Fr. Michael Kennedy Statue

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Michael Kennedy was born in the townland of Corrogurm, Mitchelstown, in 1850 the son of a tenant farmer whose holding of 14 acres was part of the Kingston estate. Fr Kennedy studied for the priesthood in the Irish College in Paris and was ordained in Waterford in 1875. His first six years as a priest were spent in Liverpool in the parish of Old Swan where he was extremely popular, so much so that he was presented with a purse of gold sovereigns and an illuminated address. Upon Leaving Liverpool he returned to Cork taking up chaplaincy in Youghal in 1881. His return coincided with the Land War period and Fr Kennedy supported the local farmers in their struggles with high rents. Fr Kennedy then moved to Meelin, Co Cork, to take up the position of curate. While in Meelin, Fr Kennedy continued to work on behalf of farmers, attending Land League meetings around the Cork and supported the Plan of Campaign whereby farmers offered what they considered a fair rent to the landlord and if this was refused the money went into a fund used to defend those under threat of eviction. In 1888 Fr Kennedy was brought to court for his activities with the Land League and spent two months in jail in Cork. Shortly after his release, Fr Kennedy was sentenced to another three months in jail. Due to his work, Fr Kennedy became a national hero amongst farmers and the poor, and attracted large crowds wherever he went. In 1891 Fr. Kennedy was transferred to Dungourney, in 1895 to Blarney and finally to Fermoy in 1901 where his concern for the poor and underprivileged endeared him to all. In 1911 Fr. Kennedy fell ill and was taken to Dublin for treatment. Sensing his time was up he requested to return to Fermoy to die. Hi final days were spent in the care of the Blue Nuns at Monument Hill. Fr. Kennedy died on 8th of March 1912. As a mark of honor Fr. Kennedys coffin was carried to through the town from St Patricks church and back again to the burial site. It was decided to erect a suitable memorial to Fr Kennedy after he died. This could not happen immediately due to the political dynamic of the time, through the Easter Rising, War of Independence and the Irish Civil War. It was only in the mid 1920's the statue was commissioned and given to Mr Doyle-Jones, who carried out stutes in of of John Mandeville in Mitchelstown and Canon Sheehan in Donerail. The Statue was unveiled on the 17th of October 1926.