Rev. Louis O’Kane (1906-73): Priest of Aghaloo & Eglish, and Revolutionary Recorder. Tuesday 13 Oct At 8.00pm The Brantry BARD Centre

The diverse career and remarkable historical collections of Rev. Louis O’Kane, who served as a priest in Aghaloo and Eglish parishes, will form the subject of the next talk hosted by the O Neill Country Historical Society, at the Brantry BARD Centre, on Tuesday 13 October at 8.00 pm.

Dobbyn OKane and Eddie Boyle 1963 (1)

Dobbyn, OKane and Eddie Boyle 1963 (1)

Dr Dónal McAnallen of the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Library and Archive will discuss Fr O’Kane’s clerical career – which culminated in his appointment as parish priest of Aghaloo from 1966 until his death in 1973 – and his collection of historical material, much of which is of national significance today. Above all, his 100-plus recorded interviews with former Irish Volunteers and War of Independence veterans and witnesses in the 1963-73 period, stand out as historical treasures during this ‘decade of centenaries’. These tapes, which can be described as the ‘Boston College tapes of their day’, were kept securely until all involved had passed away. The recordings were transferred from old reel-to-reel tapes to digital format for the Cardinal Ó Fiaich Library & Archive in 2013.

Most of O’Kane’s interviews were recorded during his tenure in Aghaloo. Indeed he carried out several of them in the parochial house in Aughnacloy. While there also, he systematically recorded the BBC and RTÉ radio news each morning, lunchtime and evening from 1969 to 1973, during the early years of the modern ‘Troubles’. His collection of over 200 reels of news from that period may exceed the holdings of the stations themselves today. One of the many artefacts that O’Kane kept in his domestic ‘museum’ was a cartridge found around the scene of the GPO, Dublin, during Easter week 1916. He received this item from a parishioner, Pat McFadden, who had been working in Dublin that day in 1916 and happened upon the scene of the Easter Rising.

Many of those whom O’Kane interviewed came from or had connections to Co. Tyrone. Within this talk, audio excerpts will be played of some the interviews with veterans of these Volunteers, as well as from a recording of Thomas Clarke’s widow, Kathleen, made in Dungannon in 1968.

The Brantry BARD Centre is a fitting venue for the talk, situated as it is on the border of the two Tyrone parishes once served by Rev. O’Kane.

Tuesday 13 Oct  At 8.00pm at The Brantry BARD Centre

Refreshments Served & All are Welcome