|Stained Glass Window over Kilnamona Altar|
It is now just over 100 years since the unveiling of the beautiful stained glass window of Jesus, Mary and Saint Patrick above the altar of St. Joseph's Church, Kilnamona. Patrick Keane, then residing in Australia, donated the funds. Bishop Fogarty corresponded with Keane over a period of time in which Keane's life story was revealed; he was born in 1831 in Ballyashea, the 10th of 13 children born to Francis Keane and Anne Shannon. When he was a boy of 10, he had helped to cart the stones when the Kilnamona church was being build by Fr Thomas Quinn in 1842; his brother Michael helped to cart the slates for the roof from the quarries of Killaloe. Patrick Keane left Kilnamona when he was "only a mere lad". Both of his parents had passed away by the time he was 16, which would have been at the height of the Great Famine. In 1852, he emigrated. According to himself, he "had a rough and tumble life" in many parts of the world. By 1910, he had retired from his job as a warder in Deniliquin Gaol, New South Wales.
|Patrick Keane in 1910|
At the age of 78, and with all but two of his siblings deceased, he decided to donate a sum of money to commemorate his family; the only stipulation he had for his bank draft of £129 was that the window should be made in Ennis, Limerick or Dublin and that it should be described in a newspaper "called the 'Clare Champion' published in Jail Street (now O'Connell St.)".
The window was made by Mr. Earley of Camden St., Dublin and consists of three lights bearing the figures of Jesus, Mary and Saint Patrick. Underneath is the inscription "Erected by Patrick Keane, N.S. Wales, Australia, in memory of his deceased parents, sisters and brothers and himself". As there was no window over the altar, to place the window into position a new window space of three lights with cut stone limestone mullions had to be made over the altar. The roof of the sacristy had also to be adjusted. When informed of the extra funds required, Keane replied at once with a bank draft to cover the extra costs. James Daly, a builder from Ennis was commissioned to carry out the work. Patrick Keane had already donated a set of costly altar furniture for the church. The window was formally unveiled in April, 1910 at mass celebrated by Parish Priest Fr. Marrinan and with an address by Bishop Fogarty. The bishop lavished praise on Keane, calling on the congregation to pray for "almighty God to reward and bless him for his holy zeal for the beauty of God's house, his filial piety to the memory of his parents and family, and for his thoughtful generosity to his native parish of 'dear Kilnamona'".
|Marble Slab Commemorating Patrick Keane|
Bishop Fogarty had a marble slab set up in the church to commemorate the benefactions of Patrick Keane. The slab is inscribed:
"Pray for Patrick Keane, Deniliquin, N.S. Wales, who was born in Kilnamona, Co. Clare, which he never forgot and who erected this stained glass window in cut limestone frame mullions in memory of himself, his parents, brothers and sisters"
According to the New South Wales registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Patrick Keane died in 1919 in Deniliquin, New South Wales, Australia. He had been totally blind for some years before his death.