Patrick Keighron (J.P.) Merchant of Sligo.
Patrick Keighron was born in 1814, a native of Breeogue, Sligo. One of three brothers older brother John and younger brother Michael. Patrick would become well known around Sligo as a merchant, a J.P. and a member of various organisations in connection with the town. His brother Michael would also become notable for his work on the board of public bodies. John predeceased them, but it’s not known when.
Patrick was known to have had business premises in The Mall, Bridge street and elsewhere around the County of Sligo.¹
By the mid-19th century Patrick had a successful grocery business and bakery in The Mall and had leased the Flour Mill and Millers House at Cregg, Drumcliffe.
In 1875 the Sligo Independent reported on a court case against a man who had assaulted Patrick Keighron during a dispute over ownership of a property in Bridge Street. The house, which was described as “wretched” and a “trifling interest”, was owned by a dying man by the name of Gallagher. He had drawn up a will in which he had appointed Patrick Keighron trustee and guardian to his young son who was about to become an orphan. The arrangement was made without Patrick Keighron's knowledge.
“Gallagher knew Mr. Keighron's high character and reputation (as everyone in Sligo did) and was most anxious in his dying moments to consign his child to where he would be benefited by a proper guardianship”.²
Following the death of Mr Gallagher, Patrick Keighron arranged for the orphaned boy to attend industrial school and used the rent from the lease of the property to go towards the yearly support of the child.
In 1877 Patrick’s daughter Mary married Alderman Francis Higgins who would become Mayor of Sligo in 1892. They would also form the partnership of Higgins & Keighron, which would trade successfully in Sligo until the company was dissolved in 1964.³
Francis Higgins’ son James J Higgins would become Mayor of Sligo from 1909 to 1911.
A fire in 1881 broke out in the salt store of Patrick Keighron’s property in Bridge Street which almost caused financial ruin. A quantity of wool which had been stored in the salt store was said to have been the ignition source, but the discipline of the volunteer Sligo Fire Brigade and the efforts of the town’s inhabitants limited the damage.
“…we would not be doing our duty if we did not make special reference to the manner which Bridget Judge. Mr Bowie's servant maid. worked in the carrying of water from the river. Positively she was worth any two men present. Mr Keighron’s employees worked with a good will, but there was on this occasion an absence of the confusion and bother which formerly prevailed in this town at fires owing to the manner in which the Brigade went to work—as trained men”.⁴
Amongst other things, Patrick Keighron was a committee member for the Sligo Dispensary in 1882. The Dispensary was set up in Charles Street to assist in the medical relief of the poor. It appears he fell foul of the committee’s Doctor for being too generous with the issuing of dispensary tickets to the less fortunate townspeople of Sligo. During an exchange of words in the monthly committee meeting, Patrick read aloud a letter from Dr Laird.
“…in which he complained that he had received more tickets from Mr Keighron than all the members combined. The letter also contained an expression of opinion as to Mr Keighron’s position, in regard to his Issuing an enormous number of ineligible tickets”.⁵
Dr Laird may have been uncomfortable with having his letter of complaint read out as he stated the letter was intended to be private, between Patrick Keighron and himself.
Patrick lost his wife Honoria in 1885 when she was 56 years of age and less than a year later he lost his daughter Teresa aged 22.
Another fire at Patrick’s premises in Bridge Street on the morning of Weds 18th November 1891 caused damage to a store where turf stacked against a wall had been ignited by a fire the other side of the wall. The fire was contained before it could reach approximately twenty barrels filled with paraffin.⁶
In 1895 Patrick’s son Michael James died following a short illness after attending mass at the town’s cathedral.
Patrick Keighron resigned his position on the Board of Sligo Harbour Commissioners in April 1906 due to failing health. He had reached the age of 92 years old upon his death on the 1st August 1906 and the town lost one it’s most recognisable citizens.
“By the death of Mr. Patrick Keighron, J.P., Sligo has lost one of her most popular, upright and benevolent citizens, and the announcement of the sad event will, undoubtedly, evoke feelings of genuine regret amongst the inhabitants of the town and county of Sligo, who were acquainted with his many qualities of heart and head. His passing away to eternity will cause many to pause and reflect upon the life of an exemplary Christian, whose name was a synonym of transparent honesty, unostentatious generosity, and honourable dealing. These are virtues which ennoble human nature and constitute the individual the embodiment of public edification. Few men, indeed, have passed from our midst leaving such an honourable record to posterity as the estimable gentleman who breathed his soul to his Eternal Father on Wednesday last, at the residence of his daughter, Mrs Higgins, St. Helens, Sligo”.⁷
Patrick was interred at the Higgins / Keighron family vault in Sligo Cemetery. A large limestone obelisk bears the names of other family members and members of the Higgins family.
- Sligo Independent. Sat 20th November 1875.
- Sligo Independent. Sat 12th November 1881.
- Sligo Independent. Sat 1st April 1882.
- Sligo Independent. Sat 21st November 1891.
- Sligo Independent. Sat 1st April 1906.
- Sligo Champion Sat. 4th August 1906.
|Date of Birth||1st Jan 1814|
|Date of Death||1st Aug 1906|
|Occupation||Merchant, grocery business and bakery|
|Names of Siblings||John and Michael|
|Names of Children||Mary|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||Honoria|