Áine Ní Cheanainn

Raifteiri Memorial by Sally Mc Kenna, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo
Author's Collection
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Luxembourg City 2017
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Killiney / Dalkey 1800 - 1900
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Kiltimagh, County Mayo, Ireland

Academic / Linguist

Áine Ní Cheanainn (Cannon) was born in Derryvea, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo during 1907.  She was a daughter of a Shopkeeper.  Her family were recalled according to one local as ‘Canon’s – where her parents extended amounts of credit – The family would never see anyone go without – They certainly kept people alive with their grocery stock.’ [i]

Áine Ní Chanainn Ní Cheanainn or Cannon was born Annie Delia Cannon on 22nd October 1907 in Derryvea, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo.  She was daughter of Michael Cannon a Farmer & Shopkeeper & her mother’s name was Annie (née Kelly)  Towards the end of her life Áine Ní Cheanainn changed the Irish form of her name from ‘Ceanainn‘ to ‘Canainn.’  (Noreen Giffney October 2009) [ii]

Education

Following National School in Kiltimagh; Áine Ní Cheanainnn attended St. Louis Girls Secondary School, Co. Mayo. [iii]

She received her primary and secondary education at St Louis Girls’ school: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ine_N%C3%AD_Cheanainn

She was a student at Carysfort Teacher Training College in Dublin where she graduated at Primary Level during 1927.  She continued her studies then achieved an M A in Education from U. C. D.  Dublin. [iv]

Áine Ní Cheanainn continued with studies at Carysfort Training College (1925 – 7).  She graduated to teach at Primary School Level.  Later she entered UCD then obtaining an MA in Education. (Noreen Giffney  October 2009) [v]

Career

Her first teaching post was at Scoil Mhuire in Howth, Co. Dublin.  Áine Ní Cheanainn was Head – Mistress at Scoil Eoin Baiste in Clontarf, Co. Dublin from 1941 to 1979.  Her dedication to the school ensured that by the 1950’s it was one of the most prestigious schools in Dublin. [vi]

Áine Ní Cheanainn began her Teaching Career during 1927 at Scoil Mhuire in Howth, Co. Dublin.   She taught until she was appointed in 1941 to Scoil Eoin Baiste girls’ School in Clontarf.  Later she was appointed Principal of the Clontarf School.  By the early 1950’s that school ‘was one of the most prestigious in the capital’ (‘The Irish Times’ 12th June 1999)  During the 1960’s she introduced Audio – Visual Equipment such as Gramophones & Slide Projectors  (years before their official introduction as part of the new Curriculum in 1974) (Noreen Giffney October 2009) [vii]

Irish Language

Her love the Irish language that she spoke whenever she could lead Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich to refer to her as ‘an síneadh fada na Gaeilge’ (‘The Irish Times’ 12th June 1999) as a reference to her formidable stature as well as to her Enthusiasm for the Irish Language.  She was described as ‘a real de Valera woman.’ (Noreen Giffney October 2009) [viii]

She reputedly spoke ‘beautiful Irish’ that she would speak as ‘Gaeilge’ whenever she could. [ix]

Conferences

She travelled to Germany during 1934 also in 1952 to examine their Education System.  Áine Ní Cheanainn represented Ireland at the Irish Film Conferences in Chicago also in Luxembourg. [x]

Áine Ní Cheanainn’s enthusiasm for Film led her to provided Lectures at conferences in Chicago & Luxembourg, (Noreen Giffney October 2009) [xi]

Germany

She visited Germany twice (1934 & 1952) to study the German Educational System. (Noreen Giffney  October 2009) [xii]

Achievements

Áine Ní Cheanainn pursued her interests outside of her Teaching Career as a Member of the Irish – German Society.  She was a Member of the Irish Board of UENSO for the Department of Education.  She lectured at Irish Film Society events.  She provided Communication Courses for INTO Teachers.  She organized the Eigse Raiftieri Summer School in Kiltimagh between 1972 & 1975.  She arranged Comoradh Mhic Eil in Castlebar. [xiii]

Activity in Education

Áine Ní Cheanainn was actively involved in many areas of Education.  She introduced Audio – Visual Equipment (years before their official introduction as part of the curriculum in 1974)  She was involved with Corfheile na Scoileanna. [xiv]

Áine Ní Cheanainn was actively involved with other aspects of Education. She was Coordinator (1972 – 5) of the Éigse Raifteirí Summer School.  She organised the Comóradh Mhic Éil in Castlebar.  Áine Ní Cheanainn organised Training Courses for Teaching Members of INTO in 1962 an account of the introduction of AudioVisual Technology into Irish Education.  She was a Member of the Irish German Society also of Córfhéile na Scoileanna that had been founded to promote music in schools.  She was Chairman of Córfhéile na Scoileanna 1973 – 1978. (Noreen Giffney  October 2009) [xv]

Publications

Áine Ní Cheanainn was interested in Local History.  She published ‘Raifteirí an File’ during 1984 who was a fellow Kiltimagh residend & Poet.  She produced in 1983 a Biography of Archbishop John MacHale (qv) of Tuam titled ‘Leon an Iarthair’ also ‘The heritage of Mayo’ in 1988. (Noreen Giffney  October 2009) [xvi]

Raidió Teilifís Éireann

Áine Ní Cheanainn only woman to be appointed to Radio Eireann.  She served from 1960 to 1965.  It was at her insistence that the Authority’s name was changed to Raidió Teilifís Éireann during 1966. [xvii]

Áine Ní Cheanainn was the only woman Appointed to the newly established Teilifís Éireann Authority (1 June 1960 – 30 May 1965)  It was on her insistence (she opposed the suggested form Teilís) that the new television station was called Teilifís Éireann. (Noreen Giffney October 2009)  [xviii]

The Authority’s name was changed at the suggestion of Áine Ní Cheanainn: to Radio Telefís Éireann by the Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Act 1966.  Both the radio & television services became known as RTÉ in that year: https://thereaderwiki.com/en/RT%C3%89

Cumann Scannán na nÓg

This site states that Áine Ní Cheanainn was a Co – Founder of Cumann Scannán na nÓg.  It  later merged with the Irish Film Institute to form the Irish Film Centre.  She was also appointed to the Teilifís Éireann authority during the 1960’s.  When she left the Authority: she was pleased that the Irish language with Educational Programmes would continue to have a role (though perhaps it produced erratic quality) in Teilifis Eireann’s schedules. [xix]

Áine Ní Cheanainn Co – Founded Cumann Scannán na nÓg. She provided Lectures to the Association. It subsequently merged with the Irish Film Institute to form the Irish Film Centre. (Noreen Giffney October 2009) [xx]

She was a member of the Irish Branch of UNESCO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ine_N%C3%AD_Cheanainn

Áine  Ní Cheanainn was a Member of the Irish – German Society in Ireland: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ine_N%C3%AD_Cheanainn

Publications

Áine Ní Cheanainn was the author of three books: ‘The Heritage of Mayo’, 1982 ‘Raiftieri an File’ 1983.  The ‘Leon an Iarthair’ 1983 referred to Archbishop Mc Hale. [xxi]

Áine Ní Cheanainn’s publication ‘The Heritage of Mayo’ is reviewed on this page.  First published during 1982.  It was re – printed during 1991 & 1993. [xxii]

Retirement

She retired in 1979 from Scoil Eoin Baiste girls’ school in Clontarf   (Noreen Giffney October 2009) [xxiii]

Áine Ní Cheanainn’s last years were spent at Grove Nursing Home, Killiney, Co. Dublin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ine_N%C3%AD_Cheanainn

Award

A Presentation was held on 23rd March 1996 when Áine Ní Cheanainn received a Bronze Statuette in grateful appreciation of her work by the Córfhéile na Scoileanna Committee. (Noreen Giffney October 2009) [xxiv]

Demise

Her demise occurred during June 1999.  She was interred in Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo. (Reference; ‘Dictionary of Irish Biography’ 2010 Cambridge (pages. 911/ 12)  [xxv]

Áine Ní Cheanainn’s demise occurred when she was aged ninety – two during 1991. [xxvi]

Áine Ní Cheanainn’s demise occurred in early June 1999.  She is buried in Kiltimagh Co Mayo.  She was survived by one sister. (Noreen Giffney October 2009) [xxvii]

Áine Ní Cheanainn is buried in Derryea, Kiltimagh, Co Mayo.  She was survived by her sister Margaret McNaught & her brother-in-law Jim Cannon also extended family. (Irish Times, 12 June 1999) [xxviii]

Tributes

Cardinal Thomais O ‘Fiach referred to Áine Ní Cheanainn as ‘An sineadh fad ana Gaeilge.’  In an illusion to her imposing height also her association to all thing ‘Gaielge.’  Her motto of life included her belief in people, she encouraged all to achieve their best.  She was remembered by a former colleague as ‘a real de Valera woman, she had a true love of Ireland, the Irish language & belief in what could be achieved with the use of the latest technology & methods.’  Another stated ‘Her expectations of life were high but simple really – work your hardest & achieve your best.’ (Irish Times, 12 June 1999) [xxix]

A deeply religious Catholic, she is remembered by several as “tremendously idealistic”, driven by what one contemporary describes as her “great vision for Ireland”.  A childhood fried recalled ‘she brought books with her when she visited homes with children, – never sweets, always a book!’  A devoted teacher who was far ahead of her time’ plus ‘If this formidable woman of Mayo appreciated anything, it was the value of education in general, and of audio and visual aids to the education process in particular.’Her expectations of life were high but simple really.  Work your hardest and achieve your best.  That’s what she wanted for people and for Ireland too, I suppose.’ (Irish Times, 12 June 1999) [xxx]

Footnotes

On this site it is stated that Áine Ní Cheanainn is referenced in the ‘Dictionary for Irish Biography’  2010 Cambridge (pages 911 / 912): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ine_N%C3%AD_Cheanainn

Áine Ní Cheanainn is listed in Irish Births during 1907 on this site: https://wiki.dcldesign.co.uk/wiki/1907_in_Ireland

Áine Ní Cheanainn is listed on this site: https://edwardbetts.com/find_link/%C3%81ine

Her story as Gailge (Diarmuid Breathnach & Máire Ní Mhurchú) is available at this link: https://www.ainm.ie/Bio.aspx?ID=1629

Áine Ní Cheanainn: a Devoted Teacher’ ‘who was far ahead of her time’ was published in ‘The Irish Times’ 12th June 1999. With information & photos supplied by Joe Johnston a former friend & colleague. (Noreen Giffney October 2009) [xxxi]

This PDF by Eamonn Seosamh Costello October 2015 may be viewed at this site:https://ulir.ul.ie/bitstream/handle/10344/4873/Costello_2015_sean.pdf?sequence=6

Bibliography

[i] Áine Ní Cheanainn (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ine_N%C3%AD_Cheanainn) [assessed 17th February 2020 ]

[ii] Ní Chanainn (https://www.dib.ie/biography/ni-chanainn-ni-cheanainn-cannon-aine-a6183) [assessed 11th February 2022]

[iii] A Devoted Teacher (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/) [assessed 17th February 2020]

[iv] Ibid

[v] Ní Chanainn (https://www.dib.ie/biography/ni-chanainn-ni-cheanainn-cannon-aine-a6183) [assessed 11th February 2022]

[vi] Áine Ní Cheanainn  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ine_N%C3%AD_Cheanainn) [assessed 17th February 2020 ]

[vii] Ní Chanainn (https://www.dib.ie/biography/ni-chanainn-ni-cheanainn-cannon-aine-a6183) [assessed 11th February 2022]

[viii] Ibid

[ix] A Devoted Teacher (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/) [assessed 17th February 2020]

[x] Ibid

[xi] Ní Chanainn (https://www.dib.ie/biography/ni-chanainn-ni-cheanainn-cannon-aine-a6183) [assessed 11th February 2022]

[xii] Ibid

[xiii] Áine Ní Cheanainn (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ine_N%C3%AD_Cheanainn) [assessed 17th February 2020 ]

[xiv] Ibid

[xv] Ní Chanainn (https://www.dib.ie/biography/ni-chanainn-ni-cheanainn-cannon-aine-a6183) [assessed 11th February 2022]

[xvi] Ibid

[xvii] Áine Ní Cheanainn (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ine_N%C3%AD_Cheanainn) [assessed 17th February 2020]

[xviii] Ní Chanainn (https://www.dib.ie/biography/ni-chanainn-ni-cheanainn-cannon-aine-a6183) [assessed 11th February 2022]

[xix] Mayo’s Heritage Lives on (https://www.mayo.ie/visit/culture/the-arts) [assessed 16th February 2020]

[xx] Ní Chanainn (https://www.dib.ie/biography/ni-chanainn-ni-cheanainn-cannon-aine-a6183) [assessed 11th February 2022]

[xxi] A Devoted Teacher (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/) [assessed 17th February 2020]

[xxii] The Heritage of Mayo (https://www.mayobooks.ie/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=99) [assessed 17th February 2020]

[xxiii] Ní Chanainn (https://www.dib.ie/biography/ni-chanainn-ni-cheanainn-cannon-aine-a6183) [assessed 11th February 2022]

[xxiv] Ibid

[xxv] Áine Ní Cheanainn (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ine_N%C3%AD_Cheanainn) [assessed 17th February 2020 ]

[xxvi] Mayo’s Heritage Lives on (https://www.mayo.ie/visit/culture/the-arts) [assessed 16th February 2020]

[xxvii] Ní Chanainn (https://www.dib.ie/biography/ni-chanainn-ni-cheanainn-cannon-aine-a6183) [assessed 11th February 2022]

[xxviii] A Devoted Teacher (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/) [assessed 17th February 2020]

[xxix] Ibid

[xxx] Ibid

[xxxi] Ní Chanainn (https://www.dib.ie/biography/ni-chanainn-ni-cheanainn-cannon-aine-a6183) [assessed 11th February 2022]

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