29 Sept 2022

Enhanced photograph may provide some clues

Let's help Michael see a photograph of his mum Ellen

Drung NS pic

Drung School photograph enhanced by Eve Byrne

“Phenomenal” is the only word to describe the response to a recent Inish Times story about the search for a photograph.

Michael John Docherty, who now lives in Preston in Lancashire in England, turned 80 in March and his dearest wish was to see a photograph of his mum, Ellen, who sadly died when he was three years old.

Michael's daughter, Tammy, contacted Inish Times  / Donegal Live seeking help.

Since then, Michael's poignant story has been widely shared on social media and has also been discussed in the Press Review with Billy Keane on RTÉ's 'Today with Maura and Dáithí' programme, for the past two weeks.

Essentially, Michael Docherty, was born in Carndonagh on March 24, 1941. The family's name was originally spelled Doherty but it was changed to Docherty some years later.

Michael's mum Ellen's parents were called Cassie (née McGonagle) and Barney Doherty. Ellen lived in Drung and went to St Columba's National School. She was born on October 23, 1911 and and passed away around the age of 34 or 36.

Ellen was married to Michael John Doherty and they had four children: Irene, Michael, William and the late Bridget. Ellen was buried in Carndonagh Cemetery.

Following her death, Ellen's husband remarried and Michael, then aged five, and his siblings were sent to live in Glasgow in Scotland, with relatives.

A kind Inish Times reader, Patricia Faulkner, uncovered a photograph, which first appeared in a little booklet called: 'Drung School: 1831-1991'. The photograph shows Drung School C1924. This is the school which Ellen Doherty attended. Ellen would have been 12 or 13 in 1924, so there is a good chance she is in the photograph.

Patricia's photograph has since been enhanced by Anne Renton and Eve Byrne and shared on social media. Thanks to them.

Some of the names of the students in the photograph are missing, so, if anyone can help to identify them that would be brilliant.

We are also trying to track down the original photograph. If anyone knows where it is, that would be very much appreciated.

Most exciting of all, also on social media, Brigid Crawford Trodden wrote: “My mother is Sarah Duffy in the second row, aged 9.

“The older girls are in the back row and the first 4, left to right, are named.

“I believe the third girl from the right in the last row is an aunt of mine, Jean Duffy, who would have been 12 or 13 at the time.

"So, it would appear that if Ellen Doherty is in the photo, she is one of the remaining 3 in that row - either the fourth or second from the right or the girl at the very right end," said Brigid.

We also know the Priest in the photograph is Fr Francis Joseph Duffy.

It would be wonderful if people could look at the enhanced photographs and see if we can get all of the names.

Anyone with any information or the original photograph is very welcome to get in touch at:

Image enhanced by Anne Renton.

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