Next Tuesday will be a very special day for Charleville woman Mary Gough. On that day she will travel to Áras an Uachtaráin at the invitation of the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, and in a private ceremony she will make a very special presentation to His Excellency.

It all came about following an article written by the President in December about the involvement of his father, John Higgins, in the Volunteer Movement, in which he stated that his father was a lieutenant in the volunteers in Charleville. In the article he wrote that one of those responsible for his father getting an Old I.R.A. pension was Michael Geary from Charleville, Mary’s late uncle, who was captain of the volunteer movement in Charleville.

“Even though I did not know the President’s father’s name, I recalled seeing a letter in my uncle’s papers signed from John Higgins and I thought it was the President’s father. I decided that I would like him to have that letter so I made contact with his secretary in the Aras and sent a photocopy. He subsequently personally rang me and said he would be thrilled to have that letter and I am delighted to hand the original letter to him and will do so on Tuesday, it will be a memento he will have of his father,” Mary explained.

The letter is in perfect condition with very legible and excellent handwriting. “It is a piece of history and it is wonderful that the President can now keep it in his own papers,” she said.

President Higgins’s father worked in Charleville for four or five years and joined the volunteer movement in the area; he was involved in many of the local activities and ambushes in Kilmallock, Knocktoosh and back in Aughrim, which means that he has a very strong link with the North Cork town. President Higgins also has close relations in Liscarroll.