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John McKenna. (The Late Omagh John) A McKenna family left their home in Cloughnart, North Monaghan, and were resited in the townland of Dernashallog. A son, John, joined the Connaught Rangers and served with this unit during World War 1. While in battle he was injured and lost his arm at the shoulder. He was brought back to England for treatment and when he recovered he was given a house and ten acres of land in Clanabogan just outside Omagh. On Shrove Tuesday, 1918 he married Sarah McCaughey from Kiltubrid, Emyvale, in Ballyoisin Church with celebrant Fr. J McKenna. They had nine children – John, Edward (Trillick); James (Clanabogan); Thomas (Kilmarnock, Scotland); Peter (Clanabogan); Frank (RIP); Sarah (London); Brigid (RIP) and Mary (Michigan). Love of History. John Junior first went to school in Clanabogan but later switched to Tattysallagh. In Clanabogan his teachers were: Master Lyons and Mr. Newell, while Master Thomas Maguire was Principal of Tattysallagh. This latter man was a great historian and, although not on the curriculum, he spent a half an hour every Wednesday teaching history to his pupils. This was enough to whet John McKenna’s appetite for the past and this interest in Irish history has meant that he read all the history books he could get his hands on and can now quote liberally from “The Annals of the Four Masters”. At the age of 13 he left school to work on his father’s farm which had increased to 30 areas. His father became a Postman for the area and, though handicapped by the loss of the arm, could do his day’s work and dig with a spade as good as anyone. Athlete While working the farm, John Jnr. took up athletics and specialised in cross-country. The Ulster Junior Championship was a 6 mile course while the Senior was 8 miles long. John participated in six Junior and nine Senior events and came second in the Senior. One very interesting fact was that John was confirmed in Omagh on the same day and in the same class as the now famous writer, Ben Kiely. In 1962, on the death of his aunt Sarah he moved to Kiltubrid to live with uncle Tommy. He soon became acquainted with the area and worked as a builder for fourteen years with a local contractor. Because of his knowledge and great memory he was sought after for Quiz teams in Scor and other competitions and he always enjoyed the social life attached to these activities. John will celebrate his 75th birthday this month but is unlikely to make a big fuss about it. He spends his time reading and keeping up with current affairs. He is willing and very capable of discussing any topic you might care to mention from referenda to Ireland in the year 800AD. Faith and Fatherland. John can trace families back centuries and, of course, has a particular interest in the McKenna Clan, which, because of wars, has been scattered and settled from Kerry to Derry and worldwide. The motto for McKennas is – Faith and Fatherland – and that is John’s motto as well. He has a dep interest in Theology and had the honour of a private chat with the famous theologian Bishop Fulton Sheen while on a visit to London. He knows Rome like the back of his hand and can vividly describe many of the 800 churches in the Eternal City, including the history of their origins. Love of Omagh. He speaks with particular affection for the Market Town of Omagh, which he has seen growing from a town of 5,000 inhabitants to one of over 20,000. He knows it as a place of goodwill among all creeds and classes and, while on this subject, his voice and features sadden as he expresses his hatred of the destruction of human life and property in a country he loves so much and he prays earnestly that peace can come to this beautiful land. We hope his dreams come true and that he lives to enjoy it. By Peadar McMahon and published in the Dungannon Observer.
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John McKenna. (The Late Omagh John) A McKenna family left their home in Cloughnart, North Monaghan, and were resited in the townland of Dernashallog. A son, John, joined the Connaught Rangers and served with this unit during World War 1. While in battle he was injured and lost his arm at the shoulder. He was brought back to England for treatment and when he recovered he was given a house and ten acres of land in Clanabogan just outside Omagh. On Shrove Tuesday, 1918 he married Sarah McCaughey from Kiltubrid, Emyvale, in Ballyoisin Church with celebrant Fr. J McKenna. They had nine children – John, Edward (Trillick); James (Clanabogan); Thomas (Kilmarnock, Scotland); Peter (Clanabogan); Frank (RIP); Sarah (London); Brigid (RIP) and Mary (Michigan). Love of History. John Junior first went to school in Clanabogan but later switched to Tattysallagh. In Clanabogan his teachers were: Master Lyons and Mr. Newell, while Master Thomas Maguire was Principal of Tattysallagh. This latter man was a great historian and, although not on the curriculum, he spent a half an hour every Wednesday teaching history to his pupils. This was enough to whet John McKenna’s appetite for the past and this interest in Irish history has meant that he read all the history books he could get his hands on and can now quote liberally from “The Annals of the Four Masters”. At the age of 13 he left school to work on his father’s farm which had increased to 30 areas. His father became a Postman for the area and, though handicapped by the loss of the arm, could do his day’s work and dig with a spade as good as anyone. Athlete While working the farm, John Jnr. took up athletics and specialised in cross-country. The Ulster Junior Championship was a 6 mile course while the Senior was 8 miles long. John participated in six Junior and nine Senior events and came second in the Senior. One very interesting fact was that John was confirmed in Omagh on the same day and in the same class as the now famous writer, Ben Kiely. In 1962, on the death of his aunt Sarah he moved to Kiltubrid to live with uncle Tommy. He soon became acquainted with the area and worked as a builder for fourteen years with a local contractor. Because of his knowledge and great memory he was sought after for Quiz teams in Scor and other competitions and he always enjoyed the social life attached to these activities. John will celebrate his 75th birthday this month but is unlikely to make a big fuss about it. He spends his time reading and keeping up with current affairs. He is willing and very capable of discussing any topic you might care to mention from referenda to Ireland in the year 800AD. Faith and Fatherland. John can trace families back centuries and, of course, has a particular interest in the McKenna Clan, which, because of wars, has been scattered and settled from Kerry to Derry and worldwide. The motto for McKennas is – Faith and Fatherland – and that is John’s motto as well. He has a dep interest in Theology and had the honour of a private chat with the famous theologian Bishop Fulton Sheen while on a visit to London. He knows Rome like the back of his hand and can vividly describe many of the 800 churches in the Eternal City, including the history of their origins. Love of Omagh. He speaks with particular affection for the Market Town of Omagh, which he has seen growing from a town of 5,000 inhabitants to one of over 20,000. He knows it as a place of goodwill among all creeds and classes and, while on this subject, his voice and features sadden as he expresses his hatred of the destruction of human life and property in a country he loves so much and he prays earnestly that peace can come to this beautiful land. We hope his dreams come true and that he lives to enjoy it. By Peadar McMahon and published in the Dungannon Observer.