'She married Paddy Clarke who was a taxi driver and who was shot dead in their house in Rosemount Gardens, having been 'fingered' by a neighbour.'

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'She married Paddy Clarke who was a taxi driver and who was shot dead in their house in Rosemount Gardens, having been 'fingered' by a neighbour.'


Rosemary describes the friends from her teenage years and she remembers the importance of Gaelic language and culture to her adolescence. She recalls spending summer holidays in the Gaeltacht.


Rosemary McCloskey


Trinity College Dublin




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Rosemary McCloskey

Is Part Of

Adolescence and Early Adulthood


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Rannafast, Co. Donegal

Temporal Coverage


Life Story Item Type Metadata


It was during my years at St Dominic's that I developed a great love for the Irish language. I believe this was partly due to the good teachers we had for this subject. We had Miss Clare Grant from Rathfriland who subsequently became Sr M Eusebius OP ,Miss Margaret Treacy and Miss Anne Mullan from Portstewart and the best of all, Miss Fidelma Byrne who instilled the perfection of knowing why we aspirated consonants and included 'sine fada's' on some of the vowels, and not dotted them liberally all over the script at will. Another very important lady in my early days in St Dominic's was Mairead McKeown, who was librarian in the school and lived in her little house in Gracehill Street. She took a tremendous interest in those of us who came from Sacred Heart parish, because she knew that we had no Irish in the primary school. Therefore, she invited us to her house on Monday evenings and gave us a good foundation in spoken Irish. She was very involved in Feis Bheal Feirste and Irish was the love of her life. She went to her eternal rest on 17th April 1963 and had one of the biggest funerals ever, from Sacred Heart Church. I got a chance to go to Rannafast, in the north west Donegal gaeltacht in 1961, and fell totally in love with the place and the language and spent every summer there, from then until I went to teacher training college. I also joined Cumann Chluain Ard in Hawthorn Street, where no one spoke a word of English, once he entered the building. There were classes on Monday nights 8-10pm and again on Thursday nights followed by singing classes where we learnt so many old Irish songs. There was also a ceili on Sunday nights, which cost half a crown on the door and we got a cup of tea at half time and two Rich Tea biscuits. There was no alcohol in the club at that time, and there would only have been around thirty to forty people at the ceili and everyone knew everyone else. That was my social life and my friends were mostly those who had a deep interest in the Irish language. We spent our holidays together in the Gaeltacht and we even attended the Gaelic Mass at 1pm on Sunday in St Mary's Church, Chapel Lane, in the city centre. There was even Cuallacht Mhuire (Our Lady's Confraternity ) once a month, where we would go and say our Rosary and have Benediction in Gaelic. It was there that I met Sinead McAllister and Maire McDermott, whose cousin Ita lived near us. She married Paddy Clarke who was a taxi driver and who was shot dead in their house in Rosemount Gardens, having been 'fingered' by a neighbour. My closest friend in those days was Bernadette Rosato whose father was also shot dead in their house on Deerpark Road. However, once she got married that ended our friendship as we seldom saw each other again. I was so ensconced in this culture that when my friends came to the house we were loath to speak English and my poor mother was demented with this, as she could not understand what we were talking about and often thought we were deliberately making plans to exclude her. Such was not our intent .We were merely immersed in the whole Irish Language scene. In June 1965 I was awarded the Gael Linn Gold medal for the best Irish speaker in the north of Ireland. Along with this prize I got a scholarship for two months in Rannafast. Liam Andrews who was at St Malachy's College at the time, won the silver medal and also went to Rannafast for the two months. He has since completed a doctorate in Celtic languages being also fluent in Welsh and married to a Welsh lady.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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