Father Eamonn Kelly
Eamonn Kelly was born in 1962, the eighteenth child of Bernard and Mary Ellen Kelly. His father was a businessman. He ran a guesthouse, bar, shop, a taxi service and was the local undertaker. It was in this business setting that Eamonn was raised. It was a busy but warm upbringing.
Eamonn went to the local National School in Frosses before going as a boarder to St Eunan’s College in Letterkenny. After his leaving certificate exams in 1980 Eamonn decided to become a priest but also fell in love and the idea of priesthood quickly faded. So he went to the local Regional College where he attended the Business Studies course. After his relationship faded out he set off to Maynooth to start his journey towards priesthood.
In September 1982 Eamonn transferred to another seminary, St Kieran’s College in Kilkenny but left after thirteen months of study. In his own words: ‘I had tried it and it was not for me.’ After leaving the seminary, Eamonn worked as a painter, barman and as a salesman.
In the early 1990’s he felt that there was something missing in his life so he began to pray more. He had visited South America during a 6-week holiday in the late 1980’s and saw the desperate plight of the poor. So in 1992 he decided to try the priesthood again and after spending a year with the Kiltegan Fathers he entered Maynooth College again. This time he finished the course and was ordained a priest for his home diocese on 29th June 1997. During his time in Maynooth, Eamonn visited and worked in Kitui (Kenya) and Calcutta and also visited Peru. Staying in touch with the poor and suffering has always had a strong influence on him.
Fr Eamonn is currently Parish Priest of Raphoe, Lifford, County Donegal.