A forgotten Carrick-on-Suir Jesuit priest, who was one of the founders of The Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge), was commemorated in his home town last week.
Carrick-on-Suir’s Conradh na Gaeilge branch, Craobh O’hIci, organised a special Mass in Irish at St Nicholas Church on Wednesday, July 31 to mark the 120th anniversary of the foundation of the Irish language association and to remember Fr William Hayden, SJ, who was born at Carrickbeg House in Carrickbeg.
After the Mass a memorial plaque in honour of Fr Hayden was unveiled at the church. Craogh O’hIci branch secretary Celine Ni Chochlaigh, said the plaque is being displayed at Carrick-on-Suir Heritage Centre until a suitable place is found to erect it in the town.
The Mass was celebrated by Canon Edmond Cullinan PP and Fr Edmond Hassett. An tAthair Micheal MacGreil SJ, the distinguished Jesuit, author and academic was the guest preacher.
Following the Mass, writer and poet Michael Coady, speaking in Irish and English, outlined to the congregation Fr William Hayden’s background and the significance of Carrick-on-Suir as the birthplace not only of one of the Gaelic League’s founders but also of Maurice Davin, co-founder and first president of the GAA. Both were cultural organisations at the core of the national revival which led to our independence, he pointed out.
Mr Coady also acknowledged the contemporary significance of Carrick-on-Suir’s thriving Gaelscoil in Carrickbeg.
The Conradh na Gaeilge celebration concluded with an Irish music evening at Brewery Lane Theatre.