The year 2013 will be remembered by people for many different reasons and events that impacted on their lives.
Some no doubt will be happy occasions; like the birth of a child or the marriage of a family member. To many people in Cashel and District 2013 will be remembered as the year John Knightly died.
John who hailed from the Kingdom of Kerry came to Cashel in August 1949 to begin his career as a primary teacher in the national school on the Green, where the principal was also a Kerryman, Frank Egan. John wasted no time in immersing himself in the different organisations in the town like the Choral and Dramatic Society and the St Vincent De Paul Society. He was also an active member of the Cashel King Cormac’s Club and the Coursing Club.
John had a great love of history and after his school work ended each day he would make his way up to the Rock and spoke and traced for hours on end with curator Joe Minogue. He became a great scholar of local history and made the long trek to Dublin on dozens of occasions to research the history of Cashel, becoming an authority on all aspects of history pertaining to this historic town. His writing on the townlands surrounding Cashel are beautiful and full of detail. He imparted to his students the love of their native place and for all that we owe him a debt of gratitude.
Who then was better placed in May 1953 to put together The An Tóstal Pageant the history of Ireland and Cashel’s legendary status in that history. From the founder of Cashel, Cormac Lorsa, through to the War of Independence, Civil War and ending with what was seen as everyday life in Cashel in 1953. I am mindful that the little I write of Mr John Knightly, does not do justice to the man who went on to bring about the Social Services and the purchase of their building in John Street, along with Frank Egan and Cllr Dick Wood. I offer it as a token gesture to a man I held in high regard. Not to attempt to do something would have been seen as failure. Solas na bhflaitheas ar a anam uasal. Albert Carrie.