Canon Sheehan of Doneraile


Canon Sheehan of Doneraile

by Joe Hassett

“Where dwellest thou rabbi – here I am”, these words are inscribed on the grave of Canon Sheehan of Doneraile who died on Rosary Sunday Oct 5th 1913 thus bringing to a close the mortal life of a literary colossus, an intellectual, a caring pastor and a true nationalist.

Patrick Augustine Sheehan was born in Mallow, Co. Cork on March 17th 1852 .  He was one of six children born to Patrick and Johana (nee Regan). 

In 1863, Patrick’s father died and in February of the following year his mother passed away. Rev John McCarthy, PP Mallow, became guardian to the Sheehan children and at the age of 14 Patrick was sent to St. Colman's College Fermoy and afterwards to Maynooth. He achieved his lifetime goal when, on Sunday April 18th 1875, he was ordained a priest. 

In 1895 he was appointed Parish Priest of Doneraile.

His growing reputation as an author - "the world's greatest living author" according to Tolstoy, would lead one to believe that his literary pursuits took precedence. This was not so - writing was always secondary to his sacred and pastoral duties. 

It is a measure of the man that, shortly before he died, in the company of his brother Denis he took notes for his autobiography from his desk and saying to Denis " these might do harm to others, let us destroy them" and threw the papers on the fire and reduced them to ashes.


This blog post was written as part of a training project funded by Ballyhoura Development Ltd. and is part of a community project in local heritage and tourism. If you wish to take part in a guided tour of Doneraile town and Doneraile Park then contact and download our forthcoming high quality, free app at Abarta Guides