Always Together: Helen and Aeneas Leane Pass Away Within Days of Each Other

Fond farewells to Aeneas and Helen Leane who died within a couple of weeks of each other. Here they’re getting pride of place in the year of their 60 wedding anniversary in the 2017 Castleisland St. Patrick’s Day Parade in a chauffeur driven vintage Beauford in appreciation of the work they did in establishing the parade in 1989.  ©Photograph: John Reidy 17-3-2017
St. Patrick’s Day Parade founder, Helen Hussey-Leane pictured with Árd Rí Michael McGillicuddy as they watch the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Castleisland. And, in her post retirement perch upstairs at home at No. 7 Lower Main Street keeping an eye on the 2013 parade in patriotic attire.  ©Photographs: John Reidy 17-3-1989 and 17-3-2013.

The death has occurred of Helen Leane, nee Hussey, 7 Lower Main Street, Castleisland, Co. Kerry. Peacefully on January 9th 2022 in her 86th year, in the presence of her loving family in the excellent care of the staff of the Mercy Hospital Cork.

Beloved wife of the recently deceased Aeneas on December 30th. 2021.

Sadly missed and fondly remembered by her loving family: Catherine, Paula, Aeneas and Damien, son-in-law Tim, daughter-in-law Catherine, her adored seven grandchildren Kieran in Perth; Paul and Jake in Sydney, Mark and Alisha in Cork; Brendan and Áine in Boston and her cherished five great-grandchildren: Robert, Cara, Cillian, Tessa and Erica, brother-in-law Noel, nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and a large circle of friends.

Predeceased by her loving sister Norma Dowd, brothers Jimmy, Paddy, Michael and John.

May Her Gentle Soul Rest In Peace.

Community Contributions Marked in 2017

There was ne’er a mention of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Castleisland until Aeneas and Helen Leane lobbied for support and mobilised the schools and the clubs for the first parade ever in 1989.

It was successful well beyond all imaginings and has continued since.

Their outstanding contribution to the community was marked by parade organisers in 2017 when Charlie Farrelly spoke to Declan McGaley and Aeneas and Helen were picked up at home at Lower Main Street and chauffeured through the town at the head of the parade as a mark of appreciation, respect and thanks for the solid foundation work they did all those years ago.

There were only two years that the event didn’t go ahead.

One of these was a misunderstanding between several local groups after the Leanes had retired; the other was the year of the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001.

Married in 1957

Helen was born on December 22-1936 and lived at the top-of-the-town with her parents, Maggie and Mick Hussey and her siblings. She had four brothers and one sister.

Helen married the love of her life, Aeneas Leane from Anna, Currow when she was 21. They had four children.

A community activist who never took no as a satisfactory answer, Helen was instrumental in getting Castleisland’s most famous landmark, The Fountain back into working order in the early 1970s.

The project achieved national notoriety as it was covered by Frank Hall’s Telifís Éireann evening programe, Hall’s Pictorial Weekly.

Invite from Frank Hall

Frank Hall kept in touch with the Leanes over the years and, in fact, they were invited to his retirement party when he put his final ‘Pictorial Weekly’ to bed in 1986.

Helen’s is a well known face locally as she did the Castleisland Bingo office for years.

Chatting with Ned Burke yesterday he told me that Helen was the first woman in Castleisland to organise a Christmas party for the senior citizens of the area – and long before she sailed into that age category herself.

She was involved up to her elbows in the tops-of-the-town at a time when her type of involvement was crucial to the plans to build a community centre in Castleisland.

Commitment and Determination

Those plans came to fruition on the back of that kind of commitment and determination across the community.

“Castleisland is a great town and we have some wonderful friends and neighbours here and that is so important in life,” said Helen reflecting during her 80th birthday celebrations and on her surroundings in the town she loved so well.

While there have been some great people involved in the success of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Castleisland down through the years, including the likes of: Teddy McCarthy, John Skevena O’Sullivan, Árd Rí Michael McGillicuddy, RIP; the  late Michael O’Callaghan and now Cllr. Charlie Farrelly, it was indeed Helen and Aeneas Leane who got the patriotic feet on the street first, away back on that cold windswept St. Patrick’s Day in 1989. 

After she and Aeneas retired she always kept an eye on the event’s progress from her upstairs perch at No. 7 Lower Main Street. May God be good to them all.

Helen’s Funeral Arrangements

Requiem Mass for Helen will be celebrated on Wednesday morning at 11am in Castleisland Parish Church.

The Mass will be live-streamed on

Burial afterwards in St. John’s Cemetery Castleisland. Family flowers only please. House Private Please

Funeral Cortège Route

Please Note: Helen’s funeral cortège will depart her residence at 10:30am on Wednesday and travel via Barrack Street en route to the church. 

Depart from the church at 12 noon and travel up Church Street and then passing down her residence, stopping briefly, before proceeding up the Main Street en route to the cemetery.

Please Ensure HSE Guidelines on Social Distancing are Adhered to at all Times.

Date Published: Monday 10th January 2022. Date of Death: Sunday 9th January 2022.

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