Mixed emotions for Rev. Jason on leaving Limavady

Rev. Jason Kernohan who leaves the Drumachose Parish Church. INLV2715-056KDR Photo: Ken Reay
Rev. Jason Kernohan who leaves the Drumachose Parish Church. INLV2715-056KDR Photo: Ken Reay

When Rev. Jason Kernohan moved to Limavady five years ago as Curate Assistant in the Parish of Drumachose, he never thought he’d grow so fond of the Roe Valley town.

The music-loving Church of Ireland minister, who once fronted his own band, has been appointed rector of Eglantine Parish, near Lisburn. He is looking forward to the move, but said he is just as sad to be leaving Limavady.

I’ve made so many good friends I have to come back to visit

Rev. Jason Kernohan

“I had never been in Limavady before, and I really didn’t know too much about Limavady,” says Rev. Jason. “Canon Sam McVeigh appointed me as Curate and it has been a wonderful five years. I suppose people have this idea of Limavady as a small, quiet country town but, behind the scenes, there is a lot happening. The five years have been very happy years, but there have also been difficult times, a lot of tragedy in the town. There has also been a lot of happy times, and very many joyous occasions.”

One of the first people Rev. Jason was introduced to was Fr. Eddie Gallagher at Christ The King. The pair struck a friendship through their love of music.

“Fr Eddie was one of the first clergy I met. He loves music and singing at mass, or indeed at any available opportunity really, so on Christmas Eve 2010 I was invited over to sing at Christmas Eve mass at Christ The King. Fr Eddie and I sang a duet. I couldn’t believe the reception we both received and, so, every year I’ve been invited back to Christ the King to sing,” said Rev. Jason.

“Eddie and I did concerts at Christ Church and guest teas, and we always thought we would love to record a CD, but of course it was a matter of finances. We got a grant through PEACE 111, and we recorded the CD and raised £10,000 for both parishes.

“It brought people together, and everyone really enjoyed it, and, of course, Eddie always wanted to sing in his home city so he got the chance to sing in the Millennium Forum. He’s a real Derry man and he very much enjoyed that, and we still keep in contact.”

Rev. Jason said the Churches’ Forum in Limavady was really important to him.

“The first major event we had, and it hadn’t been done before, was the very public event; the Good Friday event. People had said to me, ‘are you sure you want to do this?, and I said ‘yes’, and we did it and it was amazing,” said Rev. Jason. “Working with other churches and the Churches’ Forum has been very important to me. Limavady has had a difficult past, but I know when I came here I wasn’t afraid of letting people know that I felt it was important to work together, and I think we did that successfully. I think people’s mindsets have changed and I was very fortunate to have Fr. Eddie Gallagher as a wonderful friend.”

Rev. Jason jokes when he arrived in Limavady his belongings fitted into a transit van, but moving to his new parish will require a 40-foot lorry for his belongings, reflective of just how at home he was in Limavady.

“I’ll really miss the people of Limavady. It’s such a sociable parish and people are so friendly and they’ll always be in my thoughts and prayers. I’ve made so many good friends I have to come back to visit, and I hope they will come and visit me,” said Rev. Jason, adding: “Canon Sam McVeigh and his wife Joan have been wonderful, absolutely fantastic. They are two people I will really miss. I am an only child, and I’m not married, and they became like a second set of parents to me and I will really miss them both.”