THE Killimer 49ers are not members of an American football team, as the group’s name suggests. In fact, they are those who started attending Burrane, Killimer and Knockerra National Schools in 1949.
Generally, the group members are now aged between 68 and 70 years. A homecoming for them will be held in Knockerra on Sunday. The event will commence with mass at 12 noon in St Senan’s Church, followed by lunch, where pre-booking is essential, in the adjacent hall at 1.15pm.
Thirteen children started in both Burrane and Knockerra schools in 1949, while just three started in Killimer, which was then a one-teacher school and has since closed. Four of those 29 are deceased.
A small number of the surviving members will not be attending for various reasons. The longest journey to be undertaken by those returning will be made by Eithne Hilweg (formerly Hogan), who started her schooling in Burrane 64 years ago.
Eithne will be flying in from Geneva, Switzerland and will be accompanied by her sister, Margaret, who is a Medical Missionary of Mary nun serving in Africa.
The mass will be celebrated by Fr Paddy Culligan, retired PP in Carrigaholt. Fr Culligan is himself from Burrane Upper and a past pupil of Burrane National School. His late mother, Baby Culligan (formerly Duggan from Tarmon, Knockerra), was the infants’ teacher in Burrane, when Eithne and the other 28 started their primary education in the parish in 1949.
Fr Michael Sheedy PP and Fr Martin Blake CC, from the Kilrush parish, are specially invited guests and hope to attend. They now look after the spiritual needs of Killimer, which has no resident priest due to the limited number of available clergy in the diocese.
Any members of the group who have not yet been contacted can get in touch with the organiser, Peadar Nugent, at 091 792304.