John McGahern

John McGahern (1934 - 2006)

Jonh McGahern was one of the most important Irish authors of the latter half of the twentieth century.  Before his death in 2006 he was hailed as "the greatest living Irish novelist" by The Observer.

McGaherns mother was a teacher in Ballinamore. He spent his formative years in and around Ballinamore and more specifically in the parish of Aughawillan


John McGahern was the eldest child of seven. His mother Susan McManus was from Corrleehan just outside Ballinamore and brought up the family on a small farm.  His father Frank McGahern from Gowna in Co. Cavan lived some 20 miles away in the police barracks at Coothall in County Roscommon. He was the Garda Sergeant of the village. When John was around nine or ten his mother became ill with cancer and died.

Ballinamore Railway Station   School House

Garage   railway crossing

The following points of interest can be found on the map below:

Gate At Homestead

The McGahern family acquired a house and small farm at Corramahon where McGahern's mother Susan and her children moved. The short few years in Aughawillan before her final illness were to prove extremely pleasant for McGahern. The trauma of her death and his parting from the world of Aughawillan were to remain with him forever

Liscarn School

Susan McGahern taught school here for many years and McGahern was taken here when he was well below the official school age. The move was to take him away form Frank McGahern’s mother (his grandmother) and thus started the very close bond between McGahern and his own mother.

Knocknaroe House

This is the house that Susan McGahern rented just after John was born.  It  is half a mile from Ballinamore and is still standing today

Railway Station

This would have huge influence on McGahern's life because he lived bedside the railway station in Aughawillan and would have commuted to Ballinamore on a regular basis. Also his Uncle Pat ran a hackney service from the station


Memorial Seat

This seat was erected by the Ballinamore Tidy Town Committee in 2009 in memorial of John McGahern.


Pat McManus Garage

In later years Pat moved across the road and set up a garage and petrol station.  Here John McGahern spent many hours chatting to Pat and all the other characters that called to the garage  (Pat McManus was the character The Shah in That They May Face The Rising Sun)

Gala Shop

This was a shop and boarding house which was run by McGahern's Aunt Maggie.  She would have kept many boarders from the railway station. His aunt and uncle played a large part in McGahern's life.

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