Thoughts of Yesteryears

Master McGlynn

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Rasheeny National School 1940

Master McGlynn came to Clonmany in the early 1940's and spent twenly-five years as principal of Crossconnell National School. He left Clonmany in the 1960's to continue his teaching career in Dundalk and is now enjoying a well-earned retirement.

Of the noble band of teachers in the early war years, who pushed back the barriers of ignorance, I am the sole survivor. It is appropriate therefore that I should recall some of my happy and endearing memories of the years that followed in Clonmany. First impressions were very favourable on my arrival here in Clonmany with its towering mountains, scenic and rugged scenery and beautiful bays - 'in my dreams I'll live forever on the shores of Tullagh Bay'.

It is difficult for anyone nowadays to visualise what life was like during the war years with all commodities in short supply as the song goes 'you toil like a madman by night and by day and come home in the evening to your half ounce of tay'. Imagine there were only two cars (hackneyed) in the parish - Terry Quigley (clergy) and the late Hugh Farren. The only means of travelling was by bicycle if you were fortunate enough to have one. The army were in Leenan Fort and we used to sneak a lift on the back on the military lorry to get to the pictures in Buncrana with our L.D.F overcoats on. Men were in the army from all walks of life whose occupations folded at the start of the war. During the British regime a soldier who served for seven years in Leenan (foreign service) had completed his full military service as each year counted as three. On telling this to a School Inspector, he jokingly told me that he would inform the Department that I should be out on pension long ago.

With the arrival of the Irish army in Leenan Fort in 1939 there was a great revival of Gaelic football in Inishowen. In a Gaelic match between Clonmany and Leenan the famous Father Major Devine PP on arrival attended his first Gaelic match in Straid Park. He did not approve of the language from the sideline. On the following Sunday he referred to the match in his sermon and said that one of those manly soldiers would scatter a half dozen of those narrow chested, cigarette sucked tubercular weeds on the sideline. His command of language was certainly unique.

The army was of great assistance to us in our training in the L.D.F. (Local Defence Force) in the old Clonmany Hall known as 'The Hut'. We were the most inexpensive army in the world, all volunteers. The Government's only expense was the supply of uniforms, boots and overcoats. One of the highlights of the period was the blessing of the colours by the Bishop of Derry in Carndonagh. All the ten companies in Inishowen were present on the occasion as well as the L.S.F (Local Security Force) in their blue uniforms and the Red Cross. The late Denis Callaghan and myself were in charge of the Clonmany company. He was an expert instructor as he was in the Pearse regiment in Dublin during his Training College days.

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