The career of a former national school teacher is celebrated in Gaoth Dobhair

Miss Annie O’Brien was celebrated for her wonderful contributions to the parish

A function in honour of former national school, Miss Annie O’Brien, took place in the Gaoth Dobhair Day Care Centre, Derrybeg on Monday. 

A native of Glenhola,  Gaoth Dobhair, she celebrated her 88th birthday on Monday. The event was organised  by Coiste Forbartha Chnoc Fola in recognition of her sterling work with the choir, church and schools spanning many years.  Annie lived with her brother John in her Glenhola home until his passing in 2015. She then moved  to live at No 5 Árás Bhríde which is part of the Gaoth Dobhair Day Centre at Derrybeg.

Canon Michael Herrity, C.C, Cnoc Fola, President of Coiste Forbartha Chnoc Fola paid glowing tribute to Annie for her teaching career which was mostly spent teaching in schools within the parish. He said she was a popular, lively and enthusiastic teacher, always positive, always seeking to challenge and motivate her pupils.

‘God has bestowed on her many of choicest gifts. A talented singer, she served as organist with the choir at St. Colmcille Church, Cnoc Fola for many years.  As well as that she was a  gifted knitter, and  above all was renowned for her crochet and embroidery work.  Down through the years some of her embroidery work would adorn the walls of St. Colmcille Church, Cnoc Fola. Annie was a very organised individual and would have baked a scone of bread each day before making her way to school’, he said.

The Chairman of Coiste Forbartha Chnoc Fola and former Principal of Scoil Adhamhnáin Naofa, Lunniagh, Noel Ó Fearraigh, thanked Annie for her long service to  schools in the parish.  He said that she made a tremendous contribution in a variety of fields including arts, crafts and music. He added that her sincerity and kindness made her a firm favourite with pupils under her care.

"She was an excellent teacher and loved children and they loved her in return," he said.

A Thanksgiving Mass in honour of Annie  was celebrated by Canon Michael Herrity, C.C., Cnoc Fola. The lessons were read by Mary Jack McFadden, and afterwards Noel Ó Fearraigh presented her  with a stunning  framed image of St. Colmcille Church, Cnoc Fola crafted in copper and made by the talented Neil Ferry, Meenacladdy  of Donegal Copper Craft. Refreshment were served afterwards. To mark the occasion a beautiful cake with an image of St. Colmcille Church was served.

Annie is a daughter of the late John and Kitt O’Brien and is  one of a family of nine. Her only surviving sister, Mrs. Treasa Coyle lives in Carrigart.  Other members of the family were, Niall, Micí, John, Hughie, Peadar, Caitríona and Máire.  She served at Scoil Bhríde, Meenacladdy from 1957 to 1967. She later moved to Scoil Chonaill, Bunbeg and remained there until the 70’s when she was appointed Vice Principal of Scoil Adhamhnáin Naofa, Lunniagh. She taught  there until her retirement in the mid 90’s.

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