Donie’s poignant last journey in the town that loved him

The late great Donie Sheahan

KILLARNEY has bid a poignant final and fond farewell to the late great pharmacist, community man, sporting personality and larger than life character Donie Sheahan who was laid to rest this Saturday following Requiem Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral.

Donie, who was in his 96th year, was remembered during the course of the Mass as a man who had the wisdom of Solomon and right judgement in abundance.

“What a week the Lord chose to call Donie home, during the Harvest Festival of the races in his native Listowel and with the news of a new but returning Kerry manager. There should have been the world of chat for Donie with all of that but, alas, rather than excitement, there is great sadness in the talk of the passing of a local legend,” said chief celebrant, Fr Niall Howard, reflecting on the retired pharmacist’s passion for horseracing and the GAA.

He said Donie was known for his ability to judge an ailment and prescribe a treatment for humans or animals and he would offer a bottle, a tonic or a dose with no list of ingredients but when people know it came from Donie Sheahan, there was 100 per cent trust in his judgement.

Fr Niall Howard: Celebrant

Fr Niall recalled the many successes Donie enjoyed with racehorses of the calibre of For Bill and Dromhale Lady which brought many cheers from punters and led to many pay-outs by the bookies.

He also reflected on his involvement with East Kerry and Kerry teams and his devotion to the Dr Crokes GAA club, as a 1951 county championship winning player and, later, as a trainer, selector, officer, treasurer, chairman and patron but, most importantly of all, as an ardent supporter.

“Donie was a gentleman and always a wonderful pleasure to meet. You left from him the better,” Fr Niall said.

The chief celebrant also remembered a dedicated family man, a great husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather who thought nothing of his Sunday or Christmas Day dinner being interrupted when someone came to the door in need of help from their local chemist for someone who was sick at home.

The Requiem Mass was con-celebrated by Bishop Bill Murphy, Canon Tom Looney, Canon James Linnane, Fr Anthony Jukes, Fr Caoimhin O’Laide and Fr Paddy O’Donoghue.

Reflecting on his father’s life from the altar, at the close of the ceremony, Kieran Sheahan said Donie had a wonderfully long life and a very peaceful passing.

Club legend Donie Sheahan salutes the Dr Crokes players as they pass his Main Street pharmacy following the 2017 All-Ireland Club Championship victory

“I would like to acknowledge our father’s contribution to the life of Killarney and, in particular, his service to the community through the pharmacy and the hospitals,” he said.

Kieran divulged that Donie originally had ambitions to become a jockey but his mother persuaded him otherwise and he qualified instead as a pharmacist after attending college in Dublin and he moved to Killarney in the early 1950’s.

“His skill and compassion for those in need of urgent medical care was legendary. His pharmacy resembled a minor surgery at times,” said Kieran who is a doctor in Dublin.

Following a poignant last journey through the streets of the town where everybody knew his name, with past and present staff from his Main Street pharmacy forming a guard of honour as the cortege passed by, Donie was laid to rest at Aghadoe Lawn Cemetery.

The Dr Crokes club, neighbours and friends formed a guard of honour outside Donie’s home at Lewis Road adjacent to the black and amber club grounds and overlooking Fitzgerald Stadium where he spent so much time during his long and busy life.