Canon Michael Charles Troy was born in Listowel Co Kerry in 1895. He was ordained to the priesthood at Maynooth College by Archbishop Byrne on the 19 June 1921. His first parish were Dunboyne in Co Meath and he served there as a curate from 1921-23. On the 30 January 1923, he was appointed to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Kilmainham, which included chaplain to the prisoners in Kilmainham Jail where he would have met many of the Free State prisoners. The other parishes he served, as a curate were Greenane, county Wicklow 1925-28. St Michans, Dublin 1928-33 and Terenure, Dublin 1933-51. On the 28 July 1951 he was then appointed to St Michaels Church Inchicore with part of his duties in what was to be the new parish of Ballyfermot.
On the 5 February 1953 he was appointed the first parish priest of Ballyfermot and went about preparing the way for the De La Salle Brothers and the Dominican Sisters to set up schools in lower Ballyfermot and later, the Sisters of Charity who ran St Louise’s school in upper Ballyfermot. There was no doubt of his love for Ballyfermot and its people as when he would be talking to anyone outside the area he would always say that ‘Dublin was a suburb of Ballyfermot’, and he would always boast that Ballyfermot had the largest schools in Europe which it had. He also helped to set up the Vincent De Paul in the area.
Brother Donal, a De La Salle brother, who taught in Ballyfermot and is now retired and living in Ballyfermot, knew Canon Troy very well. He recalls that the Canon’s passion was for the GAA and his beloved Kerry Team. In the early days the Canon presented a set of Jerseys to the Ballyfermot GAA team the colour of the Jersey’s were green and gold which happened to be the same colours of the Kerry Team. Ballyfermot GAA team still play in these colours today. The Canon had played for Kerry as a young man but never won an all Ireland medal. Soccer was a foreign sport to him. Canon Brady served in Ballyfermot as a young curate. Canon Troy was his parish priest he recalls that Canon Troy was a big man in stature as he stood over six feet but he also had a big heart.
His devotion was to the Gaelic games, which he combined with his fundraising skills. He would organise the American Armed Forces, football team to play in Croke Park each year and the money collected would be given over to the Catholic Social Service, which is now known as Crosscare, and they looked after the poor of Dublin. Canon Troy died on the 11 November 1972 and was buried in the Little Sisters of the Poor Cemetery Kilmainham. His body were exhumed when the Convent closed and he now rests in Palmerstown Cemetery.
The Painters hut situated on O Hogan Road within the grounds of Markievicz Park played many a role in Ballyfermot. It was used as storage shed for the Dublin Corporation workers when the first housing phase began. Fr Donal O Scannaill purchased the paint store for £200 from Dublin Corporation and it became the first church in modern Ballyfermot. It was used from 1950 until Our Lady of the Assumption Church opened in 1953. This shed was also used as a soup kitchen, nick named in the locality as the ‘Stew House’ where the Daughters of Charity of the St Vincent De Paul severed soup to the needy of the area. Our Lady’s of Victories youth club started there also.
Eamonn Mac Thomais, the Dublin historian and author who died in 2002, wrote in the Irish Press on 2 June 1986 about his input in helping Ballyfermot get its new church. His parish church was St Michaels in Inchicore and one Sunday at mass Father Donal O Scannaill who was one of the curate’s in St Michaels and was also assigned to help start up the new parish of Ballyfermot appealed over the altar for door to door collectors to help build a church in Ballyfermot. Eamonn gave in his name as one of the volunteers. He received his collector’s book and he was off the next Sunday to collect from what were known as the newly wed houses on Muskerry Road.
There were many other events organised by Father Donal and the community to raise funds for the new church. Such as social evenings which included, dances, ‘Take your Pick’ called after a popular television show at that time, this was a game where the person playing had the choice to take money that was offered or open a box which could result in winning nothing. The biggest fundraiser was the ‘Buy a block’ for the building of Our Lady of the Assumption Church. Each block cost £1 and they sold 3,300. Some people paid 6d. a week until the block was paid for, and when they had paid in full, they received a souvenir receipt to say that they owned one cement block in Our Lady of the Assumption Church.
Father Donal wrote in an article for the twenty fifth anniversary of Our Lady Assumption Church; ‘The Joy of brining the Blessed Sacrament in a solemn procession from the Painters hut to our lovely new church will abide with me forever’.
Robinson, Keefe and Devine designed Our Lady of the Assumption Church. Built by John Hughes & Son. Work started in May 1951. The church cost £68,000 to build. The Mahogany seats cost £10,000. Seating Capacity in 1952 was for 1,980 people.