Fr. Anthony Gaughan receives prestigious Kerry Association in Dublin Arts Award 2018

Listowel-born historian and author, Father Anthony Gaughan, has received this year’s Kerry Association in Dublin Arts Award.

Fr. Gaughan, a former parish priest in the Archdiocese of Dublin, has written extensively about the history, personalities and politics of Kerry and beyond. His publications include several acclaimed books and articles including “Austin Stack : Portrait of a Separatist“, “Alfred O’Rahilly: Controversialist” and “Listowel and its Vicinity“. He is a founding member of Listowel Writers’ Week.

This is the second year of the Kerry Association in Dublin Arts award and its objective is to recognise a Kerry person for their achievement of excellence in the Arts. The inaugural recipient was Professor Brendan Kennelly.

The selection committee for the award comprised both representatives of the Kerry Association committee and representatives from the Arts world, chaired by former Minister for the Arts, Jimmy Deenihan.

Fr. Gaughan was presented with his award – a bespoke piece of Dingle crystal sponsored by Kerry Group – at a special reception in the National Library in Dublin on Wednesday 20th June 2018 where a large crowd of friends, Kerry Association members, and representatives from Listowel Writers’ Week and Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society were in attendance.

Kerry Association chairperson, Keelin Kissane, and president, Christy McCarthy, paid tribute to Fr. Gaughan, noting that the selection committee was delighted to honour Fr. Gaughan with this award for his contribution to the literature of modern Ireland as one of the country’s most prolific historians and in particular for his contribution to the historical archive of his beloved Kerry for generations to come.

Other information

Photographs by Julien Behal

Chairperson of Arts Award Sub- Committee:       Jimmy Deenihan (087) 811 3661

Chairperson of the Kerry Association in Dublin:  Keelin Kissane (087) 744 1793

Arts Award Selection Committee:

        • Jimmy Deenihan (former Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) (Finuge)
        • Christy McCarthy (Kerry Association president) (Glenbeigh)
        • Keelin Kissane (Cathaoirleach, Kerry Association in Dublin) (Lisselton)
        • Michael O’Regan (Kerry Association vice-president and Irish Times correspondent) (Annagh)
        • Anita Kelly (Kerry Association member) (Tarbert)
        • Dr. Niall MacMonagle (Editor and Poetry Commentator) (Killarney)
        • Áine Moriarty (Chief Executive, Irish Film & Television Academy) (Killorglin)
        • Dr. Mary McAuliffe (Historian, Lecturer and author) (Duagh)
        • Éamonn O hArgáin (Patron and former President and Cathaoirleach of the Kerry Association) (Lixnaw)
        • (Éamon O Murchú (Kerry Association member) (Listowel)
        • Marion Walsh (Former President and Cathaoirleach of the Kerry Association) (Ballydonoghue)


Additional information for reference


About the Kerry Association in Dublin – Arts Award

The Kerry Association in Dublin was established in 1951 and aims to develop the great sporting, literary and cultural heritage of Kerry.  The Association’s Arts Award which is sponsored by Kerry Group plc recognises a Kerry individual’s excellence in the Arts.

About Rev. J. Anthony Gaughan

Fr. Tony, an only child, was born in Listowel. He received his early education in the local National School and in St. Michael’s College, Listowel, where he learned Latin and Greek.  He continued his studies in Dublin, receiving his BA in University College Dublin in 1953, his BD from the Pontifical University in Maynooth in 1956, his MA in University College Dublin in 1965, and his Doctorate in Philosophy in 1992, and his Doctorate in Literature in 1996.

He went on to become an accomplished historian and biographer delivering his first publication in 1969 entitled ” The Concept of Being: A Study in Metaphysics”.  In the first 35 years of his priesthood he published no less than 25 books, all of which are renowned for their scholarship, attention to detail, and many of which exceed four hundred and fifty pages of assiduous research.

Fr. Tony wrote the definitive work on Listowel – “Listowel and its Vicinity” (1973), and “Listowel and its Vicinity since 1973” (2004). He also co-edited with Fr. Kieran O’Shea “St. Michael’s College, Listowel, 1879-1979 (1979) (a collection of articles to mark the centenary of the college), “Scouting in Ireland” (2006), “Memoirs of Constable Jeremiah Mee, R.I.C” in 1975.

Continuing in the historical, political vein he published “Austin Stack, Portrait of a Seperatist” (1977), “Thomas Johnson, 1872-1963: First Leader of the Labour Party in Dail Eireann” (1980), “A political odyssey: Thomas O’Donnell, M.P. for West Kerry, 1900-1918” (1983), no less than five volumes of work on Alfred O’Rahilly between 1983 and 1993. In 1996 he edited “Memoirs of Senator Joseph Connolly. A Founder of Modern Ireland” and in 1998 he edited “Memoirs of Senator James C. Douglas (1887-1954): Concerned Citizen”

Other publications include “The Knights of Glin: A Geraldine family” (1978), “Travels on Four Continents” (1984), “Doneraile” (1970), “The Synan Family” (1972) and “Olivia Mary Taaffe, 1832-1918: Foundress of St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society” (1995) and “Recollections of a Writer by Accident” (2002).

In Dublin – Fr Tony

As priest of the Diocese of Dublin he first ministered as Chaplain and Vocational School Teacher in the Presentation College Bray from 1957-60, from 1960-62 in the Parish of the Most Precious Blood in Cabra West and then in the Parish of the Sacred Heart, Aughrim, Co. Wicklow from 1963-64.. He then while Chaplain and University Tutor in University College Dublin, served in St. Mary’s Convent, Donnybrook from 1964-65, and subsequently in the St. Joseph’s, East Wall (1965-67), Our Lady of Good Counsel, Drimnagh (1967-70), St. Patrick’s, Monkstown (1970-77), and St. Thérèse, Mount Merrion (1977-83), University Church, St. Stephen’s Green (1983-88), and he is now Parish Priest in the Parish of Guardian Angels, Blackrock, since 1988.

In his autobiographical work, “At the Coalface – Recollections of a City and Country Priest 1950-2000”, Fr. Tony recounts vividly, in detail, with humour and poignancy, his extraordinary ministry as priest for half a century. His sensitivity to individual circumstances, his pastoral concern for his parishioners, “For my part, I have always found the priesthood very challenging but also very rewarding beyond all my expectations.”

Wherever Fr.Tony was ‘stationed’ as priest, he always had a great sense of place, local pride, and an appreciation of the past. This is reflected in his publications such as “Mount Merrion: The Old and the New” (1981 ed) and “Newman’s University Church: A History and Guide” (1997).

He has served with distinction on many Committees and Societies throughout Ireland for over 40 years; He is committee member of Irish Pen since 1976, served as Chairman from 1981 to 2005, and has been Chairman of the National Library of Ireland Society since 2000.  He was a committee member of Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society from 1976-1989, having been a member since 1968. He was a co-founder member of Writer’s Week, Listowel with Tim Danaher, John B. Keane, Bryan MacMahon, Luai Ó Murchú, Nora Relihan and Seamus Wilmot in 1971.  He was President of Writer’s Week from 1983-1990 and is Vice-President since 1991, ensuring that Writer’s Week, Listowel continues to be the premier international writers’ festival.

Gaelic Football & Kerry


Rev. J. Anthony Gaughan is a staunch gaelic football supporter, and as a young man Fr Tony was a member of Listowel Emmets GAA Football Club from 1948-1956, and played in intermediate and senior level in the North Kerry League and Championship. He was a member of Feale Rangers Divisional Team and played for them in the 1953-54 Kerry County Championship. He was a member of the Kerry Minor Football Team and was a substitute on the All-Ireland winning team in 1950, and later was a member of the Junior All-Ireland winning team in 1954.

Despite becoming a priest, Fr Tony continued his dedication to the game and his county, and for many years from 1997 onwards the Kerryman celebrated Mass with the Kerry Senior and Minor teams before their visits to Croke Park.    For photos of the evening click here.