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On Monday evening last, a 400 strong crowd gathered in St Patrick's Church, Fermoy for the annual Cloyne Diocesan Pilgrimage Mass.
Following the ceremony, where recently appointed Bishop of Cloyne, William Crean, officiated, worshippers made the short journey to Corrin Event Centre for refreshments and the formal re-launch of Tony O'Brien's popular hymn 'Village of St Bernadette'.
Tony or 'Tone' to his family and friends was an ever present on pilgrimages to Lourdes over the decades. Born on September 5, 1931 and diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 26, he faced the challenges associated with this condition head on and through his determination and positive outlook, proved to be a source of inspiration of others.
A progressive farmer and sports fan (especially horse racing), Tony was famous for never being in bad form and he credited his many nieces and nephews with keeping him 'young at heart'. The build up to his 80th birthday celebrations became the stuff of legend and in the end, it was decided that a number of days, and nights, were required to adequately mark the occasion.
Following Tony's sad passing this year, a number of requests were made to local radio presenter, Seán Donnellan asking him to play 'Village of St. Bernadette', that Tony recorded in 1981. This prompted family and friends to re-launch the popular single which featured Anne Fielding on accordion, Noel Brennan on mandolin and guitarists, Geraldine Walsh and Brian O'Reilly. Backing vocals were provided by: Irene and Clare Cotter, Peg Ahern, Angela Bowen, Geraldine Walsh, Jack Foley, John Scanlon, Seán Hegarty, Seán and Anne O'Flynn along with Eleanor, Maura, Rita, Patrick and Mick O'Brien.
Credit for pressing the CDs, which includes the eulogy given by Fr Donal Roberts at Tony's funeral Mass, goes to Brian O'Reilly of Studio Fiona in Fermoy. Each CD bears the tribute 'Your life was one of kindly deeds, a helping hand for others' needs. Sincere and true in heart and mind, beautiful memories left behind'.
Copies, which are selling at €10 each, can be purchased from either, Jerry Galvin, Michael O'Riordan or Imeda Fouhy.
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