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Mary Anne Cullinane nee Flynn

Waterford's Revolutionary Women 1916-1922

23. Mary Anne Cullinane nee Flynn
Mary Anne Cullinane nee FlynnHome Rule Street, Abbeyside

Mary Anne Flynn was born at Home Rule Street Abbeyside. She was introduced to Cumann na mBan by her friend and employer Miss Broderick who had a little shop at Abbeyside. The shop would later become her property. There, behind the little counter, she was ever known as 'Mama Cull' Maryanne was a true daughter of Cumann na mBan and was involved in all local events where the 'boys' had to be taken care of. On one occasion she and her friend Mamie Donovan were given the task of taking grenades and ammunition to Kilgobinet. The ladies placed them in baskets, covered them with flowers and made their way to the meeting point. Maryanne was a very resourceful woman; Kelly Donovan from Abbeyside was one of the many Republicans who went on the run and ended to America. And, like many, could not return to his native Village.   'Mama Cull' was on a visit to the US and while there she met with her good friend Kelly. She tried to persuade him to come home on a holiday. 'James would love to see you'. She told him. His brother, James Donovan was also a well-known Republican, and despite his slim and athletic figure, he was ever known as 'Heavy Donovan'. 'I cannot go Maryanne' he replied, 'I may never be able to get back in'.

Back home in Abbeyside Maryanne decided the Kelly should come on holiday.  She had connections from her 'Republican' days and no better connection than T.J. Kiernan (Irish Ambassador to USA,  husband of the famous Delia Murphy) she quickly contacted him and related her story. 'Leave it with me' he told her. He contacted her shortly after and outlined his plan. Kelly had to go and spend a few months in Canada, then at appointed time, when returning to the USA; he was to report to immigration at the border where all his legal documents and papers were in place. It's uncertain what exactly the outcome of this was, but Kelly never came home. A family relative informed me that he just could not afford to spend several months in Canada. Maryanne married Republican Patrick Sarsfield 'Sonny' Cullinane. He was a member of the West Waterford flying Column and fought up until the cease fire. Mama Cull, never revealed her age, her response to an inquiry was. 'I'm twenty and a bit, and the bit is my own business!' Now with the passing of time we can reveal that she was born 1901 and died in 1994, she is interred at Abbeyside with her husband Sonny.

Source: Cullinane Family, Abbeyside. Co Waterford

Author: Chrissy O'Connor Knight & Eddie Cantwell

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