'Great friend and confidant' Monsignor Dan Neenan leaves Limerick parish after 15 years

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

Monsignor Dan Neenan is becoming the parish priest of Adare

Monsignor Dan Neenan is becoming the parish priest of Adare

MONALEEN residents are this week saying goodbye to their beloved parish priest, Monsignor Dan Neenan, who is leaving the parish after 15 years as he prepares to take the reins in Adare from next week.

Described as “a great friend and confidant”, the priest will be moving from the busy family area of Monaleen and Castletroy, to the West Limerick village sometimes known as the county’s wedding capital.

Principal of Monaleen National School, Tony Cahill, said that he will “certainly miss him dearly” having worked alongside him on the school’s board of management.

“He has actually been associated with the school here since 1985, when he was Diocesan advisor. He has a great sense of humour and is very warm and very pleasant, and he is very good with the children — the kids always loved when he came to visit the school,” said the principal.

“He has always been very much involved with the children in the school, no matter what was going on. He would have baptised so many of them, and he was so involved in the communions, confirmations, and so on over the years.

“Anything that was going on in the school, like book fairs, concerts, sports events that the kids were involved in, he was always there supporting Monaleen. He has been on the board of management for the school since he became parish priest in 2002, and he’ll be hugely missed from there as well. He’s a man of very sharp intellect, very bright and always saw a solution to any problem very quickly,” said Mr Cahill.

Last week, staff from Monaleen made a presentation to Mgr Neenan, to thank him for his dedicated service to the school.

“Even to me, as principal of the school, I would say that he was always a great friend and a great confidante, and always very supportive and helpful and obliging. I will certainly miss him dearly,” said Mr Cahill.

While Adare is sure to present itself challenging, due to the high volume of occasions usually taking place in the tourist village, Mgr Neenan will certainly have less schoolchildren to deal with.

There are more than 1300 pupils in Castletroy College, 885 in Monaleen NS, approximately 500 at Milford NS and another 250 or so in the Gaelscoil.

“There’s a huge young population in this area and it is time-consuming. The one thing about Mgr Neenan is that he would never say no, he would be there to see everybody at every occasion, and he always had the right word for every occasion, be it a wedding or a baptism or a funeral. And we’ve had situations here that have been quite tragic, but he always knew what to say. He is a great communicator,” said the Monaleen principal.

The parish has already welcomed the Monsignor’s successor, Canon Gerard Garrett, and Mgr Neenan is due to move to Adare in the coming week, pending the completion of his new accommodation adjoining the original parochial house, where retired priest Fr Frank Moriarty still lives.

Fr Joe Noonan, who is now retiring from Adare, is believed to also be remaining in the locality.