years of his priesthood in Clare, Fr. John crossed the Shannon in the summer of 1987 to take up the appointment of Parish Priest in Lorrha and Dorrha after the retirement of Canon Martin Ryan.  Eleven years later he celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his ordination in July 1998 with parishioners and fellow priests. A man of abiding faith, deep spirituality and prayerfulness, he guided his parishioners with true commitment to the faith. Always welcoming and so approachable, he was a great source of comfort to all who were ill and to those who were hospitalised or bereaved. Fr. John will be sadly missed by all who knew his gentle ways and kind words that he had for everyone, parishioners and visitors, but in particular by his family.  Predeceased by his sisters and brothers, Kathleen, Mai, Nora, Teresa, Jos, Jim and Paddy. Deeply regretted by his nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, wonderful carers and Milford Care centre. Bishop Fintan Monahan, priests and religious in Killaloe Diocese, relatives, friends and parishioners of the various parishes that he administered, and his niece Pauline McIntyre and her family who reside in the parish. Fr Donnelly’s cortège will depart from his residence this Tuesday afternoon to Rathcabbin School arriving at 1pm, to Lorrha School arriving at 1:30pm Via Welshpark & Abbeyville, to Redwood School arriving at 2pm Via Ballyquirke , The Ferry, Portland & Moatfield, returning back to Rathcabbin. Concelebrate Mass on Wednesday afternoon at 3pm in Our Lady Queen of Ireland Church Rathcabbin followed by interment in the church grounds.  May Fr. John’s gentle soul rest in peace.

Late Mary O’Brien.

The death took place on Wednesday May 5th  of Mary O’Brien, Derry Rathcabbin. Nee Hynes from Fiveally outside Birr, Mary lived for most of her life in Surrey, England where she and her husband Michael reared a family of five. They returned to Ireland a number of years ago on their retirement and settled in Michael’s home parish. A friendly, quiet and easy going lady, Mary always had a ready smile and a word for everyone she met. Instead of returning to Surrey to meet up with her family, they came over to Rathcabbin and she looked forward to their visits every summer with great enthusiasm and interest, loving every minute of their stay and getting that cherished time with her grandchildren. All of them will miss her so much now.
It was after a short illness that Mary passed away at the Regional Hospital in Tullamore. She is survived by her husband Michael, daughters Debbie and Jackie, sons Damien, David and Michael, grandchildren Sean, Lucie, Lily, Michael, Erin, Kieran, Callum, Alexander, Kian and Ruari, brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law. Aunts, nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and friends to whom sympathy is offered.
After funeral Mass in Our Lady Queen of Ireland Church, Rathcabbin, on Tuesday morning last May 11th  burial took place in Bonoham Cemetery. May Mary rest in peace.


Sympathy is extended to the nieces, nephews and cousins in the parish of the late Tommy Kennedy Shinrone and formerly Rathcabbin, who died on Sunday May 9th. at his home. Deeply regretted by his wife Maureen, sons Philip, John and Gordon, daughters Geraldine and Imelda, sons in law, daughter in law and very beloved grandchildren, sisters in law, brothers in law, nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and a large circle of friends. After funeral Mass on Tuesday last in St. Mary’s Church Shinrone, Tommy was laid to rest in the New Cemetery in Shinrone. May he rest in peace.

Hooves for Hospice.

Breed Hassett is a secondary school teacher in Banagher College and is well known to many in our parish through our children attending that school. Breed is presently undergoing breast cancer treatment and she has already raised a whopping €14,500 for Breast Cancer Ireland. Now she has pledged her support for the Offaly Hospice fundraising drive after a family friend donated an Angus calf in order to help her raise much-needed funds and that is just one of the unique prizes up for grabs in a monster draw which will take place on May 19. The Cork native along with the TY students in her school and some fellow teachers, has already raised €3,000 through the sale of €5 raffle tickets, but Breed is hopeful that they can double or even treble that. There’s host of other prizes including a €200 One for All voucher and a €150 voucher for the Radisson Blu Hotel in Athlone along with numerous other prizes.
Hooves 4 Hospice is helping to raise funds to build a Level 3 Hospice to provide specialist end-of-life care and support for people in the Midlands (Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath)  because there is no hospice in the area, with the centre to be based in Tullamore. We all hope we will never need it, but without doubt, some of us will. To donate, go to the Banagher College website where there is a link to the idonate.ie page or you can purchase a ticket from the TY students or teachers for just €5. We wish Breed well with her fundraising for Offaly Hospice, but above all we wish her the very best of luck with her ongoing cancer treatment.

Well Done.

Congratulations to Bonner and Brian and the Tipperary hurlers on sharing their first point of the league with All Ireland champions Limerick. We extend the best of luck to the lads once again when they play a hungry looking Cork side on Saturday evening on home ground with throw in down for 7.30pm. This should be a great game if both sides are on form.

Church News.

We are delighted to welcome you back for weekend and weekday Masses from next week-end. The recent Government directive confirms that Mass can take place with up to 50 people with strict social distancing in place. Everyone is encouraged to wear face masks in the Church. It is highly recommended.  When the Churches are full according to social distancing, that is the limit. We ask you to please follow the advice of the stewards and understand how difficult and frustrating this is.  Holy Communion will be taken to you as you remain seated. There will be a facility in both churches to make contributions to the church collection. The numbers at Funeral and Wedding services is capped at 50. Outdoor worship is not permitted . We want to thank all our stewards who make it possible to celebrate in a safe way.

Mass Times:

Lorrha:  6.30pm every Saturday for now. Rathcabbin: 11.30am Sundays. Borrisokane       7pm Saturday. Kilbarron:            8pm Saturday, Terryglass: 9.30am Sunday, Borrisokane 10.30am Sunday.

Confirmation Preparation.

Bishop Fintan has sent a letter to parents of Confirmation young people via schools. From May 12th, for 7 weeks, the Diocese will send a weekly reflection through the schools for each family.  These are taken from the important themes in the Grow in Love curriculum. An online Liturgy of Preparation for all Confirmation young people across the Diocese, Tuesday, May 18th 8pm. Link to be sent next week. Regrettably due to Covid, Bishop Fintan will not be coming to our Churches this year for Confirmation.

 Anniversary Masses.
Anyone wishing to book an anniversary mass please contact the Parish Office on 090-9747009. Both Fr Tom and Fr Michael are happy to include anniversaries in their weekend masses, in Terryglass by audio on Saturday evenings and on webcam on Sunday mornings in Borrisokane.

 Marriage Preparation During Covid:

Accord CLG is providing a 4 hour facilitated virtual interactive programme for couples preparing for marriage. See Accord.ie or phone 01 5053112.

A Covid-19 support line is available for older people and is managed by ALONE, a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Professional staff are available to answer queries and give advice and reassurance where necessary. The support line is open seven days a week, 8am – 8pm, by calling 0818 222 024. You can also contact the Samaritans:  Ph: 116,123, Text  087 2609090, email jo@samaritans.ie . Pieta House: Ph 1800 247 247, text HELP to 51444. Aware: Ph. 1800 804 848, email supportmail@:aware.ie


Scoil Lua Naofa Lorrha is accepting enrolments for the 2021/22 school year. Application forms can be  downloaded from the school website www.lorrhans.ie , by email to the school at luanaofa@gmail.com or by calling the school at (090) 9747295 and we can drop a form to you in the post.

GAA Notes.

RIP: Over the weekend, we learned of the sad passing of former club president and great supporter of the club Fr. John Donnelly. He had been in the parish for 34 years and was a keen follower of all GAA activities. His presence will be greatly missed. May he Rest In Peace. Sympathies also to Michael O’Brien on the death of his wife Mary, may she Rest In Peace.

Lotto: The lotto jackpot is at €4950 with a match 3 pot of €100. You can play online at clubforce.com while lotto envelopes can be dropped off at the clubhouse, at Mulrooney’s, Kelly’s, or at the Scéal shop. If you need Lotto envelopes, contact chairman, Hubert Duggan (0872185995) or Kevin Molloy (0876738986).

Well done: to Conor Kennedy, who did the blue jersey proud as he represented North Tipperary in the U14 Féile Skills final in Dr Morris Park at the weekend.

Cúl Camp coaching: If any of our members (over17s) want to become a Cúl Camp coach, you can find the application form on our Facebook/Twitter at Kellogsculcamps.gaa.ie.


Breed opens up about cancer journey to raise money for Hooves4Hospice

Olga Aughey

“There is no hospice in the Midlands and that really is something that needs to be addressed,” states Breed Hassett, a teacher of science and agricultural science in Banagher College. Breed is promoting her and her colleagues’ Hooves 4 Hospice campaign, which has so far surpassed its target of €2,000 on iDonate.ie. However, Breed believes they can “double, or even triple” that amount as “cancer touches everyone at some stage of their lives”.

Originally from Cork but living in Offaly since 1998, Breed married Kinnitty man Liam O’Brien, and says she loves the Offaly people who have taken her under her wing since she first arrived in the Faithful County. Together Breed and Liam have two children, James who is 11, and Sarah who just turned 5, but family life was thrown into disarray last year when Breed was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It was right in the middle of Covid and the next thing was I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had to have surgery during the summer, followed by chemo and radiation. My husband wasn’t allowed in, I went through chemo on my own and nobody was allowed sit with me. Liam had to stay in the car park. “I was treated in St James and I’m still with them and I can’t say enough about them, they were fantastic, but getting the news was a huge shock because I didn’t have the normal symptoms that someone with breast cancer usually has.

“I didn’t have a lump, I had what looked like a cut on my nipple that wasn’t healing. “All along the doctors didn’t think that it was anything, they thought it was a skin rash or irritation – something like that. I had had a mammogram the previous August and nothing sinister showed up.”
When Breed’s wound didn’t heal however she went back to the doctor, and following a biopsy, doctors discovered that there was in fact cancer present. “It was a huge shock because my own mother died of cancer when she was 41, I’m 44. In that day and age, by the time it was discovered it was everywhere so they didn’t actually know her primary source of cancer. So it was always in the back of my mind.” At the same time, two of Breed’s friends had also been diagnosed with breast cancer not long before her own diagnosis.
“That initial word ‘cancer’ comes as a desperate shock, waiting to see what stage it’s at, waiting for the prognosis. “To be honest I had myself dead and buried because of my own trauma of losing my mother. “I was so fearful for my children, for my husband, I was worried about it all and you’re trying to put a brave face on and be as upbeat as possible. “My family are in Cork and I was talking to them on the phone, nobody could travel. They were asking me questions, questions that you don’t have answers for. It was very, very tough.”

Breed who is still receiving injections for the cancer is due to finish her treatment in August. “My thinking now is that I am blessed, that I am lucky that I followed it up with a doctor that listened. I’m hopeful that I’m out the other end but I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch. However, things are looking very positive for me.

“It definitely makes you stop and look at your priorities, you look at things in a more simple light. I want to be here for the kids and see them grow up. “I’m hoping that by reading this people won’t be afraid to go to their doctor, and not to be afraid to query and question when something isn’t right. “Initially, when doctors told me it was a skin irritation, I was putting on this cream and that cream, and three, four, five weeks had passed and it wasn’t getting any better. I didn’t want to be going back and bothering the doctor. Stupidly we don’t want to be annoying the doctor and it got to the stage where it was bleeding and oozing all the time. “We’re very silly that way but I’m glad that I did go back and that I did push it further and found it on time.”  “I’m blessed with the colleagues that I work with, everyone rallied around me. Offaly is my home now and once the word got out the messages and cards came flying in and it gives you a huge lift. Everything like that boosts you.” It was one of Breed’s colleagues who approached her in October last year about an idea called #MilesforMissH

“They wanted to do some fundraising during the TY year because everything was disrupted and they wanted a purpose. They wanted to do something for cancer and use me as a poster girl so to speak. “Some people are very private about these things but I’m not – I’m a teacher and I believe in education. I felt that even if just one other person decided to go to the doctor as a result of hearing my story, then that’s a win. “So the transition years in Banagher College and anyone who wanted to get involved planned to collectively clock up the miles that I was going to be travelling from Kinnitty to St James and back for my twelve rounds of chemo, and they would walk these miles.” The initiative ended up raising €14,500 for Breast Cancer research.
“I was absolutely floored by the response,” says Breed. “There were past pupils on Facebook, Twitter etc, who were living abroad in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Spain, also clocking up the miles, and people were donating. “There was real community spirit, people in Kinnitty here got behind me and were walking as well and in Banagher, it was amazing.”

Fast forward another five months and family friend Martin Finnerty donated a calf for fundraising.
“I got back onto my colleagues and this time we decided to do it for Hospice. With the help of God I’ll never need it but there are people who will. We’ve had lots of past and present pupils who have lost parents through cancer and I think cancer touches everybody at some stage in their lives. “I had come across the Hooves4Hospice campaign, which is local farmers raising cattle to fundraise for a hospice because there is no hospice in the Midlands. “My colleagues set up the iDonate and we went about getting prizes – there’s ten different prizes. “First prize is the calf or the value of the calf, which is €300. “There’s lots of prizes there, including a voucher for the Radisson and we’re currently promoting that draw which will take place in May. “It’s €5 a ticket and we’re hoping to reach as much as we can. We want to raise awareness of the fact that there is no hospice in the Midlands.” Breed believes that with the strong community spirit that exists in Offaly and surrounding areas,  they can raise much more for the calf raffle the idonate.ie forum.
“I moved up to Offaly in 1998 for a job, and I fell in love with the people. I had never been to the Midlands, when you’re from Cork you go left to Galway or right to Dublin. “I’ve always just felt, my whole teaching career has been in Banagher and I love the kids, there is a great community spirit in Offaly and I really think if the word gets out there we can raise more.”

Full list of prizes:

1st Prize: Minella Double Package three night stay worth €560

2nd: Angus calf sponsored by Martin Finnerty & bag of calf nuts sponsored by Liffey mills OR its value in cash €300

3rd Prize: 3 bags of sweet tooth grass seed OR its value in cash €200 (Sponsored by J Grennan & Sons)

4th Prize: One for all voucher worth €200 sponsored by Banagher Precast Concrete

5th Prize: €150 voucher for the Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone

6th Prize: Grant Farm Machinery voucher worth €100

7th Prize: A hamper from Kilbeggan Organic Foods worth €50

8th prize: 5 x 25kg bags of meal sponsored by Arrabawn Co-op worth €50

9th prize: 5 x 25kg bags of meal sponsored by Arrabawn Co-op worth €50

10th prize: €25 voucher sponsored by Arrabawn Co-op

To donate, go to the Banagher College website where there is a link to the idonate.ie page.