Miriam McMahon (b. 1945) and Tommy McMahon (b. 1946)

Miriam McMahon (b. 1945) and Tommy McMahon (b. 1946)


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Miriam McMahon (née Quinn) comes from a farming background in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh, and she recalls her upbringing and the local community there. Miriam taught in local rural schools at Derrybrick in Derrylin for 25 years, from the 1960s onwards. She recalls the circumstances surrounding the killing by the IRA of school principal, Master George Saunderson, and the resulting tension within the teaching profession locally. She explains that violence in the area became almost the norm, recounting the almost blasé reaction which prevailed. She also mentions her entrepreneurial younger brother, Seán Quinn, and their mother’s support for his business in the early days.

Tommy McMahon is a native of Belturbet. He has now retired from teaching in Belturbet from 1970 to 1984 and in Bawnboy from 1984 to 1999. He also ran a furniture and fishing tackle business in Belturbet with his wife, following his teaching career. Early in their marriage, the couple lived at Aghalane; the bridge there was blown up on several occasions, causing great annoyance and inconvenience to the local population. Tommy describes his harassment by security personnel on the Border across which he travelled regularly for business. He also recounts the tragic occasion when he and his wife were carrying their coffined stillborn baby home from the maternity hospital in Enniskillen to Belturbet for burial, and the unnecessary grief and distress which the border guards inflicted upon them at this time.

This collection, carried out by Irish Life and Lore on behalf of Cavan County Library Service, is funded by the EU Special EU Programmes Body Peace IV fund under the objective to build positive relations with people from different backgrounds and communities to support peace and reconciliation.

Download the recording free of charge by adding it to the basket and checking out as normal or listen to it online at this link: CDVOT01-66-McMahon

Additional information



Audio series:

Voices of the Troubles

Download time limit:

48 hours

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore

Product ID:



85 mins

File size(s):

72.4 MB

Location of Recording

Belturbet, Co. Cavan