On Thursday last the Donegal Democrat reported that one of the original founders of the famous Glasgow Celtic football club hailed from Mountcharles and since this revelation a new interest has developed in this forgotten Donegal solicitor who left an indelible imprint on one of the greatest football clubs in the world.
It had been established that solicitor Joseph F McGroary had spent most of his life in Glasgow before returning to his native Mountcharles in the early 1930’s but after his return to his native county, the information is scant.
Since Thursday’s paper published, we visited his native parish of Inver in an attempt to learn more about this enigmatic man who is listed along with Brother Walfrid as one of the founding fathers of the club.
A visit to the local pub, Moohan’s in Frosses confirmed that the locals were well aware that McGroary was buried in the local cemetery and that in fact had a presence in both the old and the new cemeteries.
A trawl of both cemeteries eventually yielded results with a plaque in the old cemetery commemorating his passing in 1937 and mentioning other members of his family all of which had strong Glasgow connections.
However, the new cemetery on Cranny road yielded much more information after discovering the old tombstone tucked away in a corner at the top of the graveyard.
This was Joseph F McGroary’s final resting place and after sanding down the memorial, it was revealed that he had lived in Ogilvie House which is located on the Main Street of Mountcharles.
A discussion with local historian Helen Meehan pointed us in the direction of two brothers, both in their late eighties and known locally as two men who know everything there is to know about Mountcharles and the whole parish of Inver.
Owen and John Gillespie still live above their old tailor shop on Mountcharles where they carried out a thriving tailoring business for many years. Though in his 88th year Owen had vivid memories of the McGroary family who lived just about 150 yards down the street in the ‘30’s.
For more on their story, see today’s Donegal Democrat and Donegal People’s Press.