Carrowmenagh's John A. gets
John A. McLaughlin is proof
it's never too late to go back to education.
The 75-year old Carrowmenagh man received his Bachelor
of Arts Degree ten days ago from the University of
Ulster at Magee and is now enjoying "a good rest".
The well known community activist, local historian and
author, says he's delighted with his degree in Irish
History and Politics.
"I'm really chuffed with myself," he said, smiling. "It
was a lot of hard work but it was all worth it in the
John, who celebrates his 75th birthday next month, began
the journey to his degree three years ago with a
Certificate in Irish History and Cultural Traditions
through Limavady College.
It was a cross-border funded course that also included
modules at Greencastle Community Centre and required
regular trips on the Lough Foyle ferry to get to
His qualification - along with a Diploma in Local
History awarded in Maynooth nine years ago - allowed him
enter his degree course at second year, in 2005.
And what did he think of
being the oldest student in his class?
"It was very nice being with the rest of the students.
Some of them were only 18 but they were all very
helpful. They treated me as an equal student even though
I was old enough to be the grandfather to some of them.
"If I wasn't sure where a lecture was, they would always
point me in the right direction and stay with me until I
found the right place. They were very good about what
books they found useful the year before or whatever."
The long-standing member of Carrowmenagh Development
Association and current treasurer, also has a great word
for his tutors, lecturers and librarians at the Magee
Campus. "They were a fantastic help," he said.
John A., who wrote the well-received 'Carrowmenagh:
History of a Donegal Village and Townland', wrote his
final dissertation on the Carrowmenagh Evictions of
1881. He derived much of his material from research he
had already undertaken for his radio play of the same
name and his book, the proceeds of which he donated to
various local charities including the Foyle Hospice and
the two hospitals in Carndonagh.
July 10th, 2007, was a
proud day for John when he donned the gown and mortar
board and received his scroll, with wife Ann and their
girls Cora and Anne Marie looking on.
They then enjoyed a nice meal together. Of the future,
he says he is now taking a good rest after which he will
look into the possibility of publishing a third edition
of his book. If you would like to contact John A. you
can email him at