Denis Hawkes was born in Keel, Upton, County Cork on the 20th December 1906, the second of a farming family of eight.
After working the farm for a number of years, he studied for the civil service examinations and, in the 1930s, was appointed a pensions officer (later a social welfare officer). He served in this capacity in Tralee, Ballyhaunis, Ennis, Kilmallock and Newcastle West. In 1949, before his marriage to Nora Duggan, he purchased Kilbeha House and farm. He worked the farm on a part-time basis while continuing to work as a social welfare officer.
His retirement from the Civil Service in the mid-1960s afforded him the opportunity to become active in the life of his parish, Cappagh. Although a Corkman by birth and not lacking in the county pride, which each Corkman regards as his birthright, he had a great affection for his adopted county and in particular for the parish of Cappagh.
He had a profound conviction that the essential Irish values were to be found in rural communities and the Cappagh branch of Muintir na Tire, exemplified for him all that was best in the Irish character. Not surprisingly, therefore, his involvement with Muintir evinced a degree of enthusiasm which few other things in life could. He took particular pride in the work of Muintir in bringing a group water scheme to Cappagh and in the erection of a community hall. The capacity of a small multi-denominational community such as Cappagh to work in harmony for such ends was an abiding source of satisfaction to him.
An interest in local history was an integral part of his more general interest in rural community life. He enjoyed the excursions of the Thomond archeological society to places of historical interest which included the townland of Cappagh. He responded with enthusiasm to the invitation of the Cappagh handball club to write a history of the parish, which was published to mark the opening of the new handball court, itself another gratifying symbol of the vitality of community life. Denis died on 28th January 1981.
Article from Frank Whelan’s book