Friday, 12 September 2014

Special event to mark a nostalgic return to Ballyshannon 1848-2014 .

 A special event with music, history and floral tributes will be held at the newly opened Famine Orphan Girls’ Memorial beside the workhouse in Ballyshannon on Saturday 20th September at 3 p.m. This event will welcome a descendant of one of 19 orphan girls who will all be commemorated at the commemoration. Refreshments will be served afterwards in the Rock Hall. All are welcome to this historic event.

Two orphan girls called McDermott from Belleek were part of a group of 19 orphans from the Ballyshannon, Belleek and Kinlough areas who were shipped to Australia in 1848 at the height of the Famine. Pam Barker a great great grandchild of one of the orphan girls Mary Ann McDermott is paying a nostalgic visit to the Orphan Girls’ Memorial on Saturday 20th September. The McDermott sisters landed in Sydney in February 1849 on a ship called The Inchinnan carrying girls from a number of Irish workhouses. Mary was a house servant and could read and write. Sarah was also a house servant but could not read or write. Both girls were Catholics and had no relatives in Australia. 

Mary Ann McDermott married a Yorkshire man called Matthew Lester, a tailor, on the 10th February 1851 at East Maitland New South Wale. Mary Anne’s first marriage ceremony was in the Catholic Church and her sister Sarah was one of the witnesses to the marriage. On the 12th December 1851 she had another marriage ceremony to Matthew Lester from Hull, Yorkshire, at St. Peter’s East Maitland, an Anglican Church. They had ten children many of whom died in childhood: James Walter, Matthew, Robert, Rachel, Rebecca Ruth Rachel, Robert, James, Teresa (died young) and another Teresa. Mary Ann died on the 18th December 1909 at East Maitland. Mary Ann had a difficult life but was a survivor who lived for upwards of 60 years in Australia.

“From Ballyshannon to Australia”
This is the title of a short book by Anthony Begley which tells of the world the 19 orphans left behind in Ballyshannon in 1848 and the lives they experienced on landing in Sydney in February 1849. The book has lots of images from home and abroad and descendants tell the stories of how the 19 girls survived in Australia. The book will be available at the event and also in The Novel Idea, Ballyshannon Museum and in Pearse and Rory O’ Neill’s premises.   


"Ballyshannon Genealogy and History" by Anthony Begley is a local history book for all special occasions available at The Novel Idea Bookshop Ballyshannon, Ballyshannon and District Museum and The Four Masters Bookshop Donegal Town. The book covers the history of the town and surrounding areas including both local parishes. There is lots of material to assist in tracing your roots . The book of 500 pages has lots of rare images and sketches many of which are in colour.
Special Offer on Postage
50% Reduction on postage for orders for this book to all destinations. Genuine special offer from author. Signed hard back and soft back books available at special  price for postal delivery or collection. Book Available from Anthony Begley West Rock Ballyshannon.  Enquiries welcome for postal and other details