Shock at John’s sudden death

John in the part of Archbishop Carolan in 'A Night To Remember' which was held in Glanworth Community Centre to commemorate 1916. (Pauline O'Dwyer)

The unexpected death of John Ahern at his home in Cloughleafin, Mitchelstown on Sunday (June 25th) came as a huge shock to the people around Mitchelstown, Kildorrery and Glanworth and indeed, from much further afield as John was known far and wide through his time as a postman and for his great love of drama.

Ballindangan Church was packed to capacity for his funeral Mass, the chief celebrant of which was Fr Gould PE, Ballindangan, assisted by Fr Michael Corkery PP Glanworth, Canon Michael Fitzgerald PP Mitchelstown and Fr Donal Broderick PE, Ballyhooly.

A native of Ahacross, Kildorrery, John was one of a large family of twelve and was pre-deceased by his sister Sheila (Neill).

John Ahern (seated 2nd from left) with the cast and crew of Glanworth Players after their production of ‘Wake In The West’.

In his young days, he was a keen sportsman. In 1963, he was on the Ballygiblin GAA winning side when they were crowned North Cork hurling champions. He played football with Funcheon Vale and also played with Fermoy and Kildorrery.

He spent a number of years in Birmingham where he met and married his beloved Helen. On returning from England, they settled in Cloughleafin but sadly, Helen’s health was in decline but John cared for her every need up until her passing.

John was sacristan in Ballindangan and Fr Gould in his homily paid tribute to him for having invested great care in the position, keeping the church and its grounds in tip-top condition.

John’s home in Cloughleafin was also in pristine condition due to his interest in gardening, a hobby only superseded by his great love of drama. He first trod the boards with Mitchelstown Dramatic Society but in more recent years, became a stalwart of the Glanworth Players. In their tribute to him in last week’s Avondhu, they referred to him as being ‘a giant of amateur drama’ – and that he surely was – having made his own of roles such as Hiker Lacy in ‘The Year Of The Hiker’ and Mikie Bannon in ‘The Highest House On The Mountain’ to name just two in a very long list.

While John loved being on stage, he was a great supporter of all the plays by local groups whether they were stages in Kilworth or Anglesboro, Ballinvreena or Ardpatrick – distance was no object. John was also a regular patron at drama festivals in Ballyduff and Charleville.

In his eulogy, John’s brother Mike (Cullen) recalled with gusto some memorable and very funny moments when he accompanied his big brother delivering the post. He also referred to John’s sporting and drama days and his love and attention to his wife Helen during her illness.

John’s popularity and that of the entire Ahern family was very much in evidence by the large crowds at the Chapel of Rest in Mitchelstown on the Tuesday and again at his funeral Mass on Wednesday after which, he was laid to rest in Marshalstown Cemetery.

John will be sadly missed by his brothers Bill, Thomas, Patrick, Neilius and Michael, sisters Breda, Mary (Linehan), Margaret (Hanley), Joan (Quish) and Carmel (Colbert), brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and friends to whom we extend our deepest sympathy.