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Mrs. Kathleen Treanor was born Kathleen McGinn, whose father originally came from Goland, Ballygawley,
but moved to a farm in Derrykinard, Emyvale, Monaghan. Kathleen was an only child and had her
schooling from Master Smyth in Knockconan NS.
As an only child she was expected to help out at home with housework and farmwork but that was the
norm for all young girls at the time.
In 1934 she married Owen Treanor from Rarutra, Emyvale, and moved down the road to their present
home at Derrykinard. They have twelve children: Peggy (England); Seamus (at home); Eugene
(England); Patsy (England); Kitty (England); Ann (England); Bridie (Griggy, Monaghan); Bernadette
(Dublin); Michael (Dublin); Carmel (England); Brendan (at home) and Kevin (at home).
With such a big family, times were tough but they never wanted for food or clothes. They worked hard
and between farm produce and her skilful hands they had a happy life with enough to do them. Owen
died in 1974.
When Kathleen looks back she remembers the fun and enjoyment they used have at the dances in
Ballyoisin Old School or at the dancing deck near McGinns.
There was a very strict priest in the parish at the time and he travelled about on horseback wearing his
top hat. He knew everything that was going on and was very much against youngsters out late at night.
It was the Ceili in the houses and the house parties that Kathleen remembers best. She used love to hear Peter McKenna (Niall
Dubh) telling his ghost stories and tales of the fairies.
Parties would be held in various houses on a very regular basis and everyone was expected to do a party piece.
At the age of 15 Kathleen, who thought she couldn’t match their singing, began reciting poetry, then she began to compose her
own and always had a special poem for every party. News soon got about regarding her compositions and very soon she was
publishing one every week in Belfast papers – The Irish Weekly and Ulster Examiner. She kept copies of every one she had
Then in 1934, after her marriage, the muse and the inspiration seemed to dry up and for 30 years not a poem was composed. She
was at a wedding anniversary party around 1968 and Martha McKenna was there. As her party piece, Martha began to recite a
poem about sports in Fortsingleton. Kathleen recognised it as one of hers and suddenly the words came flowing back to her mind
and the muse was active again.
She searched the house for her earlier collection but she blames some of her children for their disappearance. However she re-
wrote what she could remember and composed new ones. Her daughter, Peggy, has typed out a selection and has bound them in
book form for safekeeping.
Now Kathleen spends her time looking after her home, which is her pride and joy, but she loves to visit her children and
grandchildren in Dublin, Monaghan and England as often as she can. She is a regular at the Thursday Club activities in Emyvale
Leisure Centre and has great praise for Anna Loughran, Packie Sherry, Mick McKenna and all the other members of the North
Monaghan Social Services committee for the work they are doing and the enjoyment they bring to the senior citizens. She herself
contributes with her recitations and specially composed verses on big occasions.
There is no doubt that many more lines will come from Kathleen. Her mind is forever alert to happenings at home and abroad and
she enjoys every minute of every day. She is a person who will lift any company with her presence and can see humour where
others see darkness.
She keeps a notepad beside her bedside light and, as does happen, if lines come to her in the night time hours, she jots them down
so that they will not be lost.
Long may her good health, her hearty laugh, her lively conversation, her melodious lines and her loveable personality be with us.
By Peadar McMahon and published in the Dungannon Observer.
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