Neil (Fr.) Kevin1903

Neil (Fr.) Kevin 1903

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Place of migration
Stayed in Ireland

Father Neil Kevin from Templemore was a renowned writer of short stories, essays and pamphlets.  His books ‘I remember Maynooth’, ‘I remember Karrigeen’, ‘No Applause in Church’ and ‘Out of Nazareth’ are highly acclaimed.  Liam Doran, Roscrea, a student of his in Maynooth, wrote a tribute to him in a supplement of the Nenagh Guardian in 1988.

NEIL KEVIN was born in Patrick Street, Templemore, on January 26th, 1903, the eldest son of Edward and Margaret Kevin, a shopkeeper.  He was educated at the Convent of Mercy and the boys national school. In September 1916 he commenced his secondary education in Cistercian College, Roscrea. He progressed academically. The college President Fr. Ailbe gave Neil the following reference, “His amiable character, keenness of intellect, good sportsmanship and piquant humour made him popular with his classmates. He was a keen handballer, footballer and tennis player. He was a member of the school orchestra and Our Lady’s Sodality. One of the class leaders, English was his forte. His style as linguist was distinctive and critical.”

Neil entered St. Patrick’s College, Thurles, in 1920 and a year later he transferred to Maynooth. His literary ability began to flourish there, writing short stories and essays. In 1925 he was awarded a prize for his essay, “Humour of Shakespeare, Lamb and Dickens”. He was ordained in 1929 and continued his studies for an M.A., which was by thesis on the poetry of Matthew Arnold. In 1930 he was appointed Dean of Studies in St. Patrick’s College, Thurles. In 1932 Fr. Kevin was appointed Professor of Canon law at Maynooth. He continued to write various articles and pamphlets. Denis Meehan O.S.B., a student and colleague of his in Maynooth, wrote that he had, “…an unusual refinement of style and taste. He had this in his physical person; the way he looked, the way he dressed, the way he ate, the way he drunk (especially wine), the way he smiled, a gentleman in any sense of the term. But his refinement was first and foremost the refinement of mind, possible innate, possibly the result of long years’ association with the immortals of English literature.”

Liam Maher, M.A., Roscrea, was student of Neil Kevin’s in the 1940s. He recalls his English classes, “Fr. Neil, was nothing if not interesting. His conversation was loaded with shafts of wit which were sometimes too quick for his audience. In class his humour was rare enough but his temper was equanimity personified. He was closer to the concept of a university don than any man I have ever known. His scholarly lined face was classical in its dignity and peace, his form, tall, spare and stately”.

Under the pseudonym of Don Boyne, Neil published ‘I remember Maynooth’ in 1937, a series of essays, dealing with various aspects of college life. His book, ‘I remember Karrigeen’ was published in 1944.  Karrigeen was really his native Templemore. In its pages, he walked the length and breadth of the town, its small and intimate world, bounded by stars and sleep”. The characters are drawn with consummate skill – Poster Bill, Ghoster Daly, the Philosophers, to name a few.

Neil Kevin died in his native Templemore, on August 10th, 1953, and is buried in the ground of Sacred Heart Church Templemore

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Date of Birth 26th Jan 1903 VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 10th Aug 1953 VIEW SOURCE

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