Ballinteer Church

Home Mass Times WebCam Newsletter Search 🔎

Sean Canon Carey 1916 - 2005

A Requiem Mass for Canon Sean Carey was held on Sunday 15 January 2006 at 12 o'clock in St John the Evangelist Church, Ballinteer. Immediately after mass the Canon's remains were interned in the Church grounds outside the Oratory. The principal celebrant was Fr Dermod McCarthy the Canon's nephew. The Canon's sister and members of his family were in attendance.


Very Rev. Sean Canon Carey, Pastor Emeritus, Ballinteer, R.I.P.
1 November 1916 - 19 October 2005
Parish Priest, St. John the Evangelist, Ballinteer, 1974 - 1992

In 1974 Canon Carey was appointed the first Parish Priest of St. John the Evangelist Church in Ballinteer on the southside of Dublin near the foot of the Dublin Mountains. He remained Parish Priest until his retirement in 1992 when he was succeeded by our present Parish Priest Fr John Battelle. He held the title of Pastor Emeritus in Ballinteer parish until his retirement in September 2001.
Canon Carey spent several happy years in retirement in the Holy Family Home Roebuck, where he was always pleased to see visitors and talk about his time in Ballinteer Parish.

Canon Carey was ordained to the priesthood in the Church of Sant' Antonio, Via Merulana, Rome, on the 13th July 1941.
Bishop Drennan concelebrated 12 noon Mass, on Sunday 8th July, 2001, in Ballinteer Parish, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the Ordination of Canon Carey and it was a wonderful occasion.

Special Mass & Celebrations including a history of Canon Carey's life

A Special Mass was held on Friday 13th July 2001 at 7:30pm in Ballinteer Church. The Canon met with his two sisters, relations, friends, parishioners and priests who have previously lived or served in the parish.
Fifteen 15 priests concelebrated the mass including, Canon Brady who was ordained with Canon Carey in Rome, Fr John Battelle P.P and Fr Dermod McCarthy the Canon's nephew who delivered the most memorable Homily recalling Fr Sean's (as he is known to the family) life and taking us through his early years right up to the present.

Sean Carey was born in the Rotunda Maternity Hospital on Dublin's northside on 1 November 1916 and christened in the Pro-cathedral, Marlborough Street in central Dublin. As Canon Carey has often said, two eventful things happened that year, one was his birth and the other was the Easter Rising. He was the second youngest of a family of 10 children, 7 girls and 3 boys. His parents home was a farm in Fenagh, near Ballinamore in lovely Leitrim. His Father was a Farmer and his Mother a teacher who instilled into her children the love of books and learning. He came to Dublin as a young boy and attended Synge Street School.

From his earliest recollections he always wanted to become a priest and as a young man he set out for Clonliffe College in Dublin to begin his studies. In 1936 he moved on to the Irish College in Rome and was ordained in the Church of Sant' Antonio, Via Merulana, Rome on Friday 13th July 1941. He only managed to get home once during those five years. Two other members of his class who were ordained with him are still living in Dublin, Canon Brady (who concelebrated this special mass in Ballinteer with him), and Monsignor Moloney.

If we remember that Europe was in the middle of World War II at that time. In trying to get home priests had to leave Rome in small groups to avail of the very few flights that were available. Canon Carey was lucky to avail of a flight to Lisbon in Portugal. As there was no Irish Consul there at that time he had to negotiate with the British Consul. He eventually got a flight to Bristol in England after two months waiting. He made his way to the Irish Consul in England where he managed to obtain an Exit Permit for Ireland which was stamped on his Saorstát Eireann passport. Officials from the Irish Embassy loaned him the money (which was later repaid) for the train fare to Holyhead and the Boat trip to Dun Laoghaire. Canon Carey said that he was very grateful to Archbishop McQuaid at the time who was a great help to him and the other priests coming home.

On arrival in Dunlaoghaire he got the train to Dublin and he recalls that it was a nice autumn evening and that it was great to hear the Dublin accents again, at last he was home. He made his way to the South Circular Road where his two sisters, who are now sadly departed, lived. Not knowing he was coming they were at a dance in Elm Park. He was sitting on the steps waiting when a next door neighbour took pity on this very tired, thin looking man dressed in black and invited him to stay with her until the girls arrived home, which they did -- at 3am.

After a few days rest, Fr Sean as he was know to his family, made his way home to Fenagh. As he walked the mile or so from the train station to the family farm his Father noticed him coming down the gravel pathway and went out to meet him.

Fr Sean's first appointment was as chaplain to Loreto Abbey in Dalkey and then on to Portland Row, where, as he puts it himself, he was chaplain to "unmarried ladies of respectability". His first parish appointment was in Eadestown, Co. Kildare which the Canon jokingly says was the only parish in Ireland with two racecourses - Naas and Punchestown. He was then assigned to East Wall Parish in Dublin and in 1954 he was off to Dundrum Parish in the south side close to the Dublin Mountains for 10 years until 1964. He was then moved again, this time to Marino in Dublin for another 10 years.
In 1974 he was appointed the first Parish Priest of St. John the Evangelist Church in Ballinteer on the southside of Dublin near the foot of the Dublin Mountains. He remained Parish Priest until his retirement in 1992 when he was succeeded by the present Parish priest Fr Paddy Battelle. He now holds the title of Pastor Emeritus in Ballinteer parish.

At the end of the mass Canon Carey thanked everyone for their very warm and generous good wishes and for arranging the evening including the refreshments and music. He also thanked the Parish Pastoral Group for their help in arranging the evening. While he was thanking the congregation he said with his typical good humour " I am spoiled by the priests in Ballinteer and I love being spoiled". He concluded " It would be a bit presumptuous of me to say that I will see you at my next Diamond Jubilee". Knowing Canon Carey - who knows.

His relations, friends and parishioners all rose as one in a spontaneous warm round of applause for a much loved gentle man whose work and life is an inspiration to us all. After mass everyone enjoyed the refreshments and music in the School Hall.

The funeral mass at 11am on Friday 21 October 2005 in Dundrum Parish Church was celebrated by Fr Dermod McCarthy, the Canon's nephew, who remembered Fr Sean (as he was known to his family) in a most loving and wonderful way. Canon Carey is survived by his sister Vera McCarthy, twenty one nieces & nephews and also grand nieces & nephews. Three members of his class who were ordained with him are still living in Dublin also attend the funeral mass, Archdeacon Macarton Brady, Mons. Moloney and Canon Anthony Kelly.

The mass ended with the Ballinteer Senior Choir conducted by Miriam Walsh and the entire congregation singing one of the Canon's favourite hymns "How Great Thou Art".

We would like to conclude with one of the prayers of the faithful which was read by a parishioner from Ballinteer:

" God of all consolation, bring comfort to those who mourn the death of Canon Carey, to his sister Vera, to all his family, friends and former parishioners. May they gain strength from the knowledge that he is with God forever".

May God Bless you Canon Carey, Ballinteer Parish is very proud of you and you have been an inspiration to us all.


L to R Fr Jim O'Sullivan, Fr John Battelle P.P., Fr Gay Slattery and Canon Carey


A dheis dé go raibh a h-ainm
1916 - 2005