Fr. Paddy Tyrrell was born in Cabra, Dublin, on 14th November, 1933. He was 5th in a family of seven. The family lived in a corporation house, one of the earliest of the new government’s plan to house people from the slums.
His name is on the first page of the Baptismal Register in the Church of Christ the King, Cabra. When he was a small boy, his Dad lost his job as a laborer in Lipton’s grocery store in Henry St. The family lived in huge poverty for several years.
His mother had been a furrier in Vard’s of Grafton St. before she married, and many of her former clients came to their house in Cabra and give her some work. Eventually his Dad got a temporary job raking leaves in the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, but this only lasted for a few weeks. Then he finally got a job as a firelighter in a government office in Oriel House carrying sacks of coal or turf up several floors, and keeping the fires stoked for the civil servants.
Paddy’s mother pushed to get her children into good schools, and the boys began in St. Vincent’s in Glasnevin. Paddy joined the scout troop in Glasnevin.
A Jesuit priest from Galway, Padraig O Brolchain, befriended his family through Irish dancing. He was very interested in all the family, and he finally helped Paddy to pass his swimming test for a first class badge in the scouts.
This dedication of his family’s priest friend gave Paddy such joy that he began to think that his life would be well-spent if he could give a fraction of the joy that that priest brought him to some young person somewhere in the world.
That is the beginning of the dream in Paddy’s life. He joined the Jesuits, and went through the usual training. He was prefect of studies in Mungret College in Limerick, and after that he was sent to Galway as headmaster. After working with parents and teenagers, he finally came to Chicago where he is at present working with the teenagers and their parents.