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canon padraic s. (“pa”) o'morain,

Posted by Royal on August 08, 2007 at 16:47:36:

Whilst surfing the net, I came across a site about Claregalway in which details are given about a Parish Priest named Canon Padraic S. (“Pa”) O'Morain, a native of Castlebar,? who was ordained on 17th of June 1900, at the age of 25.He had a peculiar habit of “vaulting” over gates,which startled a lot of people. A devotee of the Irish language,he used to quiz the pupils on the Gospel in Irish which terrified them. Particularly strict with children at first confession: on one occasion he expressed satisfaction with only two pupils from among the first communicants.
Householders were very terrified when their turn for the “stations” came round. Initially he would satisfy himself as to the sturdiness of the table-cum-altar, after which he invariably lifted the cloth to check for dirt. If he found it necessary to clean the table and use his own cloth it meant embarrassment for the family. By all accounts he appeared to have been a domineering man, although it seems that anybody who stood up to him fared well. Another aspect of his character was his well-known love of dogs. He met a man in Montiagh, out with his dog once and because his own dogs were named in Irish and understood Irish, he said "Dia dhuit, a Sheain, bhfuil Bearla ag an madra?" to which the man replied. "Nil a Athair, ach tuigeann se.”
Evidence shows that he was involved in the 1916 events, not directly, but he did supply two revolvers to the forces gathering at Moyode & was also rumoured to have been a member of Sinn Fein.
The Black and Tans’ frequent raids on his house obliged him to sleep away from home, often staying as a guest of Mrs Greated in Lydacan Castle. Later when the castle was burnt down during the agrarian troubles, Canon Moran rebuked the people, and put a curse on the land saying that it wouldn't yield crops.
He also removed a fellow republican, and later a renowned poet, Mairtin O’Cadhain from his post as headmaster in Carnmore school. Mr O’Cadhain had been drilling the pupils in out of the way fields in Carnmore, using their 'camáns', but it appears that the single incident that precipitated the demise of the once strong friendship actually occurred inside the school building. The headmaster had a photograph of James Connolly displayed in the school and when Canon Moran saw it, he told him to take it down as he was, in the Canon's word a "communist". Mr. O'Cadhain refused and from that confrontation, things went rapidly downhill.
The Canon who had been unwell for some eighteen months prior to his death, as a result of an accident when he was knocked down by a lorry while returning from the funeral of a parishioner, became “eccentric” to say the least.
Another close friend, with whom relations became strained, was the then Bishop of Galway, Dr Michael Browne. At a Confirmation Mass in Claregalway, the Canon vaulted the altar rails, an action that so displeased the bishop that he ordered him into the sacristy and reprimanded him. The coolness between the two clergymen seems to have persisted to the very end. When the Canon was on his deathbed, the Bishop visited him with a view to reconciling their differences. It is said however, that the Canon stubborn to the last, foiled the bishop’s good intentions by pretending he was already dead. He died on 8th July 1946. However the Bishop paid him a tribute at his funeral. He also commented on the Canon's strong feelings and positive convictions on many subjects, which, he said may have caused offence to some people, but that on that day everyone should forgive. (This message must not have made much of an impression on Mairtin O'Cadhain, who is reputed to have danced on the Canon’s grave). On a final note, the esteem in which Canon Moran was held was evidenced by the presence at his funeral of an t-Uachtaran Sean T O’Ceallaigh and an Taoiseach Eamon De Valera.

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