The late Victor Kiernan (1936 - 2022)
Died on the 11th of November 2022, aged 86 years
In the early hours of Friday morning 11th November 2022, Victor passed away surrounded by his family in Mullingar General Hospital. His death something of a shock to family and friends despite his recent stay in hospital and his maturing years, 86 years young. Some of us thought Victor could live forever!
Victor the eldest of 5 Children born to Sonny and Margaret Kiernan (nee Begley). His siblings Mary, Bridie, John & Nan all emigrated to the USA, while his brother Tom (Brady) resides in Longford town. Tom Brady was reared at the Forge by Margaret and Sonny Kiernan owing to the untimely death of his mother when he was an infant.
Victor married Evelyn (nee Keogh) in August 1966 and they had 10 Children - Denice, Elaine, Micheal (RIP), Gerard, Justin, Christopher, Yvonne, Lorell, Alicia & Vanessa.
Victor left school at the age of 14 (common at that time) to take up his apprenticeship with his father in the Forge. Sonny Kiernan’s health was deteriorating, and Victor had to step up and take over the running of the Forge. Some years later, Victor evolved the family business to adapt with the changing times and completed a course in wielding. In addition to offering blacksmith services he made gates, railings, trailers and all other iron works, he also opened petrol pumps.
Victor was a keen farmer with his love of animals stemming from his work as a Blacksmith. Victor also traded as an Auctioneer for many years having established a partnership ‘Doherty & Kiernan Auctioneers’ with his good friend Mickey Doherty.
Owing to Victor’s good and respected character, Victor was nominated as a Peace Commissioner – an honorary appointment made by the Minister for Justice under Section 88 of the Courts of Justice Act .
Victor was always passionate about politics and an avid supporter of Fine Gael. It was a life ambition of Victor’s to serve as a County Councillor in Longford and in 1991 he was elected as a local representative in the Killoe / Ballinalee area, he was elected on 2 further occasions in 2004 and 2009 and retired in 2014 serving a continuous 23 years as a Councillor and holding the post of Chairman of Longford County Council in 2000/01. Victor loved his time as an elected member of Longford County Council, it was in his nature to try to help people the best he could, the comradery between his fellow political colleagues gave him great joy.
Life did serve some horrific blows to Victor, the death of his eldest son Micheal in 1996 shocked everyone to the core – life would never be the same again. It was a source of comfort to Victor to see the business developed by Micheal continue to operate as a family business with his daughters taking on the challenging task. Victor was a constant in the Forge from the day it opened, 31st March 1995, until weeks before his death, while he never worked behind the bar, he assumed every other associated role, he was always good at giving direction!! Above all he became the friendly welcoming face that young and old enjoyed engaging with, to quote some, Victor became an ‘institution ‘ of The Olde Forge.
Evelyn’s death in 2008 was a further heart break for Victor having injured some very tough times following the sudden death of his son Micheal. Victor & Evelyn deserved a reprieve from sadness, but God had other plans. When Evelyn passed, Victor was supported by his children and friends and his nightly visits to The Olde Forge helped with the loneliness.
Victor had such a presence, loved by young and old, he had a unique wit that gave rise to many bouts of laughter. Victor lived a very full life, he was never a day idle even in his later years, he continued to farm and even weeks before his death he was still carrying out works in ‘the forge’ workshop. Victor would often be spotted with a trailer after the car that had some form of a ‘job’ on board.
We are all so proud to say that Victor (Daddy) was our Dad, a truly unique man ‘an ordinary but extraordinary man’, the definition of a ‘Gentleman’, regarded as something of a Legend by many.
Tributes and testaments
The late Evelyn Kiernan (1947 - 2008)
Died on the 5th June 2008, aged 60 years
On Thursday morning, 5th June 2008, following an illness bravely borne, our dear mother Evelyn, passed away in the presence of her family in the calm surroundings of home.
Evelyn Kiernan (nee Keogh) was the eldest child of Patrick & Annie (nee Maguire) formerly of Boher, Killoe and later Edmonton, London. Evelyn had 8 siblings, Peter (deceased as an infant), Patsy, Anthony, Breda, Mairead (deceased), Rosaleen, Geraldine & Deborah.
Evelyn and her family emigrated to London when she was 14, returning regularly every summer to see her grandparents, Evelyn & Victor developed a relationship and married in August 1966. Evelyn & Victor had 10 Children, Denice, Elaine, Micheal (RIP), Gerard, Justin, Christopher, Yvonne, Lorell, Alicia & Vanessa.
Evelyn was a very hard-working woman, rearing 10 children was no easy task however she did it to perfection while maintaining the tidiest house in the parish. We never wanted for anything, thanks to her and daddy, money wasn’t plentiful, but they managed. We were always well turned out, shoes polished, clothes pressed and bows in our hair! Evelyn spent years offering the warmest of hospitality to all those who called from near and afar to the Crossroads.
Evelyn was a long-standing member of the Killoe branch of the Irish Country Women’s Association (ICA), something she described as a great outlet / escapism for women who worked in the home. The ICA enabled Evelyn to exhibit her creative side, flower arranging and gardening was a passion of Evelyn’s and she was often successful at many flower arranging competitions. She also enjoyed baking and was something of a connoisseur when it came to making fruit cakes, she made many wedding cakes.
Evelyn was passionate about her community and was involved in many community groups over the years,
for years she helped with the organising of the annual Ennybegs Senior Citizen’s Christmas dinner - she was good at getting things done. Evelyn was also a member of the Ennybegs Church Alter Society and even throughout her treatment for cancer she always found the energy to attend to cleaning duties when it was her turn on the rota. Evelyn is responsible for bringing back the tradition of erecting a Christmas tree on the alter in Ennybegs Church, this tradition has been continued on by Alicia Kiernan.
Life served Evelyn some horrific blows, the tragic death of her son Micheal in 1996, and later her own diagnosis of colon cancer in 2005. Evelyn’s cancer was at a very progressed stage when it was eventually discovered, and a remission was never going to be possible. Evelyn fought a good fight and kept high spirits throughout never feeling pity for herself, grateful for every day. In 2006, Evelyn organised a fundraiser in The Olde Forge raising c. €13,000 for Tullamore Hospital Oncology Unit, eager to try to help others in a similar situation to herself.
Mum (Evelyn) thought us all the core values in life, empathy, decency and respect for others. Evelyn was worldly wise and had a story and a saying for everything !
We can’t help but feel resentful about her early passing, she worked hard her whole life, rearing
10 kids is a fairly mammoth task ! Micheal’s death was devasting and life was dark for a very long time but the clouds were starting to disperse and Evelyn had lots to look forward to, seeing all her children grown up and her grandchildren starting to grow.
Evelyn had planned to take more holidays and spend more time with her Children who lived abroad, unfortunately this dream was short lived.
We feel fortunate to be able to call Evelyn ‘Mum’, but feel unfortunate that we didn’t have her for longer.
We can only hope someday that our children love and think as much of us and we do our Mum & Dad (Evelyn & Victor Kiernan)
The late Micheál Kiernan (1970 - 1996)
Died on the 18th October 1996, aged 25 years
Michael Francis Kiernan known as Micheál died on the 18th October 1996, 2 days short of his 26th Birthday. An untimely death, following a tragic drowning accident at Tarmonbarry, Co. Longford.
Micheal was the eldest son of Victor and Evelyn Kiernan and brother to Denice, Elaine, Gerard, Justin, Chris, Yvonne, Lorell, Alicia and Vanessa.
In his almost 26 years, he lived a very full life, at the age of 23 he pursued his dream of renovating Victor’s workshop (known as the forge) and opened a Bar (appropriately named ‘The Olde Forge’), a Grocery Shop & Filling Station and also built a new workshop to enable the steel works continue.
In December 1994, the shop & filling station opened, followed shortly by the opening of ‘The Olde Forge’ Bar on 31st March 1995, there was great excitement in the family and the community about this new venture.
Micheal attended Melview N.S., St. Mels College and then Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest where he studied electronic engineering. While Micheal will be renowned for his entrepreneurial skills, setting up a business at such a young age - the Olde Forge bar is quite a legacy, his talent on the football pitch will resonate with most.
Micheál was a significant part of the Emmet Og Senior Football Team who won County Finals in 1993 and 1995 ,we recall many times Micheal’s name making the headlines in the sport section of the Longford Leader & News – captions such as ‘ King Kiernan Crown’s Killoe ‘ . Micheal also played on the Longford County Panel in 1994/1995.
Every year the Micheál Kiernan memorial tournament is played, to quote Killoe GAA ‘ micheal was an integral member of our championship winning 1993 & 1995 teams and one of the driving forces behind our fantastic developments at Emmet Park . It is fitting that our stand is named in his honour. Following Micheál’s death, this Appreciation was eloquently drafted:
‘Old friends they flanked you side by side, and tears they shed were tears of pride. An ash tree toppled when you died, and scattered seeds at random’.
The clouds of despair and sorrow have become a heavy hand to bear. For Micheál Kiernan was a giant among men. And the sweeping sadness that grasped the parish of Killoe and beyond lingers heavily. It is a blow to all who knew him. The loss is great, a heavy hand to bear.
The death of a young man, days short of his twenty-sixth year, is tragic and difficult to apprehend. Micheál
Kiernan is gone, but not forgotten. Indeed, much may be said for what he has created and what he has achieved. The championships, the excitement, the hard work and the Olde Forge. They all stand, Monuments to the man.
And yet, he lives in memory, whether at ‘Victors Cross’ or on some patch of ground in Emmet Park, he will still be there Bustling his way goalwards. Knocking the heart from many a towering defence. Always worth his weight. And always worth a conversation after every game he played.
Where Kiernan went, all eyes followed. Creating rare burst of excitement. He never lacked the qualities that set him apart heart and strength. Micheál Kiernan had them in abundance. Always out in front, willing to take them on Slashers, Colmcille or Granard. Twelve months previous, the net bulged in Ardee from the ferocity of Kiernan’s left boot. Killoe had earned a second chance. Micheál Kiernan was at his peak. Today he is gone. But the memory is etched.
The throngs that gathered in Carrigglass and Ennybegs, stand as a testimony to his popularity. Their grief runs deep. They have lost a brother, a son, a businessman, a footballer, a friend. Through tragedy, they gathered to say farewell. To an achiever and his accomplishments. To his hard work and generosity. To a Killoe stalwart and county man. To his heart and strength. It is a great loss. Micheál Kiernan was a giant among men.
An ash tree toppled the day he died.
Ar dheis lamb De go raibh a anam'
We are all so proud to say that Micheál was our brother, in public he was a giant among men, in private he was kind, generous and caring.
It is remarkable what he achieved in such a short time and his legacy lives on in The Olde Forge Bar .
God broke our hearts to prove to us, he only takes the best.
The late Margaret Kiernan (1912 - 1993)
Died on the 11th August 1993, aged 81 Years
Margaret Kiernan (nee Begley) born in Killoe, Co. Longford married Sonny Kiernan and they had 5 Children, Victor, Mary, Bridie, John and Nan. Margaret was also mother to Tom Brady (Longford) owing to the death of his mother at a very young age.
Margaret (Maggie) was a good host to the many customers that frequented the Forge over the years to have works done. Margaret lost her husband Sonny when he was just 54 years of age. Some years later Margaret made a very brave move for someone of her years, and emigrated to New York to live with her adult children who had emigrated there. She worked for many years and enjoyed her new life always visiting Kiernan’s Cross in the summertime. Margaret passed away in America on the 11th August 1993 aged 81 and her remains were repatriated to Ireland to be reunited her with husband .
The late Sonny Kiernan (1908 - 1962)
Died on the 24th October 1962, aged 54 years
Michael Francis Kiernan known as (Sonny) married Margaret (nee Begley) and they had 5 Children, Victor, Mary, Bridie, John and Nan. Tom Brady (Longford) was reared by sonny & margaret owing to the death of his mother at a very young age.
Sonny followed in his father footsteps and became a blacksmith, he operated a good business from Kiernan’s cross and employed many blacksmiths, his most important protégé was his eldest son Victor who he passed the reins of the business onto.
Life was cut short for sonny owing to heart condition and he died on the 24th October 1962, aged 54 years.