Michael attended primary school at Listellick National School and secondary at St Brendan’s College, Killarney, before he qualified with a Bachelor of Education Degree in Physical Education at the University of Limerick in 1976.
His first teaching post was in Skibbereen where he taught in St Fachtna’s De La Salle and Mercy Heights Secondary School until 1979, when he returned to his native Tralee to a position at St Mary’s Secondary School, Moyderwell. The two Mercy schools in Tralee, at Moyderwell and Balloonagh, decided to amalgamate in the early 90’s and this resulted in the building of a brand new Mercy Secondary school at Mounthawk, Tralee. Michael served as staff representative and PRO of the building committee charged with overseeing the construction of the new school, which opened in 2001. His teaching career, spanning over 30 years, ended in Mounthawk in 2006 when he retired on medical advice.
His teaching career was marked by commitment to student well being and personal development through participation in physical and sporting activities. He coached many school teams in Gaelic football, hurling and basketball; compiled and edited The Old School Tie which recorded the history of the school with contributions from staff and students; and initiated the publication of the annual Sixth Year Yearbook, which recounted the school experiences of each succeeding group of graduating Leaving Certificate students over their five or six years at second level.
Michael worked for three years on secondment to the GAA as Field Officer with the Munster Council between1992-94. During that time he was responsible for Coaching and Development programmes in Munster and initiated Pilot Coach Education Courses across the Province. He acted as a Coach Development Tutor with the University of Limerick based National Coaching and Training Centre from 1993, officiating at Coach Education programmes organised by the National Governing Bodies of sport. In 1994 he co-authored a book entitled Training Drills for Gaelic Football with his great friend, Pat O Shea of Killarney, before he returned to teaching in September 1994.
Lifelong interest in the Bible saw him complete an MA in Biblical Studies in 2003 at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. Upon early retirement in 2006 he undertook further studies in Pastoral Scripture at the Dominican Biblical Centre in Limerick, which resulted in receipt of Diplomas in Biblical and Theological Studies from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth (2008-10) and in Theology from St David’s University, Wales, in conjunction with the Priory Institute, Tallaght in 2011. In 2015 he successfully completed a two year Certificate Course in Spiritual Accompaniment with the All Ireland Spiritual Guidance Association.
He has travelled on pilgrimage to the significant Biblical sites of Asia Minor (Turkey) in 2011 under the stewardship of the late Dr Sean Freyne, and to the Holy Land in 2012 and Greece in 2014, under the direction of Dr Kieran O Mahony, OSA. All pilgrimages placed particular emphasis on the New Testament sites associated with Jesus, Paul and the emerging Christian communities and also included access to some well known Old Testament locations such as Mount Sinai and Jericho.
Michael is a daily practitioner and trained facilitator on the Thomas Keating method of Centering Prayer with Contemplative Outreach Ireland since April 2013 and conducts a weekly Centering Prayer meeting at his local Tralee parish of St Brendan’s. He organises workshops in Centering Prayer, day retreats, and Scripture based days of reflection, quiet, and sharing of the Word.
He is married to Margaret Ryan of Moneygall, has three children and three grandchildren and lives at Gurrane, Tralee.