Mountrath honours Dr. Daniel Delaney
MEMBERS of the Mountrath Development Association have decided to honour founder of local schools Dr. Daniel Delaney, in the year that both the Brigidine Secondary School in Mountrath, and the Patrician Brothers in Ballyfin close their doors for the last time this summer.
A meeting was held recently in order to set up the ‘Dr. Delaney Memorial Fund’, with the hope of providing a lasting memorial to the Paddock native who brought education to the town 200 years ago.
A committee was elected at this meeting who will be organising fundraising for the memorial, with the following members: president Dr. Pat O’ Dwyer, vice president Michael Lalor MCC, chairperson Anne Hetherington, secretary Marie Phelan and treasurer Maura Reynolds.
Dr. Delaney was born on a small farm in Paddock, situated a few miles away from Mountrath. His own education began in a hedge school in nearby Briscola. Shortly after, as a result of the Penal Laws Dr. Delaney was smuggled to France where he completed his education and became a priest in 1770.
A few years later he returned to his home town, and was appaled at the living conditions and situation in Ireland. Upon his return he decided to stay, forsaking a career in the church. He became a curate in the church in Tullow, finishing his career as Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin in 1787.
He threw himself into his work, and strived to give people a proper education, as he believed this was the only way away from the poverty, misery and violence that was widespread at the time.
With this he founded two small orders - the Brigidine Sisters and the Patrician Brothers, who quickly went from strength to strength, both of which surviving on their own funding. Both schools have been important in the education of thousands of young people in the locality over the last 200 years, and many in the locality will be sad to see them close their doors, as they make way for a new secondary school.
The Mountrath Development Association recognise Dr. Daniel Delaney’s huge contribution to education in the area, and have set up a bank account to accept donations. The account is under the name ‘Dr. Daniel Delaney Fund’ with the number 23572546, and it is set up in Bank of Ireland in Mountrath. The bank will accept donations from individuals and groups and the committee are currently planning fundraising events. They welcome all help and suggestions from the community of Mountrath.
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