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Johnny Byrne (1926-2023) of Killabban, County Laois

Huge thanks to John Glynn for the short video of the late Johnny Byrne which we posted to the Vanishing Ireland Facebook group here.




Born on 5 July 1926, he was the third of five children of Willie Byrne, a blacksmith, and his wife Winnie of Killabban, County Laois. Like his siblings, he attended Killabban N.S., leaving before he was 14 years old. As boys, Johnny and his brothers worked for local farmers as well as helping their father in the blacksmith’s forge. Johnny subsequently worked as a farm labourer.

In December 1962, he married Ellen (Nellie), a woman from Bennekerry who he met at a dance in Killabban hall. They had a daughter Mary in 1964 and a son Sean who died at birth in 1973. Johnny maintained his wonderful memory up until his death aged 97 on 21 June 2023. With thanks also to Mary O’Hara.