A native of County Clare, Mícheál Ó Conaill was born in 1877. He trained as a Primary School teacher and in 1905 was appointed Principal teacher of Duniry National School. A few years later he married a local girl, Sarah Lynch, also a teacher, who subsequently taught with Mícheál in Duniry NS.
Mícheál had a great love of the Irish language and both he and his wife Sarah spent many summers teaching Irish in the Gaeltacht. He also had a great interest in local history and he researched and wrote a small book ‘Cinéal Féichín agus Síol Anmachadha’ which was published in 1932. This book was written in what is now often referred to as ‘old Irish’ or the ‘seanchló’ and would be difficult for our younger generation to read. Because of that, Abbey Heritage was interested in having the book translated into English and we were fortunate not alone to find someone who was willing to undertake this task but someone who was also prepared to rewrite the Irish in the more modern ‘Cló Rómhánach’. We are indebted to Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle for undertaking this task and for the excellent bilingual book – a revised edition and translation that has been published in May 2021. ‘Cineál Fhéichín agus Síol Anmcha’ – https://abbey.galwaycommunityheritage.org/?p=22207&preview=true – deals with the South-east Galway region and should be of great interest to young and old alike, indeed anyone interested in history/heritage or associated with this area of Galway.
Below the original publication:
Photo: Mícheál Ó Conaill’s old Irish book first published in 1932.
Micheál Ó Conaill and his wife Sarah – both teachers in Duniry National School. Photo courtesy Catherine Gohery, grand niece of Sarah Ó Conaill
Some of their pupils in Duniry NS in the 1930s.
This photo from Duniry National School around 1934 was taken in the school yard on Confirmation Day. Back Row Left to Right: Josie Donnelly, Paddy Finnerty, Michael Robinson, Christy Donnelly, Frank Kenny, Josie Dillon. Front Row Left to Right: Mickie Finnerty, Jodie Lynch, Josie Duane, Paddy Collins, Kevin Malone, Mickie Quinn, Francis Sheil. Photo courtesy Catherine Gohery – names supplied by Josie Dillon.
Boys and Girls from Duniry N S. If any reader has the names of the students we will be delighted to include them here. Photos courtesy Catherine Gohery.
In planning the publication of the new book, we were in contact with Mícheál Ó Conaill’s grand nephew in the UK and he kindly sent us some photographs of Mícheál and Sarah’s extended family below:
Mícheál and Sarah Ó Conaill with two nuns who are nieces of Sarah Ó Conaill. Photos courtesy John O’Connell, UK