Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Photographs / Athy Credit Union / Blessing of Geraldine Park

A further set of photographs from Athy's past is this weeks offering for the Eye on the Past.  Athy Credit Union was established in 1968 and the first photograph shows the directors of the Credit Union at one of the earliest Director's meetings.  The two young men at either end of the table were members of the local Urban District Council where Frank English still remembers a member.  Jim McEvoy has long retired from local politics and carries on a successful bar business at the top of Leinster Street.  The five other men should be well known, but see if you can identify them.

The second photograph is of the blessing of Geraldine Park sometime in the early 1950's.  I haven't been able to check out the date but I believe the occasion was the re-opening of Geraldine Park after the refurbishment of the pitch and the construction of the spectator embankments.  However, I would welcome hearing from anyone who can positively identify the occasion and confirm the date the photograph was taken. 

The priest blessing the pitch was the local Parish Priest, Canon McDonnell, after whom McDonnell Drive was named.  Standing with his right hand extended is John W. Kehoe who was a publican in Offaly Street and who for many years served as Chairman of the Geraldine Grounds Committee.  He was the principal organiser of the annual draw which the local G.A.A. Club ran for several years in the 1950's to raise funds for the refurbishment of Geraldine Park.  The first prize of a Hillman car and a caravan aroused great interest around the country as the Athy ticket sellers went from town to town during the summer months. 

The man on the right of the photograph is Fintan Brennan, District Court Clerk for Athy and a former member of the I.R.A. who was imprisoned during the War of Independence.  A former president of the Leinster Council G.A.A. Fintan was an important figure in the G.A.A. at club and county level.  The altar boys are not known, but if you can identify them I would be delighted to hear from you.

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