Paddy (Patrick) Leneghan (1925-2013) of Croghan, publican, was the father of former president Mary McAleese.
Paddy was born and raised in Carroward, Croghan, Co Roscommon. He attended Woodbrook National School, and recalled happily that unusually for a pupil of the 1930s, "I never got slapped". He left school at 14 and went to Belfast in 1939. In June 1950, he married one of his aunt’s employees, Claire McManus of Maghera, Co Derry. They had nine children: Mary*, Norah, Damien, John, Catherine (Kate), Patrick, Claire, Phelim and Clement.
The Leneghan family lived in the mainly Nationalist Ardoyne area of Belfast and in 1958, Paddy Leneghan took ownership of The Long Bar on Leeson Street, off the Falls Road. During the Troubles, the family home was the subject of repeated attacks by loyalists, including a particularly brutal attack that left Mrs McAleese’s deaf brother, John, for dead in 1969.
Paddy Leneghan’s Long Bar on Leeson Street was bombed by the UVF in October 1972. A car containing the bomb packed inside a beer keg was left outside the pub, but the bombers failed to put the handbrake on and it rolled down the street, exploding four doors away at a co-op shop. The explosion killed a 23 year-old mother who took the full blast of it to protect her baby daughter. The young woman died in Mr Leneghan’s arms, the keys of the car hitting her in the back of her neck. He was traumatised by the experience.
On December 8th, 1972, gunmen sprayed their home with more than 30 bullets, while parents and children were, as it happened, staying with relatives. Bullets lodged in walls, furniture and mattresses. The family left and the children stayed with relatives until their parents found a suitable house in Andersonstown. A few years later they gave up the business and moved to Rostrevor, County Down. It was these experiences that were to have an enduring effect on his eldest daughter, and the first northern president’s father had a fundamental role in her path to peace-building.
*Their eldest child, Mary Patricia Leneghan aka Mary McAleese LLB, MA, MIL, FRSA, aka Máire Mhic Ghiolla Íosa was born on June 27, 1951 in n Ardoyne, north Belfast. She graduated in Law from Queen's University Belfast and worked as a barrister and as a journalist with RTÉ. In 1976, she married Martin McAleese, an accountant and dentist. Mary McAleese served as the 8th President of Ireland from November 1997 to November 2011. She was the second female president and the world's first woman to succeed another (Mary Robinson) as president.
Family holidays were spent in Co. Roscommon and Mary McAleese still takes breaks there, at her grandparents' cottage at Croghan. Local man Séamus Butler recalled the President as a little girl when, during holiday visits to the area, "her greatest ambition was to get on Connie McGreevy's horse and cart". (Now the McAleeses holiday in their own home, a modern lakeside retreat near Croghan with a view of Lough Eidin, on the River Shannon).
Paddy Leneghan bought a pub in the village of Rostrevor on the shores of Carlingford Lough. He went on to own a number of pubs in the Rostrevor and Newry areas. On 29 May 2007, Paddy Leneghan went back to school after 70 years (with his daughter Mary) for the school's 150th anniversary celebrations.
On 16th August 2013, having been ill for some time, Paddy (age 88) died died peacefully in Carlingford Lodge, Warrenpoint. He was buried at Kilbroney municipal cemetery in Rostrevor, Co Down.
|Date of Birth||1925 (circa)|
|Date of Death||1st Aug 2013|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||Claire McManus|