BISHOP CASEY MEMORIAL PARK
The recent restoration of the ornamental entrance to Bishop Casey Memorial Park merits a reminder of who the said Bishop Casey was.
Patrick Casey, later Bishop of Ross, was born in 1873 in Ballynoe, Conna. His father was Owen Casey, one of a farming family of Castlequarter, Kilbehenny, near Mitchelstown. This family would give many vocations to the Church, one being Fr. Patrick, who served as a priest in Mallow from 1918 to 1934. He was appointed PP Newmarket in 1934 and appointed Bishop of Ross in 1935. He died in 1940. He is buried outside the pro-cathedral church in Skibbereen.
After ordination Fr. Patrick Casey did post graduate studies in Maynooth and subsequently taught at St. Colman’s College in Fermoy before being appointed a professor, lecturing in theology, at the major seminary in Kilkenny for five years. On completion of that appointment he served as curate in Fermoy before being appointed to Mallow. He dedicated much time to developing the GAA to provide sport in Mallow.
There were many other vocations in the family. One uncle, Fr. Daniel Casey, was also a priest of the diocese of Cloyne and died Parish Priest of Glanworth in 1867. Another uncle, who became very famous, was a priest of the Diocese of Cloyne who was loaned to the Diocese of Limerick after his ordination. He was appointed curate to Abbey-feale. He would remain there for the rest of his life, both as curate and parish priest. He played a major part in the transfer of land from tenant-ship to ownership for farmers and is commemorated by a statue in his memory as The Land League Priest in the centre of Abbeyfeale town.
A brother of Bishop Patrick, Fr John Casey, (an tAthair Eoin in Irish) would also serve in the diocese of Cloyne. He died a curate in Ballymacoda aged 54 and is buried there.
A First cousin, Fr. Pat Hurley, is buried in Macroom. Another First cousin, Bridie O’Donnell, became Sr. Brendan of Mercy Convent, Mallow. Her sister, Maggie O’Donnell, became Sr. Enda of the La Salette Union Sisters. Two other religious sisters were numbered among the religious of the family. Another, Willie O’Donnell, became a Christian Brother, but had to leave for health reasons.
Bishop Patrick’s aunt Norah married Tom O’Donnell who had 4 nieces nuns and 4 nephews priests. This makes a total of 18 vocations from the family nucleus of Bishop Patrick Casey.