Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Family historian Chris Paton delves into the psychic world to uncover an extraordinary experiment carried out by his great great grandfather in 1926…
Coming from both an Irish and Scottish heritage, as a child I was no stranger to hearing stories about the otherworldly folk known in Gaelic as the ‘Sídhe’, who were said to have inhabited the Fairy Mount on the golf course in Carrickfergus, and in particular the ‘banshee’ (bean sídhe), also known as the “White Lady”, who was supposed to haunt the nearby Lover’s Lane. Despite never believing such things, I would nevertheless still find myself walking quickly down the lane on a winter’s night when finishing my paper round, a nervous glance occasionally thrown over my shoulder to make sure that the banshee was not behind me, ready to wail uncontrollably at the forthcoming death of a family member.
Eventually I left
My mother’s name is Charlotte Harper Graham, named after her own grandmother, Charlotte Harper Montgomery, who was married to Ernest Graham. Both of her grandparents had apparently been very active in the Christian Spiritualism movement in
Despite a few seconds of experiencing the heebie-jeebies upon hearing this, I cast it to one side as just a playful family myth, but a few years later I would learn that there was in fact a lot more to this alleged Spiritualism connection than even my mother knew!
Edwin eventually died in
About the author
About the author
Chris Paton is a professional genealogist and former BBC television producer. He has a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies and runs the
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
This is a delightful Christmas scene by Joe McMaster, born in Ballymena, County Antrim and now living in
If perhaps you had paused to wonder if the night wind had wrapped the twisting, turning wisplike strands of smoke around the old holly tree like a Christmas ribbon. You are not alone.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
The Old Thatched House
Ach Tay live in an auld thatched hoose,
A hoose to ca mae’ ain.
Tay sit by an auld herth fire bay Dy.
Or stroll doon a wee country lyne.
Tay ga ootside in the winter’s naght,
And to view the Milky Wy
Tay see the rise O the morning sun,
And the start O a new born Dy
Nay mere fay me the polluted air,
Or the smoke O the passing car
Fay me it’s the life O the young an the free,
An the country life bay far
Tay sit and to see the flight O the birds,
An to hear the howl O the fox by naght
It’s a sight an a soond that you’ll ne’er firget
An it will cheer your hearts delaght.
Nay mere fay me do I hear ye siy,
Nay mere, nay mere fer us.
Turn bak; turn bak to the dys of auld,
Tay the dys O nay flatter or fuss;
Tay sit at a table spread wiy food,
Prepared in the auld, auld wiy.
Tay hae an tay eat that natural meat,
An to sup that auld boul of tae;
Tay smell the air O the grilling fish,
O’er a fire O the Tirf and the Glow.
Tay pick the bones bare O that beautiful fish,
That we done in those yiars lang ago;
Nay mere fay me this man made meat,
That is tinkered wiy in every wine.
I’d rather eat grass and know that it’s guid,
Than to eat O the meat O the Dy;
Nay mere fay me this fat, and that Oil
Or food that’s been tampered with;
Just gae me the food that is naturally grown,
On the natural soils O earth;
To think O the naght’s O the candle laght
When we played in the frost and the snaw.
Tak me back, tak me bak, to that beautiful time
That, we, lived in those long years a gae.
By Ivan Knox, 22nd day of September 2003. ©
2nd Prize Winner in the Frances Brown Poetry Competition Sponsored by Ulster Scots Association and organized by The Finn Valley Voice News Paper Oct 2008.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Finding My Family Roots in
Back in 1997, after having been away from my original hometown at
To begin with, I went to the Old Town Burying Ground in
His name was Archibald Wiseman and the inscription on the stone says he “died at sea” on May 9th, 1853” at age 40. Aside from the fact that I had once heard from my grandmother that Archibald’s origin was from somewhere in Ulster, that was all that I knew about him at that time. Beginning with that information, and from a subsequent visit to the Local History Room of the Newburgh Free Library, I learned that Archie had married in the local Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church on December 25th, 1838.
At the same time, I posted an inquiry on the Wiseman Family Message Board at Rootsweb, and also contacted the official historian of the Wiseman Family Association in the
Soon after learning of Archie’s 1838 marriage (to my fellow ancestor, Susan Clyde), I consulted the 1840 US Census, and failed to find him… at first. Then I did find him there, under the name of “Achabad” Wiseman, with a wife and two young children, and employed as a clerk in a grocery store. This led me to the 1850 Census, where he and several members of his family appear with their ‘correct’ and complete names, and he is listed as a ‘brewer’ by profession. One of his children was a daughter Elizabeth, born in 1842, who was my maternal great grandmother.
The last reference I have to Archibald is that his marker in the burying ground says, as I noted above, that he died at sea in 1853. I have found no explanation or elucidation on that fact even though I’ve been looking for something for the past seven years. But I now know much more about Archibald than I did when I began this hunt.
And as a footnote to this, my son and I took a trip to Antrim while on the island, during a trip to the Republic. There, in Ballymena, we met with my presumed remote Wiseman family cousin and his son. He took us on a drive out to Cullybackey where there are several Wisemans interred in a churchyard there, and then over to the BallywatermoyTownland now in the area of Glarryford, where we visited the site of property at one time owned by Patrick Wiseman. Patrick was evidently part of our mutual family, gave the land on which a Gospel Hall was built in the mid-19th Century, and has his picture on page 22 of “
Footnote: Another of my ancestral lines, the
...a picture of the Patrick Wiseman farmhouse/barn just up the lane behind the present church on the grounds of the old Gospel Hall and churchyard
...a photo of the headstone of Patrick Wiseman in that churchyard
...a photo of our presumed cousins with my son at the right, taken in the parking area for the present church on
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
The Ulster Heritage DNA Project has grown at a steady rate, so much so that we are having growing pains. One plan under consideration is a division of the project along haplogroups. This will make it much easier to access and organise the results. This will make it much easier for each participant to look at his results and get to that information important to his family research. We will be working on this in December and all participants will receive an update when we move to that format.
We are asking that any participant that is also a member of a clan or family society to write us and keep us informed about your matches and research. Also, if you have matches, we suggest you be proactive, contact your matches and if they are not already in the UHDP urge them to join so that we clan list you as a family or clan. We are building up a data base of surname matches and corresponding geographic locations that will be a great help to family historians, or seanachaithe (plural of seanchaí, i.e. keeper of family history and traditions).
You will notice on the results page that participants sometimes are moved around; this is to accommodate research. Many Ulster surnames have multiple origins, for instance the surname Campbell. You will notice that kits with this name will move from time to time. Campbell can be native Irish when from a certain district, but usually is the surname of either Gallóglaigh families that came into Ireland from mid Argyll in the 1400s and 1500s, and in other cases, may be from families that moved to Ireland during the Plantation years, post 1610. With Campbell as with other surnames, we will move them around on the results page for some point of research.
To view the Results go to http://www.ulsterheritage.com/ and follow the links on the left hand side of the page. You can also access the Ulster Heritage Magazine via links at that web site.
If your kit is currently grouped by haplogroup and you know you have matches to your surname, email us, and we will set up your family as a separate classification on the Results page. If you have a location in Ulster that you know your family is from, also send that, it could be the very piece of information that allows you to make contact with your kith and kin. It is important to be aware that Ulster surnames can have multiple anglicised forms; an example a McKean match to a Johnson, or White to MacBain, etc., etc.
As many have noticed FT labs is coming out with sub clades of many haplogroups at a furious pace. This is good for research, especially for those interested in deep ancestry, i.e. if you are a Gael, a Cymro (British Celt), Norse, Frisian, etc. If you are curious about this just look into the sub clade test, which I think FT does for around US$ 89.
Please remember to keep your email address current on your Family Tree page, we get a lot of dead email addresses and it is hard for FT and the UHDP to contact you with no valid email address.
Mise le meas mór agus beannachtaí
Barry R McCain
Ulster Heritage DNA Project
Monday, 3 November 2008
Friday, 31 October 2008
The new Donegal community e-zine:
The first edition of the Donegal - community in touch / Dún na nGall - pobail i d'teagmháil e-zine is now available on line.
This publication provides sources of information to those who have moved away from
If you have an interest in Donegal and would like to receive a copy of the new magazine send your contact details to Diaspora@donegalcoco.ie to have your name added to the distribution database.
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Halloween was brought to the New World by
Among the Gaelic and Cymreig Celts in
The real Celtic holiday marked the beginning of the year and there was a belief that spirits, ghosts, and the Fairy Folk could easily cross over into our world as this happened. The costumes and masks are worn to ward off evil spirits, not to celebrate them. The Jack o' Latern also serves this purpose. One dresses up in a scary costume to scare the bee-jeepers out of goblins. Another aspect of Halloween is the end of the harvest and the giving of gifts of food. These two old traditions still make up the basis for our contemporary Halloween festivities.
The Gaels in
In anno domini 835 Pope Gregory IV changed the celebration for martyrs, and later all saints, from 13 May to 1 November, thus All Saints Eve fell on 31 October, on Samháin, which was then also known as All Saint’s Eve. From that date onward Halloween had very Christian roots attached to it. The following day was a Holy Day of obligation were in the mass all saints, even those not canonized, were remembered. Saints and holy people are called ‘hallowed’ in old English, and All Hallow’s Evening is what we now call Halloween.
Now because the Irish and Scottish Diaspora sent so many to
Halloween is a wonderful time, a tradition of Celtic Ireland and
Trick Or Treat from the
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Ivan Knox was interviewed recently concerning his relationship to Senator John McCain by TG4 (Teilifis Gaeilge 4). Ivan Knox as many know is a writer, poet, and historian from the Finn Valley in County, Donegal. His mother was Sarah Knox née McKane and Ivan has the many Finn Valley McCains among his cousins.
Ivan Knox is one of the most knowledgeable men there is concerning the families and clans of the Finn Valley. His kinship to the McCains has been to subject of much of Ivan's research in the last few years and he and Letitia, his lovely wife, have hosted several McCains that have traveled to Donegal from the Diaspora to visit the land of their people.
The Knox home in Donegal has become the de facto headquarters of the McCain family. Ivan Knox has been even been in contact with Senator McCain. Ivan is also a participant of the Ulster Heritage DNA Project and recently found a host of new Knox relations in the American South. Jackson's and Kee's in Ballybofey are getting used to hearing the slow soft accent of Southern American speech as these McCains and Knoxes enjoy the Finn Valley.
Ivan Knox is noted for his honesty and frank talk and his views of being interview are:
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Most people are not familiar with Gaelic history, so I will offer this brief explanation. The McCain family DNA results revealed a paternal kinship with other Gaelic families active in
The Cavanaugh/Kavanagh Y-DNA project was initiated to complement genealogical research for members of the Caomhánach Clann (web site location: www.kavanaghfamily.com) and other interested parties. Cavanaugh and Kavanagh are the two most common of some 200 derivations of the Gaelic Caomhánach. The eldest son of Diarmaid MacMurchadha (Dermot MacMurrough), Domhnall carried the nickname Caomhánach and was the King of Leinster from 1171 to 1175.
The Kavanagh inauguration
World-wide, thousands of people carry a surname derived from Caomhánach, but do not know the history of their name or where their ancestors came from. Many others do know the history of their surname but can't determine where in Ireland their ancestors came from. Standard genealogical research many times can go no further when records are not available to support either family lore past down through the generations. Well intentioned elders may have told stories, tales and yarns that through the passage of years became family "facts". It is a natural tendency to believe Grandma and Grandpa but unfortunately, family lore often cannot be documented. For example, records were destroyed by fire, either by accident or deliberately by invaders. Until DNA testing was available keys to finding the truth could not be found. This is called by many researchers, "Hitting the brick wall."
Y-DNA testing promises to unlock the past and assist people find their roots. Generations can be skipped if matches are made with people who have been successful with standard genealogical research. If their research is accurate, a positive match may lead to where one came from. One issue we have had to deal with is some people who claim to be able to trace their ancestry back hundreds of years refuse to submit to DNA testing. While DNA is a tool for aiding research by narrowing down possibilities, it cannot prove with certainty who one is. On the other hand, DNA testing can prove with100% certainly who you are not. I believe many people do not really want to know the truth, therefore refuse to participate with testing.
We have had some significant success in putting people whose test matched together. It must be thrill to discover you may have a relative you didn't know existed. Over time, my hope is that more Caomhánachs will submit to DNA testing and more family researchers will find the key to unlock their past.
The project website is at:
The family cost of arms may be seen at:
Mark R. Cavanaugh
Thursday, 16 October 2008
16 October 2008
To view the results tables go to the www.ulsterheritage.com website, look at the menu on the left, click on Ulster Heritage DNA Project, when that page comes up, click on Results, then tick view Complete Results. It will take it some time to load. We are looking into more efficient ways to display results, so please bear with us.
The Ulster Heritage online magazine is found at:
It contain bits of Ulster news and updates on aspects of the Ulster Heritage DNA Project. The magazine also puts a face on our project. Participants in the DNA project are invited to contribute short articles and photos relating to your Ulster ancestry and experiences.
For those participants interested in Scots-Irish research part three of Bob Forrest's work is now available as an ebook on the main website. Details below:
PART THREE - ‘THE MAIDEN CITY’
THE INHABITANTS OF THE CITY OF DERRY / LONDONDERRY BEFORE THE SIEGE (c.1600-1688).
The following seventeenth century records are included in this volume for the city of Derry/Londonderry:-
- the 1619 Inquisition,
- 1622 Muster Roll
- 1628 Rent Roll
- 1630 Muster Roll (599 names)
- 1642 Muster Rolls (9 companies)
- 1654/6 Civil Survey, 1659 Census
- 1663 Hearth Money Roll
- as well as numerous miscellaneous records including; Corporation records (Governors, Mayors, Aldermen, Sheriffs), lists of merchants and seamen linked to the port of Derry, Gravestone Inscriptions from the seventeenth century, siege records, Summonister (court) records (1611-1670), Will indexes (1600-1700), original will abstracts, and a list of Derry voters from 1697.
By Bob Forrest, B.A Hons; Economic and Social History (Queen’s University, Belfast). 112 pages, over 2000 surnames.
And Congratulations to the Knox families in the Diaspora, mostly in the American South, that successfully located their Irish cousins recently. That level of success really highlights how effective DNA testing can be. You can view photos of two of the ten matches this family made, Dwayne Knox of Arkansas and Ivan Knox of Corcam, County Donegal, on the Ulster Heritage E-magazine, address above.
Mise le meas mór,
Barry R McCain
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
William Roulston and Brian Trainor, two of the most talented researchers in the field of Irish family history, rolled into Oxford, Mississippi, on 6 October and gave a well attended seminar the next day. William and Brian are very good at what they do and some participants drove many miles from neighboring states to have an opportunity to hear them. This was the next to last stop on an eight stop speaking tour that started in Connecticut and ended in Georgia. They logged well over a thousand miles of driving on the tour which included seminars in Texas and Indiana.
The seminar was organized by Tom Lilly, whose ancestors are from Ulster and are of Huguenot origins. The Lilly family left Ulster and settled in Chester County, South Carolina, in 1798.
below, William and Brian with Tom and Connie Lilly
William and Brian went to the famous Oxford Square and enjoyed the local ales of Lazy Magnolia Brewery, a Mississippi brewery, at the local Proud Larry's Pub. Tom and Connie Lilly and Barry and Debi McCain joined William and Brian at Boure restaurant, just off the Square in Oxford, and coffee and desert were enjoyed at the Lilly's home later in the evening.
Congratulations go out to Brian Trainor and William Roulston for another very successful American tour.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Barry R McCain
I am delighted that the Government has passed a Bill which orders that the Gaeilge on all government bodies' stationary, signage, logos etc, be either only in Irish or as visible and as big as the English version. Are we to understand from this that the Government no longer believes that Gaeilgeoiri have better eyesight than their counterparts?
Rossa ó Snodaigh; Cluanin Ui Ruairc, Contae Liatroma
Thursday, 2 October 2008
The service comes following years of research and engagement with local communities which attempted to set in stone what exactly is in a name. Even though the site was formally launched only yesterday, interest in the service has been high, with the website recording some 250,000 hits in September.
Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív said he was delighted to launch the resource, which he hopes will be of interest to students, teachers, journalists, translators and anyone interested in Irish heritage and geography.
'Most of the country's place-names are Irish in origin, but through history and the decline of the Irish language as the everyday vernacular, many of our place-names have evolved into anglicised versions of the original names,' he said.
The spelling and pronunciation of the names of Irish towns has been a source of much controversy over the years and Mr Ó Cuív said the development of the service was not without hitches.
'This can be a very emotional and difficult subject and the public will come to you and say 'we think we're right', so we sent them the research we have . . . but some people just don't accept our response.'
Mr Ó Cuív said, for instance, some people call Knock, Co Mayo, An Cnoc, but locals call it Cnoc Mhuire, which, he understood, came from a priest in the last century. He said he let Cnoc Mhuire stand on the basis that An Cnoc could cause confusion as other places carry the same name. 'It was a hard call, these things are not black and white, but I felt this had come into the language and you have to allow change over time, and of course you know the most famous one of all and I'm not going to mention it,' he said.
Work on the site, developed by Fiontar, Dublin City University's Irish teaching and research unit, on behalf of the Placenames Branch of the Department of Gaeltacht Affairs, is continuing.
Monday, 29 September 2008
Twenty years ago, the Irish language was not cool. If a student left secondary school with any more than a cupla focail, they were doing well. Unless they needed Irish for a career in politics, with the Gardaí, or perhaps teaching, many people did not see the point in learning a language that was used only sporadically.Fast forward to today and much has changed. Irish has slowly become trendy.
TG4 is popular with adults for shows like Ros Na Run and children for shows like Dora The Explorer. Comedian Des Bishop's In The Name Of The Fada documentary further helped to reinvent Irish. As a nation, we are interested in our language again and demand for it is on the up. Not only are gaelscoil-leanna becoming the popular choice for parents when picking schools for their children, naíonraí (Irish playschools) are also increasing in popularity.
Until recently, many people did not even know what a naíonra was - it is, in fact, a playgroup for pre-school children who come together daily, usually for between two and four hours, under the guidance and supervision of a naíonra leader. Its defining characteristic is that it is run solely through the medium of Irish.
The staff structure the environment to ensure that all facets of the child's holistic development is catered for, while also giving the child the opportunity to acquire Irish naturally through the medium of play, which is this particular age group's chief method of learning.
Cliona Frost, principal officer of Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta, an organisation which supports the promotion of education and care services in Irish for children from birth, particularly through naíonraí, says the demand for Irish has been steadily on the rise since the organisation was founded in 1978. Back then, there were a total of 12 naíonraí nationwide, whereas today, there are 221. Cliona reckons one of the main reasons we are embracing Irish with gusto again and exposing our children to it at a young age is that we are aware of other nationalities living among us who have strong cultures and languages.
Joanne Uí Chuana recently opened the naíonra Cead Ceimeanna (First Steps) in Bettystown, Co Meath, as she felt that there was a general lack of Irish-language facilities available for pre-schoolers in her local area. 'I have been working closely with Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta regarding the set-up of the naíonra. 'They gave me practical advice and a small grant to help me purchase books and CDs,' she says.
Joanne admits to being excited about the adventure ahead: 'My dream is that this house will not only be a much-loved naíonra for the children who come here but that it will also become a little haven for all things Irish.'The benefits for children attending a naíonra include language acquisition, excellent reasoning skills and cultural awareness. 'The children will learn about Irish music and dancing and we will celebrate Irish festivals, such as St Brigid's Day and St Patrick's Day,' Joanne says.
Although she will speak Irish exclusively to the children she says they will mostly be learning through play and, at their age, will pick it up easily. 'I will use body language to help explain what I am saying but if a child becomes upset and I need to communicate with them in English then of course I will,' she adds.
The children will be learning Irish every day so some parents may lag behind, but Joanne has a plan for them. 'We will help parents who are a bit rusty by offering lessons. Soon we will introduce other Irish activities too, such as speech and drama and after-school Irish classes.' For the time being, though, Joanne is content to start with a morning and afternoon class daily, each with six pre-schoolers. Although she expects this to increase soon, as there is currently a very long waiting list. 'I aim to have two morning and two afternoon classes soon. I was shocked but delighted at the high level of interest."Joanne is also looking forward to diversity, with children of various nationalities attending.
'At a naíonra where I worked previously, we had a young Iraqi boy. 'He had only been in Ireland a short time and was learning English and then he came to us to learn Irish too. 'His parents played Irish CDs in the car for him and within a few months he was able to sing whole songs in Irish. 'If he can do it, anyone can - even the parents!'
While new naíonraí are popping up all over Ireland, many have been established a long time, such as Croí na Coille (Heart of the Wood), in Shankill, Co Dublin, which has been run by Cris Uí Bhriain for the past 15 years.
Cris had been involved with various playschools and had been secretary of the IPPA, the early childhood organisation, before her love of the Irish language gave her the idea to set up a naíonra. 'I loved Irish and had become fluent and I wanted to do something with it. I felt that the Irish language was often restricted to the middle class and I wanted to make it available to everyone, so I set up a community naíonra."
'Since setting up, Cris has incorporated other services too. 'At Croí na Coille we are different to many other naíonraí because we run full-day care, whereas other naíonraí usually offer a morning or afternoon class. 'We also run Irish after-school clubs. These are open to all children who are interested in Irish - we do not restrict it to only children who attend gaelscoilleanna.
'I believe our own language of Irish is in our hearts and it is great when children can acquire it. So whether a child is fluent or only learning, we welcome them all,' she added.
http://www.irishindependend.ie/ Irish Independent -
Lthch: Siobhan O'Neill-White
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Dog Ruff on stage
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
The on line E-Keltoi magazine has several scholarly articles covering many aspects of Celtic Iberia. These are found here:
Celtic hill fort in Spain
Dr Barry Cunliffe, the leading historian in the field of early Western European history, has basically told us that much of what we thought we knew about the Atlantic Celts was wrong.
The old pseudo history, the idea of continental Celts sweeping west and south into the Isles and into Iberia, continues to circulate despite DNA and archaeological proof that this did not happen. The new paradigm, one based upon what we now know from DNA testing and an open minded look at the archaeological evidence, is that the Atlantic Celts, those in Spain, Portugal, Breton, and the Isles, were indigenous to their Atlantic world. This Atlantic society is very old, thriving even before the pyramids of Egypt were built. The Atlantic Celts developed from the indigenous population in other words.
Barry R McCain © 2008
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Many times one’s DNA results are hard to understand and analysis is needed. This is especially true when dealing with Gaelic names that have multiple anglicised forms and non-surname matches. Valuable facts and family connections are some times overlooked or not understood, because of a lack of understanding of Gaelic etymology, orthography, and onomastics.
For an example; one participant surnamed Boyd that had a close non surname match to a McCaw family. This would have little meaning for most researchers, but a historian and Gaelic speaker would make sense of this. Boyd is often a Gaelic locality surname, given to people from the Isle of Bute, i.e. Bòideach in Scots Gaelic and Búiteach in Irish Gaelic. The surname often just means someone from the Isle of Bute.
A surname of one of the main clans on Bute was Mac Ádhaimh, which is often anglicised as McCaw. This Gaelic surname is an alternative form of the surname Mac Ádaim and means son of Adam and is a Celtic saint’s name. A family surnamed Boyd with a high quality DNA match to a McCaw family would strongly suggest the family’s origins and connections are to the Isle of Bute. This focuses the research to those areas of Bute were the McCaws lived and gives the participant a course of research. The recruiting of more McCaws on Bute or of Bute descent could reveal even more of this family’s history and with hopefully produce cousins in Ireland or Scotland.
A simple report in which your DNA results is looked at with consideration of the Gaelic etymology, orthography, onomastics and how they relate to your matches, can often help considerably. These reports are available for the fee of US$100. Contact Barry R McCain
Sunday, 21 September 2008
During her visit to Strabane yesterday, Mary McAleese described Gaelscoil Ui Dhochartaigh as a 'remarkable achievement'. And it is. Since been founded by a handful of parents in a tiny Barrack Street classroom, the school and indeed the Irish language in Strabane has flourished. Today the Gaelscoil is one of the finest primary educational facilities the North West has to offer.
Now nestled comfortably in the Ballycolman Estate, the Gaelscoil is this year celebrating ten years in existence. And what better way to do it than in the company of the President of Ireland.
The children of the Gaelscoil greeted Mrs McAleese and her husband with the recital of a poem on Tyrone's upcoming battle with Kerry followed by the singing of two songs in Irish. Then it was the turn of the President who, effortlessly switching between Irish and English, paid a great tribute to both staff and parents. 'You don't have a place like this unless people are passionate and have a love of language and culture.
'It is a remarkable thing to have accomplished and a special thanks must go to everyone who has put their lives into creating this opportunity for the young people of the area,' she said. Following much banter on Tyrone's undoubted victory over Kerry on Sunday, a plaque was unveiled to mark Mrs McAleese's historic visit.
Gaelscoil principal Maire Ni Dhochartaigh summed up one in sentence what the occasion meant for the school. 'This is an important day for us and one we will never forget.'
www.strabanechronicle.comStrabane Chronicle - Lthch: Conor Sharkey