In August 2014, my mother-in-law, Catherine Dwyer first related to me the story of her mother’s cousin, Lawrence Flanagan and the anecdote of how he had given shelter to the political fugitive, Eamon De Valera. She told me the story one evening in her rural cottage near Moate in Westmeath, within a distance of two miles from the old Saw Mills house where Flanagan had been born.
Within a day or two we travelled as a family, with Granny, to a holiday cottage at Moville in Donegal. Our journey took us north through Cavan, Enniskillen, Omagh, Strabane and Derry, then out along the banks of Lough Foyle to the small fishing village of Moville. Throughout the journey my mind kept returning to the story of Father Flanagan of New York. Only when I returned home and started this research did I learn that in Christmas 1919, Flanagan disembarked from a ship from New York at Moville and made the same journey home to his family in Moate.