Willie McKenna of Ireland remembered as true Prince Edward Island ambassador

Memorial service in P.E.I. planned for November

Published on September 30, 2014
Visitors from Ireland are on a tour to celebrate the Maritimes Irish roots. From left, Tignish Irish Folk Festival chair Paul Shea, Willie McKenna, former chief of clan McKenna, having some fun with Egmont MP Joe McGuire and Tignish council chair Elmer Arsenault. Al MacLeod/Journal Pioneer

The Irish community on Prince Edward Island has learned of the death of Willie McKenna, Co. Monaghan, Ireland. He died Sept. 26.

McKenna was a member of the original Irish delegation which visited Prince Edward Island in 1990 when the Department of Tourism adopted the theme A'Kin to Ireland.

He has continued to visit Prince Edward Island, annually, to celebrate Irish Settlers Days, sponsored by the Fort Augustus Irish Descendants Association.

”His keen interest in history, ancestry, love of Irish culture and vivacious personality has greatly strengthened the bond between Ireland and Prince Edward Island,” says Anna Duffy, a spokeswoman for the association.

“His enthusiasm and interest in the people and businesses of the Island have endeared him to hundreds of Islanders, especially those in the communities of Fort Augustus, Emyvale and Kelly's Cross, who have officially twinned with Co. Monaghan, Ireland. Willie has been the bond who cemented these ties over the years, resulting in many Islanders researching their roots and travelling to Ireland.”

His funeral was held Monday at St. McCarten Basilica, Monaghan town, Ireland. His remains were laid to rest in Ballyosen, his birthplace. A memorial mass will be celebrated in St. Patrick's Church, Fort Augustus, Sunday, Nov. 9.