Canon Sheehan of Doneraile. by Patrick O Brien.
Canon Sheehan is regulary refered to as Canon Sheehan of Doneraile, because he wrote almost all his works, while he was there as Parish Priest.
Early life.O Brien st.
Patrick Augustine Sheehan was born on March 17th 1852 at 29, New ‘St.( now O Brien St.) Mallow Co. Cork.
The Baptismal Register of the parish of Mallow in the diocese of Cloyne states that Patrick Sheehan, son of Patrick Sheehan and Joanna Regan, was baptized on the 17th of March 1852 by the Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Church, Sr. J.C. Wigmore, the sponsors being Timothy Cronin and Ann Relehan.
His Father and Mother’s families were connected with the Mourne Abbey area. His father died in 1863 and in February the following year his mother passed away. Rev. John McCarthy P.P. of Mallow became guardian of the children. Patrick was one of their six children. He received National School education in Mallow, where one of his classmates was William O Brien who was later to become a noted journalist and parliamentarian.
When Patrick was growing up in Mallow the Fenian movement was beginning to take shape with men secretly drilling and marching in the woods round about. This period of history remained ingrained in his mind culminating in the book he completed shortly before he died called The Graves At Kilmorna. It wasn’t published until 18 months after his death.
Fr. McCarthy sent him to St. Colmans College in Fermoy at the age of 14. Afterr he completed his secondary education in St. Colmans he entered Maynooth. A classmate from Limerick who remembered him well rites ” In my time at Maynooth, Cloyne diocese was the crème de la crème of the college….and you had men like Canon Sheehan, who scarcely uttered a word but read the heavens, and thought.”
He was a brilliant student and he managed to complete his studies in Maynooth a year before he was old enough to be ordained despite recurring illness, which caused him to miss out a whole years study.