Tribute to Thornhill College Irish teacher

Tributes have been paid to one of Derry’s best known Irish teachers, Maria McLaughlin, who died at the weekend.

Miss McLaughlin, who taught at Thornhill College for more than three decades, will be laid to rest today following Requiem Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Steelstown, at 12noon.

The principal of Thornhil College, Margeurite Hamilton, led the tributes and said Miss McLaughlin had a long association with the school, both as a pupil and as a teacher.

“Maria was a kind and generous person, a supportive colleague, and an inspirational teacher,” she said.

The principal also said Miss McLaughlin was popular with all her students. “Her past pupils spoke so fondly of her and she kept in touch with them even after they had left the school,” she added.

She taught Irish at Thornhill from 1973 to 2003 and had been a pupil at the school from 1962 to 1969.

In recent years, since her retirement, Miss McLaughlin continued to teach Irish to young people across the city through her involvement with a number of local primary schools. She continued visiting local primary schools until her diagnosis with cancer last year.

Outside of the classroom, Miss McLaughlin was also a well-known figure in Irish language circles in the north west and regularly attended debates, lectures, and Irish musical events.