Home Latest news Much loved and respected Tallaght historian will be greatly missed

Much loved and respected Tallaght historian will be greatly missed


Noted historian and Tallaght man Dr Shane Kenna sadly died yesterday aged 33 following a year long battle with cancer.

His many colleagues in the historical community have spoken of their extreme sadness at his passing at such a tragically young age.

Shane, who was originally from Old Bawn, was a massively respected doctor of modern Irish history with an interest in late Victorian and Edwardian Ireland.

He earned a BA in History and Political Science, and an MA and PhD in Irish History from Trinity College Dublin before he worked in several sites of historical and political importance including Kilmainham Gaol Museum and Archive, Dublin Castle, Government Buildings and Castletown House.

Shane lectured at Trinity College, Dublin and Saor Ollscoil na Éireann University and throughout his career organised and managed many excellent courses on Modern History.

He also worked as an adviser for the BBC and featured regularly in the media.

His much praised first book War in The Shadows: The Irish-American Fenians Who Bombed Victorian Britain was released December 2013 and he followed it up with two equally excellent books, ‘War in the Shadows’ on the Fenian bombers of the 1880s and a biography of 1916 leader Thomas MacDonagh.

His 2015 biography of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, whose funeral in 1915 is seen as the precursor of the Easter Rising is the only biography of O’Donovan Rossa presently in production.

Last year he appeared on TV3’s coverage of the Easter Rising centenary commemorations.

His colleague at The Irish Story website, John Dorney, described Shane as follows in his tribute:

“In person, Shane was a great big ball of energy, his smile would gleam through his great black beard and his eyes would shine when he talked about his passion for Irish history and the Fenian era in particular.

“Once, at a history conference I recall Shane looking me in the face and saying deadpan, ‘we’re so lucky to have such a wonderful history’.

“He was neither joking nor being sarcastic.

“He genuinely loved his chosen profession.”

Shane’s removal to St. Dominic’s Church, Tallaght is on Saturday morning arriving for 9.30am Requiem Mass, with the funeral following in Newlands Cross Cemetery.