The late Conor O'Brien (left) and the late Jim Farrell
CONOR O’BRIEN - LEIXLIP and CLANE
The death took place on February 22 of Conor O’Brien, the Clane-born, but Leixlip resident, champion of tidy-towning in Leixlip for as many years as people can remember.
He was born in Clane in September, 1939, the only child of a gardener, Bill O’Brien, and his wife, Maria O’Connor.
They were in service there in one of the “big houses.”
It was from his mother he got his first name. After early life in Clane, the family moved to Lucan, following Bill’s job, and in 1952 to their own home on The Mall, Main Street, Leixlip.
Conor won a scholarship to O’Connell’s CBS and then to St Patrick’s, Drumcondra, where he qualified as a National Teacher.
After a short spell teaching in Rosslare, he returned to live in Leixlip, teaching for the rest of career in Lark Hill NS, Drumcondra/Whitehall.
Conor’s father was a founding member of Leixlip Tidy Town Association, which was set up in 1963. In due course, Conor assumed the mantle as secretary of that organisation, and kept it going through thick and thin ever since until recent years.
It was a fitting end to his life that this year Leixlip won a gold medal from its tidy-town activities. Early in life, he joined the Vincent de Paul Association, where he met, and later married, a nurse, May Keigher, from nearby Kilmacredock.
Together they provided extra-curricular education in music, dance and more usual school subjects at The Mall, and for several years ran a used-books shop which catered for all tastes.
When the development of a hitherto stagnant Leixlip took off about 1970, the Tidy Town Association, being the only community one in the town, became concerned at the unmet need for amenities to go with large housing estates and fostered the establishment of an elected community council.
Conor, and May’s father, played a part in this campaign over many years.
Conor also pioneered early awareness of the rich history of Leixlip, taking a lead in this from his friend and neighbour, the late Jim Farrell, a former local IRA leader during the War of Independence and Civil War period.
About 10 years ago Conor was stricken with Parkinson's’ disease, which precipitated his recent death.
He was interred in his family’s plot in Confey Cemetery on Monday, February 26, accompanied there by a guard of honour of his tidy-town colleagues - John Colgan.