I must thank a gentleman named Mike McDermott who contacted me through this blog to tell me he is a descendant of Nicholas McCluskey, who was a close friend and political ally of my 2 x G Grandfather John McDonnell the blind basket maker of Bolton Street in Dublin. Both men were Poor Law Guardians and used their positions to campaign for better and fairer treatment of poor people generally in North Dublin and blind people specifically in the late Victorian and Edwardian era.
I have written and blogged fairly extensively about John McDonnell and often pondered about the close relationship between McDonnell and McCluskey.
Mike has filled me in with a fantastic amount of information about the McCluskey family and their marriage to the McDermott family, through his grand parents. It seems that the McDonnells may even have been cousins to the McCluskeys, though this has yet to be evidenced more fully.
Mike has also given me some great stories about the political life of his McDermott ancestors, including the fact that his family shared an ancestor with Sean McDermott, one of the signatories of the Proclamation of Irish Independence, read out by Patrick Pearse at the Post Office in Dublin to launch the 1916 Rising.
Another closer ancestor, indeed Mike's grandfather's sister was a woman named Sarah (or Sorcha) McDermott, a radical republican and suffragette who supported both the 1916 Rising, the Irish War of Independence and the anti-Treaty side in the Irish Civil War.
I have subsequently updated my study document about these families (on the side of my maternal grandmother) which can be viewed on Calameo at this link:
The updated information is from page 91 to 104.
I will also blog the various sections of this story in the coming days.