Remembering Br. Keohane

The PPU are saddened to hear of the passing of former secondary school principal Br. Patrick (Paul) Keohane. Br. Keohane died Thursday last (19/9) in Callan, Co. Kilkenny. May he rest in peace.

Br. Keohane joined the Christian Brothers at the age of 17 and served them for 56 years.

Born in January 1946 he was raised in The Lough Parish in Cork City. He received his primary & secondary education at the Christian Brothers School Sullivan’s Quay where he later taught as a Christian Brother in the Primary School. Following studies at UCC he qualified as a secondary teacher and taught in CBC Cork prior to his appointment as Principal of Midleton CBS in 1981 when he succeeded Br. Michael Kavanagh who had served in the position for the previous 3 years. Br. Keohane also became Superior of the Community of Christian Brothers in the Midleton Monastery at this time. 

Br. Keohane’s tenure as Principal saw pupil numbers rise significantly at the school. He oversaw the building of the first extension of purpose-built classrooms since the new school was built in the early 1970’s. He succeeded in appointing the school’s first full-time Secretary to assist with office and administrative duties. He also developed the first gym in the school as well as introducing other significant improvements to facilities. He was responsible for the purchase of the school’s first mini-bus which saw the introduction of orienteering and other pursuits for the benefit of students that still pertain to the present.

Among the student body he came to be known as “The Boss” and earned their widespread respect and admiration for his efforts on their behalf. Being a Christian Brother and devoted to the charism of Edmund Rice he was particularly keen to attend to the spiritual welfare of the students entrusted to his care. He introduced innovative programmes such as Christian Care, Social & Health education, a Taize prayer group and a Retreat programme for senior pupils and appointed the first qualified Catechetics teachers to the school staff.

His tenure as Principal also saw the appointment of a number of new teachers with a keen interest in gaelic games which heralded the dawn of a new era of sporting success in Midleton CBS. The school began to compete once again in the Dr. Harty Cup Senior Hurling championship and the school contested two Harty Finals during his term as Principal. Dean Ryan White Cup and Rice Cup successes were achieved during this period also. 

Having completed his 6 year term as Principal in June 1987 he was persuaded to embark on a totally new challenge; to serve as a Brother in a new mission to be established in Paraguay, South America. He then spent some time in Buenos Aires before arriving in Lima, Peru where he spent the last number of years working with the families of the hills, who affectionately called him “Little Brother”.

Br. Keohane continued to have a connection with the school and when home in Ireland he often called in to catch up with friends and share his experiences of South America with student groups, most recently only a week ago.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis.

Thanks to Paul Kelly for his contribution to this article.

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