Joe McKeon, Sligo and Castleisland – First Anniversary Mass on Friday at

Joe and Paula McKeon pictured at their surprise farewell party at The Half Barrel Bar in Castleisland in February 2001. ©Photograph: John Reidy 10-2-2001

A Co. Sligo couple with many friends and happy memories of time spent in Castleisland were sadly parted this time last year.

Joe and Paula McKeon spent 12 years living and working as a couple in the Castleisland area up to their departure in the spring of 2001.

There was a big farewell party in The Half Barrel Bar on a Saturday night just prior to their departure where friends and neighbours from both Sligo and this locality mixed to give them a send off which reflected their popularity and the impact they made of those they befriended here.

Sadly, Joe McKeon or ‘Scobie’ as he was known at home in Sligo, died suddenly on November 18th in 2020 and his first anniversary falls on this Friday.

Joe, who first came to Castleisland in 1976 and stayed at The Crown Hotel, worked in the agriculture services industry at that time and and later with Castlemahon – the poultry company.

Paula, was a well known and popular member of Lyons Insurance office on Main Street and before that she worked at the Castle Tavern during Terence O’Connor’s term there.

Presentations were made to the couple on that Saturday night 20 years ago as friends and neighbours wished them every good luck with their future plans.

Joe McKeon and Paula Taheny grew up as neighbours in the Gurteen area of Co. Sligo and married there in 1989.

As their Castleisland years drew to a close, the couple moved back to their roots in Yeats’ Country with their three children, Shauna, Shelly and Conor and lots of good wishes from the friends they made here went with them.

As she marks Joe’s first anniversary this week, Paula has thanked all their neighbours and friends, medical professionals, the clergy and the undertakers in their locality in Sligo for their support and solidarity in helping her and her family through the heartbreak and sadness of his unexpected passing.

She also thanks the people who travelled long and short distances to be with them in their days of need. And she mentioned their friends from Castleisland who sent messages and who would have been there but for the Covid restrictions which prevailed at the time.

Joe’s first anniversary Mass will be celebrated at 6:30pm on this Friday, November 19th. 2021 at St. Patrick’s Church, Gurteen. The Mass will be live-streamed on :

A memorial service and celebration of Joe’s life will take place at a later date when Joe’s daughter, Shelley can travel home from Australia.

In Joe’s honour this week, Paula included a few lines appropriate to his outlook on life and to his memory.

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.

I’d like to leave a afterglow of smiles when life is done.

I’d like to leave an echo, whispering down the ways of happy times,

laughing times and bright sunny days.

I’d like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun, of happy memories that I leave when life is done.

Sadly missed by all those who knew him, RIP Joe.

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