Clonmacnois Garden – Mike Hickey Memorial

When Canon Joseph Plunkett came as parish priest to Ballinahown in 1952, he needed someone to help with the farming of the parish land, the care of the church grounds and the various ‘outside’ jobs that needed doing. In the person of Mike Hickey of Renaun he found a skilled and reliable person.

For the next few decades, Mike was the Canons right hand man.

Early on, he and Canon Plunkett discussed the idea of making a rockery adjacent to the parochial house. Mike applied his designing and creative skills to the project  as well as doing the physical hard work involved. Gradually, over a period of years, the rockery emerged. The design and ornamentation was inspired by the ancient monastic ruins of Clonmacnois some seven mile to the south, and so the rockery included two round towers, a castle, a Celtic cross and a model of a ruined church. The completed work was a delight to the eye, and a focus of great interest to visitors to the parochial house.

Over the years, even after the death of Canon Plunkett in 1978, Mike Hickey continued to watch over the rockery, occasionally adding artefacts which he  made himself – a harp, an Irish wolfhound, a swan. The flowers and shrubs provided a colourful contrast to the grey rocks, and if sometimes the weeds seemed to be gaining the upper hand, Mike would come to root them out, and keep the rockery looking well. Mike passed to his reward a few years ago, but the rockery is a constant reminder of his faithful service to the parish, and of his creative talent and ability. Recently, a decision was made to transfer the rockery to a more accessible and visible site in the village, so that visitors and passers-by could enjoy Mike’s handiwork. It can now be enjoyed outside the Community Hall.

Admire, Enjoy and Remember


Research and Information provided by Fr. Aidan Ryan.

….In memory of Mike Hickey of Renaun