Dr. Patricia Sheahan collects Kerry Person of the Year Award

After a two and a half year hiatus, Oíche Chiarraí, the flagship event of the Kerry Association in Dublin, finally took place in The Green Isle Hotel in Dublin last Saturday night, 3rd September. A great crowd was in attendance as well as the Sam Maguire Cup and a fantastic night was had by all, starting with a Dingle Gin reception and entertainment provided by Kerry band, No Strings Attached.

The Listowel Tidy Towns Committee were presented with the Laochra Chiarraí award on the night by the President of the Kerry Association in Dublin, Michael O’ Regan, while Dr. Patricia Sheahan, was presented with the Kerry Person of the Year award by Keelin Kissane, Chairperson of the Association.
In 2016, the Kerry Association in Dublin introduced the Laochra Chiarraí or Kerry Heroes award. The purpose of this award is to recognise exemplary leadership in community activity in the county. The public are invited to submit nominations in November each year and the ultimate winners are selected by the Committee of the Kerry Association.

Back in 2020, the Kerry Association selected Listowel Tidy Towns as the Laochra Chiarraí recipients, a group of people that are exemplary leaders in community activity. Listowel Tidy Towns Group is a community based, voluntary body founded in 1993. It currently has about 24 members. They work tirelessly to keep Listowel looking beautiful. There is a reason it’s known as ‘Lovely Listowel’. Their community spirt over the last 30 years has led to Listowel winning awards at county, national and indeed international level. Listowel has been a gold medal winner in the Tidy Towns awards every year since 2008 and won the coveted overall national title in 2018. This group has helped make people in North Kerry very proud of Listowel.
Representatives from the Listowel Tidy Towns Committee were in attendance on the night to collect the award.

Since its introduction in 1979, the Kerry Person of the Year award recognises an individual who has shown leadership, brought honour to the county, and performed services for the county to such an extent that could be described as being beyond the norm of everyday life. Like the Laochra Chiarraí award, this award is based on nominations by the public and the final selection is made by the Kerry Association Committee. It is something particularly special to the winners that it is an honour bestowed on them, by their own people, the people of Kerry.

Listowel native, Patricia Sheahan qualified as a doctor in 1989 and has since made a significant contribution to Kerry life. She has worked as the palliative medicine consultant in Kerry for the past 20 years. Alongside Kerry Hospice Foundation, she has helped develop a fully integrated palliative care service for the people of Kerry.

During her tribute to Dr. Sheahan, Kerry Association Chairperson Keelin Kissane, noted that the award was presented in recognition of the enormous contribution she has made to Kerry. She has touched the lives of most families in the county and those families, some of whom were in attendance on Saturday, attest to her extraordinary sensitivity and compassion. Patricia says she is only doing her job but the families of those in her care feel that she goes above and beyond the call of duty. She provides a special comfort at such a very difficult and emotional time and that’s something that the families of those in her care never forget.

A large crowd of Patricia’s family and friends were in attendance on the night to see this remarkable woman collect the Kerry Person of the Year perpetual trophy as well as a gift from the Kerry Association, a painting by Tralee artist, John Hurley.

To add to the celebrations, loyal Kerry Association supporter, Fr. Tony Gaughan also celebrated his 90th birthday on the night.

The Committee of the Kerry Association in Dublin would like to thank all of those who attended, as well as long-time sponsor, Kerry Group, Dingle Distillery who provided the lovely Dingle Gin reception on the night, Fexco, ADC Plasticard, Kerry County Board and all those who contributed raffle prizes.