The Late Patrick ‘Sonny’ O’Reilly, College Road, Castleisland, Co. Kerry

The late Lily and Sonny O’Reilly, College Road celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with a party at Michael Burke’s Bar in Castleisland in 2006. Sonny’s death was announced last night and Lily died in October 2022.  ©Photograph: John Reidy 11-2-2006
Sunday clothes on Barrack Street in the late 1940s: The O’Reilly stone cutting family at home on Barrack Street, Castleisland with: Sonny (left) with his parents, Paddy and Johanna and brother Joe. Photograph: Michael Reidy

The death has occurred of Patrick ‘Sonny’ O’Reilly, No. 5 College Road, Castleisland, Co. Kerry.

February 5th 2024, very peacefully at his home. Husband of the late Ellen ‘Lily’ and very deeply regretted by his daughters: Dolores, Nellie, Caroline and Mary, sons: Paddy, John Joe, Joe, James and Mark, brother Bill, sons in law, daughters in law, brothers in law, sisters in law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces, cousins, relatives, kind neighbours and many friends. May he Rest in Peace.

Family Home on Barrack Street

The death of Sonny O’Reilly at close on his 100th year severs the final Castleisland connection with the original family home on Barrack Street. Sonny’s only remaining sibling, Billy has lived for many years in Lixnaw.

A family of stone-cutters, there was always a strong bond of friendship between my father Michael Reidy and the O’Reillys from his time as a grocer’s and publican’s apprentice at Tom Browne’s shop and pub at No. 42 Main Street, Castleisland.

The O’Reilly’s workshop was on the Old Church Lane and there was a back entrance to Tom Browne’s from the lane.

The family of tradesmen would all take their break together and their place of rest was close to the back door of the bar in Browne’s.

Creatures of Habit

Creatures of habit, my father would have their pints of stout ready for the head when they landed in. He could set his activity to closer than the minute so regular were they.

The break never went to waste as the business of the day and the following days were discussed and all the boys and the father Paddy had an equal say in the schedule of work.

So fine tuned and important was the relationship between stone-cutters and barman that one of the boys would pop in the back door and inform the barman that they’d be out at a graveyard erecting a headstone on any given day and that they’d be back in the evening. Apparently they had a just as particular time in the evenings also – if they missed the mid-morning break.

A Crate of Stout Evening

My abiding memory of the O’Reilly’s is the evening I met them on the Tralee Road in the early 1960’s as they were heading for our house to see the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem on television for the first time. I was going in to Davy Griffin’s for the evening paper and the boys were kicking a fir cone back along the road. There was: Joe, Billy and Sonny, Kitty Mai and Mary and their mother Johanna. That would have been another crate of stout evening as neighbours, Jamesie Geaney, Jerry Twomey and Denis Leane were already seated for the performance.

From the death notice above I wasn’t a bit surprised to see that Sonny died ‘very peacefully’ – as that’s exactly how he lived. May God be good to him.

Sonny’s Funeral Arrangements 

Reposing this Wednesday evening, February 7th from 6pm at his home V92 YR80 followed by evening prayers at 7.30pm.

Removal to arrive Thursday to the Church of Saints Stephen and John, Castleisland, for Requiem Mass at 11am followed by burial afterwards to St John’s Cemetery, Castleisland.

Sonny’s Requiem Mass will be live streamed. Please click on the link here:

Family flowers only please, donations, in lieu, to Kerry Hospice Foundation.

Date Published: Monday, February 5th 2024. Date of Death: Monday,February 5th 2024.

You can contact The Maine Valley Post on… Anyone in The Maine Valley Post catchment area who would like to send us news and captioned photographs for inclusion can send them to: Queries about advertising and any other matters regarding The Maine Valley Post can also be sent to that address or just ring: 087 23 59 467.