Royal Tribute to ‘Embroidery Instructress’. –Mr. W.J. Mansfield, principal, Enniskillen Technical School, has received the following letter from Mr. W.H. Holden, Secretary and London Managing Director of the Ivy Linen Corporation, Ltd., London:- “It is a pleasure to inform you that their Imperial Majesties the King and Queen visited and inspected our exhibits here today (at the British Industries Fair). I was able to introduce Mrs. Keown to her Majesty, who expressed her admiration as well as that of H.M. the King in the handiwork of the Royal Empire supper cloth and the patience and skill displayed. They also admired the embroidery work on which she was demonstrating and examined some of her personal handiwork with highly complimentary remarks. We are indebted to you and the Ministry of Education for granting her permission to demonstrate here in the interests of the Ulster Linen Industry”. 


   The Royal Empire supper cloth referred to was embroidered last year by Mrs.Keown’s pupils in the Belleek district. The cloth was presented to their Majesties who commanded that their thanks be conveyed to the workers.


  Mrs. Mary Anne Keown nee Dolan was born in Killybeg, Roscor, P.O. Belleek on 12th May 1886. She died on 12th July 1968. She taught sprigging (embroidery) in Belleek Court House, in Mulleek School and Cashel School. Her grand father Pat Connolly was from Aughnaha, Rossinver, Co. Leitrim. As there was then no school in Cornahilta Mary Anne went to live with her grand father in Rossinver and went to Ballinameehan School where she made her first Holy Communion. She remained there until she was 13 years old when she returned home to Killybeg and went to Cornahilta Primary School were she was taught by Mrs Dick. Master Dick taught in Roscor Primary School.

     She then went to the Technical School in Enniskillen, travelling by bicycle a journey that took one hour. It was there that she was taught the craft of sprigging. Mary Anne was sent to Hyde Park in London by the school in 1925 where she remained for 6 months giving demonstrations on the art of sprigging.


    Mrs. Patricia O’Reilly, daughter of Mrs. Keown.


My mother took on an agency for Spirella Corsets, in her spare time in the long summer evenings when she finished her work, she would travel by pony and trap to Leitrim to canvas for clients, she got lots of sales for the Spirella Company.

    One night when leaving her grand fathers house her cousin said he would leave her by the Garrison Chapel and as they were passing the Church the mare in the trap reared up and would not pass. Patrick who was on horse back took off his jacket and put it over the mare’s head and led herby. There was supposed to be a haunting at the Chapel.

  When we were young our Postal Address was Kilybeg, Roscor, Belleek and then in later years it was changed to Garrison. Barney Daly was the postman and he refused to come up from Cornahilta as there was a big hill and he wasn’t fit for it.