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Dublin Book Launch

Highly Successful Margaret Skinnider Book-Signing in Dublin
It was evident from the very impressive turnout at the Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square on Thursday last 4th May that considerable publicity had been generated for the book-signing of Margaret Skinnider, 1916 Heroine- the Monaghan Connection, written by Scotstown-man Mackie Rooney and published by the Margaret Skinnider Appreciation Society (MSAS) in January 2017. All organisational matters were in the very capable hands of Mackie Moyna, formerly of Mulladun, Monaghan, who has enjoyed a high profile in Dublin for years and Toome-man Peter McDonnell, formerly with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service. Peter is widely known for his work in his role as President of the Monaghan Association in Dublin and particularly for his promotion of the writings of Patrick Kavanagh. With Castleshane lady Deirdre O’Connor, Assistant General Secretary of INTO, and former school principal Donegal-born Tadhg McFadden, manager of the Teachers’ Club,  on board, it was by any measure a formidable workforce. Collectively referred to as “the Dublin team,” these four individuals attended to all aspects of the venture with promotion through social-media networking and the distribution of flyers and posters.  The signs of their work were there for all to see on the evening as it was standing-room only by 7.30 pm, the official time for the book-signing.  
Guest speaker on Thursday evening was Dr Niamh Puirséil, professional historian and researcher. Having been a research fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Irish History in Trinity College she has since taught in DCU, UCD and Dublin Business School.  She has contributed to television documentaries and discussions on Irish history and is much in demand at the Parnell, Tom Johnson and Byrne-Perry Summer Schools.  Ms Puirséil, daughter of former President of INTO, Séamus Puirséil (1986/87), is presently writing a history of the INTO of which Margaret Skinnider was president in 1956/57. She was guest speaker at the INTO Congress in Wexford in 2016 when she presented a half-hour talk on Margaret Skinnider.  As it is the first full-length biography of the Scottish-born participant in the Easter Rising Rooney’s book had an obvious appeal to this eminent researcher. It was at the prompting of Peter McDonnell that Dr. Puirséil agreed to accept the invitation to speak.  Mr McDonnell was also instrumental in the presence of Liam Collins journalist and columnist (Zozimus) with the Sunday Independent and press photographer Conor McCabe.

Peter McDonnell, Deirdre O’Connor, Dr Niamh Puirséil, Mackie Rooney, Mary Rafferty and Patsy Brady.
Conor McCabe Photography Ltd

Mackie Moyna (Jun.), Anne O’Reilly, Mackie Moyna (Sen.), Mackie Rooney.
Conor McCabe Photography Ltd

Not having previously read Zozimus this writer must confess that he enjoyed his column in last Sunday’s (7th May) Independent which stated that Skinnider, a member of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation turned sniper, was one of only two women involved in shooting people during the Easter Rising, the other being Countess Markievicz.  It appears that Skinnider was the more successful of the two.  Markievicz took a pot shot at another Anglo-Irish toff, Dr Charles de Burgh Daly, while he was standing at the window of the University Club on St. Stephen’s Green.   She missed and nearly got herself hanged instead. Born in Glasgow, Skinnider’s family came from the Monaghan townland of Cornagilta, hence “the Monaghan Connection.”   Back in 1946 when the Minister for Education Thomas Derrig referred in the Dáil to a body of “agitators and malcontents in the teaching body who are stirring up mischief” Miss Skinnider was one of the people he had in mind.
For those who accompanied Mr Rooney to Dublin the Teachers’ Club event was something of a reunion with erstwhile Monaghan folk.  Among those in attendance were Noel Murray, Property Consultant (semi-retired), well known in Dublin circles,  Landscaping  Contractor Des O Donoghue (Scotstown) and his wife Dympna, Paddy Cole of music fame and his wife Helen, Anne O’Reilly School Principal, Whitehall College of Further Education and daughter of the late Teresa McKenna, Creesil, Seamus McPhillips, formerly Aghabog, who was Principal of Templelogue College for twenty five years and Mackie Moyna (formerly Scotstown) who, with his twin brother Tommy, graced the Gaelic Football playing fields of Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s.  Ever generous to  projects of Monaghan interest over a long lifetime, Mackie’s philanthropy ensured that the Dublin book-signing would be an unqualified success regardless of the attendance. With Tadhg McFadden giving the use of the premises
gratis and Deirdre O’Connor as ideal MC, the representatives of MSAS, Mary Rafferty and Patsy Brady, were right well pleased with the evening’s proceedings.  Helping with sales was Pauline, Mackie Rooney’s wife.  Mary Rafferty, Assistant Secretary MSAS (and, with her husband, owner of the Skinnider ancestral farm) presented flowers to Dr Puirséil and Deirdre O’Connor, while Patsy Brady, PRO and Researcher MSAS, presented book-tokens to “the Dublin team.”
Thankfully there are still some copies of
Margaret Skinnider 1916 Heroine- the Monaghan Connection available in the following outlets: Easons, Rocks, Matthews of Shopping Centre, Sinn Féin Shop (all Monaghan), Matthews of Clones, Scotstown Pharmacy and McMahons Centra, McAloons of Knockatallon and  Sliabh Beagh, Today’s Local Tydavnet, Emyvale Post Office, Mace Braeside, Clontibret, Patrick Kavanagh Centre, Inniskeen, Katie Duffy’s, Castleblayney and Sinn Féin Shop, Parnell Square West, Dublin. For online information regarding availability of the book contact mackierooney@gmail.com