Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, who was sheltered by a man whose grandmother hailed from Killererin.

Galway woman's grandson and Nelson Mandela

Julia Rooney: From Killererin to the Western Cape

By Mairead O'Brien

MILLIONS have left Ireland’s shores over the centuries, with many of their stories – some quite remarkable – never told or, at least, not making it back to these native shores.

Julia Rooney left Killererin to start a new life in South Africa after her first husband Thomas Hession died prematurely in 1902. She settled in the Western Cape and married Englishman Louis Bishop, a Boer War Veteran, in January 1909.

Their grandson Brian Bishop went on to play a significant role in ending the apartheid regime that held South Africa in its grip from 1948 until the early 1990s. With no small risk to his own life, he openly opposed the racial segregation and human rights abuses that non-White citizens had to endure.

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