By Carmel Hayes
A POPULAR senior clergyman who ministered in Killeshin is to retire to Thailand next month, after many years serving local parishes.
Church of Ireland canon Rev Peter Tarleton of St Peter’s Church in Portlaoise will retire on 30 August at the age of 74.
The inspirational clergyman, who spent his 70th birthday on Mount Kenya in aid of charity, will move permanently to Thailand to join his wife Nok following his retirement.
Canon Tarleton moved to Portlaoise in 2018 after seven years in the parish of Killeshin, which spans Laois, Carlow and Kilkenny and includes four churches.
He describes his time in Killeshin as the happiest years of his life, as he recalls: “The people there were very good to me.”
Before moving to Laois, Rev Tarleton worked as a prison chaplain in England for more than 20 years and his local ministry includes the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, as well as Portlaoise hospital and Maryborough NS.
An extraordinary man who has led a fascinating life, he climbed Mount Kenya on his 70th birthday in aid of a cancer charity and hopes to spend his 80th at the summit of Mount Deniel (formerly Mount McKinley) in Alaska. He also jokes that he may spend his 90th birthday at the top of Mount Everest, even though it might not be worth his while coming down at that age.
A native of Pallaskenry, Co Limerick, he attended the famous Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, the alma mater of Oscar Wilde, and completed his education at Magee College, Derry and at Trinity College, Dublin.
Rev Tarleton has five adult children and is also a proud grandfather. Sadly, he was widowed nine years ago when his wife Jocelyn passed away, but he was lucky to find love again with his second wife Nok, who divides her time between Thailand and Ireland.
Among many memorable events during his time in Portlaoise was his four-day fast for charity in December 2018 at the age of 72. With typically selfless determination, he skipped his evening meal on 30 November and ate nothing until breakfast on 5 December to raise money for Christian Aid, which runs sustainable farming projects for some of the world’s poorest people in Kenya.
Renowned and admired for his friendly, down-to-earth manner and compassion for people from all walks of life, he will be fondly remembered by Killeshin parishioners.