MOTHER OF PADRAIG PEARSE IN LETTERKENNY
On St. Stephen’s Night 1917, Mrs. Margaret Pearse, the mother of Padraig and Willie Pearse, was the special guest of the recently formed Jim Connolly Sinn Féin Club in Letterkenny at a concert and ceilidh held in the Club Hall in Willie Boyle’s backyard (approximately where the Voodoo Night Club is today).
The club had been formed in September 1917 and only three months later, the arrival of Mrs. Pearse caused great excitement amongst the locals. She was accompanied by her daughter Miss Margaret Mary Pearse and the niece of Padraig and Willie, Mrs. Margaret McGarvey, who was from Fanad.
Dr. J.P. McGinley, president of the Club, began the night by introducing the ladies and offering them the heartfelt sympathy of the audience present, assuring them that “the men of Donegal would not prove false to the memory of her two gallant sons.” Mrs. Pearse then delivered a touching address on the boyhood and manhood of her sons and stated that it was “a consolation to her to know that the people of Letterkenny were true to the principles for which her sons and their equally gallant colleagues of Easter Week fought.”
The night’s programme consisted of an exhibition of pictures on the cinema, which was operated by Mr. James Kearns. Songs “of a patriotic nature” were contributed by Mrs. McGarvey, Miss C. Gillen, John and Connell Bradley, Charles A. Flattery, William McMenamin, James Langan, M. Dawson, Eaman Coyle, James O’Donnell, James Friel, a recitation by Connell Bradley, and a mandoline solo by Mr. J. O’Donnell. The concert was brought to a close by a performance of “A Soldier’s Song” by the Presentation Brothers’ Boy Choir.
Following the concert, a ceilidh began and continued until 5.30am with Mr. John Curran acting as master of ceremonies and music supplied by Miss S. Gallagher (piano), William McManus senior, William MacManus junior, William McMenamin, J. Kearns, and James O’Donnell (violins)