Olivia Knight was born at Rathbawn, Castlebar in 1808. The house where she was born was occupied by John (the Yank) Mangan. The house has been removed but the plaque that commemorates her birthplace is still to be seen. There is a housing estate called "Knight's Park” which is named in her memory.
Following her education she went on to become a teacher, but it is as a writer that she is better known. She contributed articles and poems to "The Nation" between the years 1848 and 1860 writing under the pseudonym "Thomasine". All her writings had a strong nationalist theme.
Following the death of her mother in 1860 she emigrated to Australia. While in transit to Australia, she met a journalist, Hope Connolly whom later she was to marry and they settled down in Queensland. She died in Queensland in 1908 and was buried there.
The plaque, which marks her birthplace, bears the following inscription:
“Ins an teach seo do rugadh
Oilibhia Nic an Ridire
Bain -Fhile an Naisiun
Article by Brian Hoban