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Margaret Skinnider 2.

If you have not read the early stages of the Margaret Skinnider Appreciation Society then you should go HERE first of all to get the background of this update to the wonderful and intriguing story of Margaret Skinnider.

On Saturday, March 19th a nephew of Margaret Skinnider and his wife, Evelyn, arrived in Monaghan from Australia for a short visit to see the ancestral homestead and to meet with distant relatives.
He is Fergan O'Sullivan and at the sprightly age of 88 he is an amazing person with boundless energy and tremendous mind.
He is the sole survivor of his generation of descendants from the Skinnider family, of which Margaret Skinnider was part.  He is a nephew of Margaret.  His mother Georgina O'Sullivan was the youngest sibling of the Skinniders in Glasgow, and she and his late brother with Fergan lived with Margaret for many years in Dublin. He worked with the Irish Times until he left Dublin in 1949 to go to Australia.

Members of the Appreciative Society (MSAS) met with Fergan and Evelyn and they accompanied them to the Month Mind Mass for the late Ownie Skinnader in Carrickroe, after which they met with members of the Skinnader family to whom they related. They then proceeded to St. Patrick's National School, Clara, where, under the direction of Ms O'Hanlon the pupils had prepared a special 1916 Commemoration presentation including the life and work of Margaret Skinnider. It was an excellent presentation by the pupils which included music, song, poetry and a reading the School's 2016 Proclamation. Fergan was very moved by the proclamation and asked for a copy. He was extremely impressed with the Presentation and the ability of the pupils to perform their parts and he thanked them and congratulated them on a marvellous production so ably presented. He also thanked Ms. O'Hanlon and other involved and appreciated the refreshments. He was then taken on a tour of the Pictorial Display which has been prepared by the pupils  to commemorate 1916. We had a few words with Fergan as we left the school which you can hear by clicking on his image below. It was then on to Ballyoisin to visit Skinnider graves there. After lunch all moved to the Tydavnet and Cornagilta area and this was a poignant moment for Fergan as he stood on the doorstep of the ruins of the homestead where his grandfather had lived. He was presented there with a stone from the building, which Pat McKenna had worked and on which he carved a Cross. This would be something Fergan will cherish. Fergan then cut the ribbon on the place near Cornagilta NS, where a Memorial to Margaret Skinnider will be erected in the coming  months. This Memorial will be built with stones salvaged from a former home of the Skinnider grandfather. Throughout members of the MSAS gave details and explanations and shared the history which has been gathered by them led by Patsy Brady. On Sunday Fergan and Evelyn were guests with the Society as they were shown other places of interest and fame. We will have a fuller report on the visit later as this is a very interesting and unique story and all praise to Patsy Brady and the other committee members for the work they have done on highlighting this part of 1916 for Monaghan.

With Della Hunt, nee Skinnader, at the Skinnader Plot in Carrickroe.

Fergan at the Roundabout in Monaghan which is proposed to be renamed in honour of Maragret Skinnader.

With Pete and Margaret Sherry

With John Treanor

With Theo McMahon

This wall at Corrcarin was built with stone from the ancestral homestead

Fergan with the oldest inhabitant in Cornagilta - Mrs. Brady.

At the Cottage with John and Margaret Treanor

On Friday evening the 18th March eighty-eight year-old Fergan O’Sullivan and his eighty-four year-old wife Evelyn, came to Monaghan, having arrived in Dublin two days earlier and witnessed the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the capital.  The “meet and greet” with committee members of MSAS set the tone for the week-end and the ease with which the O Sullivans used the residents’ lounge of their accommodation-Grove Lodge, Tirkeenan-as a reception venue is a tribute to the friendliness and hospitality of proprietress Paula Trappe and her husband Padraig.  Being unfamiliar with Monaghan Town the visitors (who had hired a car at Dublin Airport) found this arrangement most satisfactory.
On Saturday morning the O’Sullivans and members of MSAS attended the Month Memory Mass in Carrickroe for the late Owenie Skinnader of Sougher and after Mass met the extended Skinnnader families at Owenie’s grave.  Fergan O’Sullivan (whose grandfather was James Skinnider, father of Margaret) is a distant cousin of Della Hunt, Monaghan, and the Skinnaders.  From Carrickroe it was but a short run to Clara National School where senior pupils, under the tutelage of Ms. Teresa O’Hanlon, re-enacted, in narration and song, the lives of the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Republic and high-profile women, including Margaret Skinnider, who took part in the Rising:-

Thomas Clarke ------ Aaron Cassidy;  Patrick Pearse  ------ Orán Maguire; James Connolly  -----James Breslin; Joseph Plunkett ------ Daniel Lynch; Thomas McDonagh  -------Ryan McDaid; Seán Mac Diarmada -------Conor Meehan; Eamonn Ceannt  -------Josh Treanor; Countess Markievicz ------ Aoife Maguire; Margaret Skinnider   -------Eithne Boyle; Rosie Hackett -------Holly Halligan; Elizabeth O’Farrell   --------Nicole Treanor; Lille Mai O’Hanlon   --------Maddie Kelly; Jim Larkin was in America during the Easter Rising but this didn’t prevent Joseph Dodd from playing the role of Big Jim.  The children, along with classmate Georgia Breslin, under the direction of visiting music-teacher Marina Mohan, played a number of stirring tunes.  The artwork exhibition of 1916, mounted on the walls of the school corridor, was magnificent in the breadth of its scope and Fergan O’Sullivan was clearly touched when Eithne Boyle, who had played the role of his aunt, presented him with a painting of Margaret Skinnider, which she had done at short notice in anticipation of the visit. Lest we forget, let it be said that the tea and refreshments, enjoyed by all, was most timely, as Fergan O’Sullivan informed us that he had been out for his daily walk before an 8 o’clock breakfast.  Lisa Maguire, on behalf of the parents, then thanked the schoolchildren, the school staff and in particular Ms Teresa O’Hanlon and Ms Marina Mohan, for their attention to detail in what was an outstanding presentation.  The visit of Fergan O’Sullivan, nephew of Margaret Skinnider, and his wife Evelyn, was a day that the school community would never forget and he would like to commend MSAS whose members include local ladies, Cathaoirleach and Secretary of MSAS respectively, Josephine and Angela O’Hagan, for adding the school visit to their week-end activities.

Next on the itinerary was a visit to Ballyoisin graveyard where there are a number of Skinnader plots.  Fergan O’Sullivan had actually viewed the headstones on his laptop before leaving Australia.  This was followed by a brief stop at Corracrin, where stones from the Skinnider ancestral home were used in the construction of the roadside boundary wall in the nineties.  After such a busy morning it was time for well-deserved mid-afternoon lunch and rest.
Activities resumed with a visit to the townland of Cornagilta. The trip to Cornagilta began at Monaghan bus station following the route which Margaret Skinnider would have taken when visiting her ancestral home, that of her grandmother Isabelle Kelly mother of James Skinnider.  A considerable portion of the sandstone derelict house at Cornagilta is still intact.  These ruins and farm are now the property of Mullabrack-Scott farmers Patrick and Mary Rafferty, enthusiastic supporters of the Margaret Skinnider project.  Indeed Mary is Assistant Secretary of MSAS.  Fergan and Evelyn O’Sullivan were in reflective mood as they walked the grounds and were given a history of the property by Patsy Brady, PRO of the society and tour-guide for the week-end.  Fittingly Pat McKenna presented Fergan with a stone from the ruins, on which was carved a cross in relief: this was a replica of the stone which Pat, Patsy Brady and Anthony Watterson had placed on the Skinnider burial plot in Glasgow in July 2015 (James Skinnider had emigrated to Scotland in the 1870s).  Over an hour was spent in Cornagilta, during which Fergan O’Sullivan cut a tape at the anticipated location of a stone monument and garden of remembrance dedicated to Margaret’s memory (on ground kindly donated by Fergal and Teresa Brady) marking the Skinnider-Cornagilta link.  Among those present to greet him at Cornagilta were Seamus McCarron, Killymarron, whose great-grandmother was also one of the Kelly family.
Our final destination on Saturday was the heritage cottage of John and Margaret Treanor in Drumdart, Tydavnet.  This has been a popular port of call for visitors to the locality, and traditional rambling-house entertainment, hosted by John and Margaret, has been presented here for a number of years. Margaret’s soda cakes and treacle bread added to the sense of tradition and Saturday evening’s fare was superb.  Josephine and Angela O’Hagan, provided the music (fiddle and banjo), accompanied by drummer Pat McKenna.  Margaret Treanor obliged the company with a song and this was followed with a recitation from husband John.  Not to be outdone their granddaughter Saidhbh belied her tender years as she danced an Irish jig.  Leaving aside their instruments the O’Hagan sisters sang two songs in unison, the first song recounting the life of Rosie Hackett who was with Michael Mallin, Countess Markievicz and Margaret Skinnider in St Stephen’s Green and the College of Surgeons in 1916.  The exceptionally well-informed Fergan O’Sullivan was fully aware that Rosie Hackett had attended to the needs of a seriously wounded Margaret and that the newest Liffey bridge is named after Rosie.
It was with some reluctance that we took our leave of the Treanor family. Patsy Brady, excelling in his role of tour-guide and chauffeur to the O’Sullivans, had arranged a meeting on Sunday morning with well-known local history and ancestry expert Theo McMahon, whose work was familiar to Fergan.  Theo presented Fergan with
Cuimhneachán (the 1966 publication of County Monaghan’s celebration of the Easter Rising) and a 2004 Clogher Record featuring a comprehensive article on the Rose Estate, whose properties contained the townland of Cornagilta.  By special request from the O’Sullivans a return visit was made to the heritage cottage in Drumdart where many photographs were taken.
From two o’clock on Sunday afternoon the O’Sullivans and the MSAS committee were the guests of Mary and Patrick Rafferty and family.  A splendid meal was served by Mary and her daughters, Denise and Andrea, and the visitors asked many questions on Patrick’s farming activities.  So convivial was the company that it was half-past six o’clock before the hospitality concluded.  The O’Sullivans were effusive in their expression of gratitude to the Rafferty family for their kindness and hospitality and thanked MSAS for a not-to-be-forgotten week-end.  They had extended their stay until Monday morning when they departed Monaghan for a mid-week rendezvous (courtesy of Patsy Brady) with Bus Éireann officials in conjunction with the launch of six  buses featuring images of six women who took part in the Rising.  On Saturday they joined four thousand others for the 1916 Relatives’ Event (Ócáid do Ghaolta Lucht 1916 ), hosted by the Irish Government, when the National Folk Orchestra presented the specially commissioned Macalla 1916 suite of music composed and conducted by Michael Rooney, Scotstown and Sligo.  The O’Sullivans are continuing their tour of Ireland and Scotland before their early-April return to Australia.

Report of the visit received from MSAS.

Fergan O'Sullivan.mp3

Click on the image to the right here to hear a short clip of my chat with Fergan.

1916 Nearer Home

Margaret Skinnider’s 88 Year-old Nephew thrilled with Monaghan Welcome

Some months ago the North-Monaghan-based Margaret Skinnider Appreciation Society (MSAS) used the services of website to highlight up-coming events on their 1916 Centenary programme.  Imagine their exhilaration when they received an email from Margaret Skinnider’s nephew, Australia-based Fergan O’Sullivan.  He had been browsing the web in respect of references to his aunt in the nationwide commemorative programme when he accessed and the email address of MSAS.  Subsequent correspondence with MSAS and a jointly-agreed week-end itinerary (18th-21st March) confirmed his determination to be in Ireland and County Monaghan to commemorate Glasgow-born Margaret Skinnider’s part in the seminal deeds of Easter Week one hundred years ago


Naming of Roundabout ...... HERE

Margaret Skinnider Cycle ...  HERE

Plague Unveiled .... HERE

M. Skinnider Concert ....  HERE

Margaret Skinnider Song .... HERE

Book Launch HERE

Dublin Book Launch .. HERE

Presentation to Mary Rafferty .. HERE