Tribute to the late Fr Kieran Devlin

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Well known Derry Dioscesan priest Father Kieran Devlin has died. He was 75.

The remains of Co Tyrone-born cleric are to be laid to rest at noon tomorrow following Requiem Mass at St Mary’s Church Rouskey in Gortin.

Since retirement, Fr Devlin has been living at Collon House, Buncrana Road and served as Chaplain to St Columb’s College.

He had a great love and interest in the Irish language and was a regular celebrant of the weekly Irish Mass in Nazareth House, Bishop Street.

Retired Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly yesterday paid tribute to Fr Devlin, describing him as “a great colleague, an understanding and supportive friend”.

There are some people who are full of knowledge and good sense, well-read and highly intelligent. Father Kieran Devlin was just such a person. He had the added ability in that he was generous in sharing his knowledge with others. He had always something original and interesting to say, an intellectual with the common touch, a veritable fount of wisdom and insight. I had a long and fascinating conversation with him on this day last week. I was profoundly shocked when I heard the news of his sudden death a few days later.”

Dr Daly further hailed his friend as “a very committed priest, conscientious and prayerful, kind and caring”. He said he was a cleric with a “great ability to make friends” and gifted with a fine sense of humour.

Fr Devlin was also a keen academic. “He was ever the student, reading, researching and extending his knowledge of faith and history - there was always the book to be read, a document to be studied,” Dr Daly added.

Father Devlin was born in 1938 in the parish of Badoney Lower in County Tyrone. He was educated at Aughnamerrigan and Recarson Primary Schools and subsequently at St Columb’s College in Derry. He studied for the priesthood in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Neil Farren in the chapel of St Columb’s College, Bishop Street fifty years ago, on June 17, 1962.

He served as a teacher of French in St Columb’s College from 1962 until 1972. He subsequently served as curate in Keenaught, Desertmartin (1972-77), Maghera (1977-81) and Altinure (1981-89). He was appointed as Parish Priest in his home parish of Badoney Lower in Co Tyrone in 1989 and served there until he retired in 2008. He was then asked to serve as Joint Organiser of the Derry Diocesan Archive.