May 2022 marks a year since the passing of Tom Kenny, civil engineer and construction manager, whose work helped shape the landscape of Ireland’s northwest.

“A true gentleman” is how Tom is most often described in the messages of condolence sent to his family in the past year.

Tom Kenny: April 7, 1945-April 30, 2021

Born in Killybegs in 1945 to Rita and Tom Kenny Sr, Tom grew up in Belturbet, Co Cavan, and attended secondary school at St Mary’s College, Dundalk. 

Irish Times intervarsity championships

In 1963, Tom began studying civil engineering at University College Galway. His college life extended far beyond his studies; a member of the university debating team, he competed in the Irish Times intervarsity championships, and was elected to the student council. His short stories and poetry were published in the college journals and, by all accounts, he greatly enjoyed the social life that Galway city had to offer.

Tom’s lifelong career in engineering and construction began with roads, apartments, water schemes and reservoir projects in many parts of Ireland. Moving to Sligo in 1979, he teamed up with the late Liam Kilcawley, fellow director in Kilcawley Building & Civil Engineering Ltd.

Landmark buildings

Céide Fields Visitor Centre, Co Mayo

Readers will know many of the landmark buildings that resulted, including the multi-award-winning Céide Fields Visitor Centre in Mayo; Dooncarton Radar Station; Sligo Fire Station; the Administration Block in ATU’s Sligo campus; the Government Offices in Cranmore; the Johnston Library in Cavan; post-primary schools in Castlerea and Ballinrobe; and the Community Hospital in Killybegs.

Dooncarton Radar Station

Of all his projects, Tom was most proud of his part in Sligo’s regeneration along the Garavogue River, including his work on the Weir House Development, the ESB offices, and the renewal of Rockwood Parade and its well-known footbridge.

Rockwood parade and footbridge, Sligo

Tom loved sport. He assisted with the coaching of the Rosses Point underage GAA teams that won leagues and championships in the late 1990s. Tom’s GAA interest was not limited to Sligo and, throughout his life, he travelled with friends to watch his beloved Cavan in action around the country.

He was a supporter of Sligo Rovers and assisted the development committee in the redevelopment of the Tracey Avenue Stand and the installation of the all-weather pitch. Tom was a long-term member of County Sligo Golf Club, where he served as club captain in 2006 and as club president in 2020.

Ethos of service

Throughout Tom’s life he was committed to an ethos of service. He was a Fellow of Engineers Ireland (formerly the Institute of Engineers) since 1988, and later became president of its North West Regional chapter. He was an external examiner in both the Sligo and Galway-Mayo Institutes of Technology, where he actively mentored students. He served on the Sligo County Enterprise Board, and was president of the Rotary Club of Sligo.

Tom was known for his smile and his enjoyment of a good chat and story. He enjoyed golf with his regular fourball group every Saturday, and played a Thursday night card game with his friends in the winter months – a tradition that lasted more than 40 years.

Tom’s was a life well lived, and those who loved him will always be grateful for this. He will forever be remembered and deeply missed by his beloved wife Ada; his daughter Kate; sons Thomas, Conor and Brian; son-in-law Shane (Quill) and daughter-in-law Paula Monaghan; his adored grandchildren Seán and Ada; his sisters Sheila Broderick (Dublin) and Maire Masterson (Tyrone); brothers-in-law Michael and Eugene; extended family and a wide circle of friends.

Tom’s memory lives on in the people who loved him and in the buildings he worked on across the northwest of Ireland, his adopted home.

TOM KENNY: APRIL 7, 1945-APRIL 30, 2021