Father John Kenyon was one of the most outspoken Catholic priests of nineteenth century Ireland. He was recognised nationally for his views on controversial issues such as the practice of physical force, and slavery, as well as the contribution of O’Connell to Irish life. Perhaps his greatest contribution was his valiant efforts to relieve distress during the Great Famine, his constant concern for the sick and dying of his parish and his deep appreciation of the beauties of nature in his beloved Templederry. His name will be forever etched in the immortal words of:
Templederry My Home
right home of my childhood there’s no place like thee,
Thy mountain, thy wild woods, thy vale and thy lea.
No matter wherever I’m bound for to roam,
I will never forger you Templederry my home.
Where the cascades roll down the dark mountains between,
And the moonlight sleeps calm on the breast of Cooneen.
Where the bright river sparkles their feathery foam,
And the shamrock decked vale on Templederry my home.
Your beautiful new church towers high in the air,
And the Angelus bells call the faithful to prayer,
How sweet is the sound of its high ringing tone,
Seems to say: Heaven bless you Templederry my home.
But there is one spot thats far dearer than all.
Enclosed in your beautiful new chapel wall,
Where often I silently wept as I prayed
O’er the grave where the immortal John Kenyon is laid.
For he had the spirit to dare and to do,
The star of our priesthood, the noble and true,
How proudly he’d die to give Erin her own
On thy the green mountain side – Templederry my home.
But let us hope on ‘till sweet liberty smiles,
And radiantly beams o’er our Emerald Isle,
When the common black slab from his grave shall be thrown,
And a monument raised in ‘Templederry my home’.