17 Aug 2022

Ireland's longest serving priest, who was based in County Kildare, laid to rest

Ireland's longest serving priest, who was based in County Kildare, laid to rest

Pic: The late Fr Colum Swan,

Ireland's longest-serving priest, who served County Kildare for decades, has been laid to rest.

The funeral for the Very Reverend Father Colum Swan, who passed away last Friday at the age of 93, is due to take place today in Sallins.

Originally from Lobinstown in County Meath, Fr Swan was born in 1928 and was ordained into the priesthood in 1953 at the age of 25.

He served as a Pastor Emeritus at Sallins Parish, as well as a former chaplain to both the Permanent Defence Forces (PDF) and locals near the Curragh Camp.

During his time, Fr Swan officiated a number of weddings, funerals, confirmations, communions and baptisms. 

His list of appointments is as follows — St Marys, Navan: 1953, St Rosalies, New York: 1953-1955, Holy Name of Mary, New York: 1955-1957, CC Portarlington: 1957-1960, St Brigids of Tullamore: 1960-1961, Chaplains Residence, Curragh Camp: 1961-1976 (including 5 tours with the UN), CC Killeigh: 1976-1981 and finally PP at Sallins: starting in 1981 until his retirement in 2004.

Fellow clergymen Bishop Paul Dempsey and Bishop Denis Nulty also paid tribute to Fr Swan on

A number of condolences have been left for the late Fr on RIP.IE: among those paying tribute include Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan, Sallins GAA Club, Sallins Senior Citizens Club, Naas Pharmacy and PDF Brigadier General Gerard McNamara.

Various past parishioners also spoke kindly of Fr Swan, with one anonymous one saying: "He was such a kind and learned man: He gave great sermons - said a lot in few words - did the opposite too at times!"

"May he rest in the arms of Jesus," they added.

Given the large volume of messages, all of which describe the late Fr as a great listener with a kind heart, it should go without saying that Fr Colum Swan will be missed by those he interacted with and served for so much of his career.

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