Anita McMahon was a journalist born in Cork. She worked in Fleet Street in London. She came to Achill in 1911 to learn Irish at the Scoil Acla Summer School where she befriended Mrs Weddall, Tomás Ó Raghallaigh and the other founding members.
During her time on Achill, through her journalistic ability, she became very active in highlighting the poverty of the local people so much so she convinced the Archbishop of the need for the Presentation Nuns to begin their Missionary in lower Achill. She was a regular contributor to “The May News” and her campaign bore fruit in 1919 when the presentation nuns came to Keel and they initially stayed in Mrs Weddall’s house. This, in turn, led to the building of the Convent in Keel in 1932 under the stewardship of Fr. Keaveney. When the Presentation Order left Keel in 1988 the convent was leased at a nominal rate to the community which led to the establishment of St.Colman’s, to provide day care to the aging population of the locality.
Anita along with all of the other founders became deeply involved in the national movement. She was a member of Cumann na mBan and she was very active in promoting all things to do with Irish culture. Along with the other Scoil Acla founding members they erected a monument to Fr. Manus Sweeney, who was a 1798 patriot, in Dookinella in 1944.
She presented a fiddle as a wedding present to Thomas Fadian, Crumpaun, Keel. To this day it still remains a treasured possession of the Fadian family.
She is fondly remembered in the Achill community as ‘Auntie McMahon’.