Castleknock College Union

Richard (Dick) Shanahan, class '43

In Memoriam

Dec 23, 2013
Richard (Dick) Shanahan, class '43 -

The Union was saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Dick Shanahan, class '43.

The death has occurred of Dr Dick SHANAHAN
Dromore, Farranfore, Kerry

Shanahan, Dr Dick, Dromore House, Farranfore, Co Kerry, December 23rd, 2013 at his home, peacefully after a long illness bravely borne, deeply regretted by his loving wife Bobbie, sons Eamonn, Liam, John and Hugh, daughters Veronica, Caitríona, Paula and Claire, beloved grandchildren, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, his sister Sr. Kathleen, nephews and nieces, colleagues and friends.

Reposing at O’Connors Funeral Home, Firies on Thursday, 26th December, St Stephen’s Day, from 5pm to 8pm with removal to St Gertrude’s Church, Firies at 8pm. Funeral Mass on Friday, 27th December, at 11am. Burial afterwards in Aghadoe Lawn Cemetery, Killarney. House strictly private. Family flowers only, donations in lieu to Palliative Care Unit, Kerry General Hospital.

Date Published: Monday 23rd December 2013

Date of Death: Monday 23rd December 2013

A look back at the 1971 chronicle has it that:

In the days when the College produced a Gilbert and Sullivan show each year, the part of Nanki-Poo in a very well staged Mikado was filled by Dick Shanahan (1941-43) now better known as Dr. R. C. Shanahan. He was always keen on music, winning the Tenor Medal in the Feis Maitui, Cork and later on in his career being Musical Director to several light opera productions in Tralee and Killarney. He has studied conducting in London under Sir Adrian Boult and is at the moment conductor of the Tralee Orchestral Society, as well as running the Parish Choir. The advancement of medical science was a subject close to his heart in the 1943 President's Debate, and that is what he chose to study at University College Cork after he left 'Knock. He qualified as a doctor in 1949 and did his post graduate course in Cork and Dublin acquiring the L.M., D.G.O. and C.P.H. In 1952 he returned to his native Farranfore working in partnership with his father, a family doctor. In 1962 he obtained membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners and now gives lectures in University College Cork on General Practice. Dick is married with a fine family of eight children and he picked a recreation that would involve all the family, gliding, and is Chairman of the Kerry Gliding Club. They have just purchased their first glider. Many happy landings is our wish for all the clan.

Dick then paid us the ultimate honour when he sent three of his sons to be educated at his alma mater: Eamonn, class of '75 and John & Liam, both class of '77. To them, his wife Bobbie, son Hugh, daughters Veronica, Caitríona, Paula and Claire, we extend our heartfelt condolences.

Requiescat in Pace.

Dr Richard Christopher (Dick) Shanahan passed away on December 23rd surrounded by his family after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Bobbie, his children Eamonn, Liam, John, Veronica, Caitriona, Paula, Claire and Hugh, his 18 grandchildren and Sr. Kathleen his sister.

It is hard to summarise how much he achieved in his lifetime. He was a G.P. in Farranfore, a musician and deeply committed to his Faith. He loved flying and was associated with the early stages of Kerry Airport. He was born in 1926. Ireland had existed as an independent country for four years, still very much in the shadow of the civil war but by his own accounts he had a carefree and happy childhood with his parents and five sisters in Farranfore. His father, Dr Ned Shanahan, was a Dispensary Doctor in Farranfore. Dick Shanahan learnt much about being a country doctor from his father and ultimately was to follow him in his footsteps. It was a role he always wanted to have. He went to school at CBS, The Green in Tralee and Castleknock College in Dublin. He graduated with a degree in Medicine at University College Cork in 1949 and in 1952 joined his father in the practice in Farranfore. He was to continue working in Farranfore for the rest of his life.

He was an enormously committed G.P. with a specific interest in care of the elderly. As well as his role as a G.P. he was appointed medical officer at St. Columbanus home in Killarney. During his time in office he oversaw significant changes that improved the delivery of care to the patients. In 1971 Dr Dick Shanahan became a member of the Consultative Council on General Practice, which was established by the then Minister for Health and Tánaiste Erskin Childers. This Council was charged with the development of General Practice in Ireland. The role of the Consultative Council was to envision the future of general practice, and in areas such as primary care teams this is still playing out today. In 1984 he and a small group of GP’s were founder members of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP). The Irish College of General Practitioners is the professional body for general practice, the representative organisation on education, training and standards. He was President of the ICGP in 1989 and was also awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners, in recognition of his services to General Practice. In a keynote address to the ICGP he stressed the importance of the role of the GP advising, rather than dictating, treatments to patients. He retired in 2004 having been joined in practice some years prior to this by his son Dr Eamonn Shanahan.

In 1945 he embraced the challenge of being organist at Firies Church and remained until his retirement in December 2012. During these years he enthusiastically nurtured the Parish Choir and passionately encouraged congregational singing. He was awarded the Bene Merente medal for these 65 years of service to the liturgical music at Firies Church. Dick Shanahan was a man of deep faith and a loyal member of the Catholic Church. He was Medical Officer for the Kerry Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes for many years. He was awarded the Papal Knighthood for his dedicated service to the Pilgrimage. Indeed, he travelled as an invalid in September 2013.

His great love of music knew no bounds and from a young age he was identified in Castleknock College as a great tenor and he played lead in several Gilbert and Sullivan school productions. He was a key figure in the Killarney Gilbert and Sullivan society, the Tralee orchestra, the Kerry School of Music, the Killarney Bach festival, the Killarney Musical Society and many other musical projects. This was a lifetime of composing and arranging for everything from piano to full orchestral works. In his retirement he dedicated himself on an almost full time basis to composing a wide range of different genres of music, much of which remains to be played publicly.

Despite the loss of an eye in his early twenties, he loved flying and was closely involved with the Kerry Flying club and Gliding club through the 1970’s. During this time he was Chairman of the Board for Kerry Airport which had been founded in 1968, at which time the airport struggled to survive. Dick Shanahan was instrumental in keeping the airport going as an ongoing concern and ultimately played an important role in ensuring that the airport is a key element of the transport infrastructure to Kerry.

It is a testament to Dr Dick that so many of his colleagues in the medical community walked with him in procession to his funeral Mass and was greeted there by a guard of honour of his beloved church choir at Firies. He would have been humbled that so many priests and Bishop Bill Murphy concelebrated his funeral Mass. Dick never ceased to be excited by new ideas and projects and to see their possibilities. Change was something that he was never afraid of - indeed he ran towards it and embraced it. Never a man to spend time on introspection, his outlook on life was positive and optimistic.

The Kerryman.