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Ned Sweeney loved Kilkenny

by Jimmy Rhatigan

St Francis Terrace, Kilkenny man Ned Sweeney who has passed to his eternal reward never lost the great love that he and his siblings had for our city and county.

Although he spent much of life working in Dublin, Ned was perhaps happiest in his native place and it was no surprise when he settled into his retirement years at Archer’s Court.

A member of a highly respected and very popular local family, Ned was a proud past pupil of Kilkenny CBS.

He was pre-deceased by his bothers Pat and Joe, kindred spirits in their lifetime devotion to their home place and indeed in their grá to black and amber sport.

Pat was a world class journalist who honed his skills in Kilkenny and went on to high profile posts with the Irish Independent and RTE where he was industrial correspondent.

His Fourth Estate colleague Seán Hurley along with Pat was a pioneer of top class journalism. 

Pat’s late brother Joe, a former teacher and renowned artist spent much of his life in Sligo but Kilkenny remained a magnet that led him to regular visits to the South East.

After local school Ned was to become the first race director of the Dublin City Marathon. He began work in Munster Simms and went on to spend most of his working life with Irish Shell.

He lived for years in Killester which meant that his great appetite for and love of Kilkenny hurling was sated with regular visits to Croke Park and Parnell Park.

Brother Jim was a passionate supporter of the former Kilkenny City Football Club and seldom missed a home or away game.

Jim and his sister Mary, a retired university librarian are regulars to our city. 

Ned is survived by his wife Ann (nee Donovan) of St Teresa’s Terrace, three sons and seven grandchildren.

Ann’s late dad Tim Donovan was an excellent local journalist who was Kilkenny correspondent for the Irish Independent for many years.

Ned will be remembered at a Month’s Mind Mass in St Fiacre’s Church, Loughboy (10.30am) on Sunday April 23.

To be a friend of members of the greater Sweeney family was a real privilege. 

As a journalist I was lucky to meet all family members in my early years and indeed to enjoy the odd beverage with members of a family that was fondly referred to locally as ‘The Sweeneys’.

The respect in which the boys and their sister and parents always enjoyed in Kilkenny was highlighted over the years when word would spread like wildfire when any member of the family was ‘in town’.

Ned I will always remember as a gentleman of great intelligence, a super conversationalist, a man who epitomised the prowess of the Sweeney family tradition, truly one of the great Kilkenny families of our time.

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