“The Parishes in the Diocese of Killala” are the best known of Mgr. MacHales’s writings. He began his research for these booklets in 1950 and this booklet (in four parts) was first published in the Western People in 1977.
He was born in Knockmaria, Lahardane and received his primary education in the old school in Lahardane and his secondary education in St. Muredach’s College, Ballina. He was ordained to the priesthood on 23rd June 1940 in Maynooth.
He worked for nine years in Gillingham, Kent, four of which were during the war. After being recalled to his home diocese, he was appointed Dean of Discipline in St. Muredach’s College. It was during his time here that he began to research local history. In 1954, he was sent as curate to Skreen and Dromard and spent nine years there. He was then appointed curate to Crossmolina. During his time in those parishes he took special interest in the Legion of Mary and the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. Also, for over twelve years, he acted as religious examiner in Tireragh and South Tirawley.
In January 1968, he was appointed Administrator of Knockmore and in June 1969, he was appointed parish priest of Killala. He remained as Parish Priest here for 22 years until he retired due to ill health, just four and a half years before his death on 29th May 1994. He is buried in the Church grounds in Killala.
He has been described as one of nature’s gentlemen, always available, always helpful. As Vicar General (the Bishop’s deputy in his absence) he was most approachable.
Due to ill health, he was unable to attend the Golden Jubilee of his 1940 Ordination class. His classmates recounted his football skills and athletic ability and one retired professor described his action on the football field as “poetry in motion”.
He won the 440 yds championship for six consecutive years and also won many trophies for the 100yds, 220yds, the long jump and triple jump.