The Nicholl farm straddles the Border between Monaghan and Fermanagh. During the thirty years of the Troubles, the area was known as No Mans’ Land, and the farm was isolated due to the destruction of roads locally. A short distance away a security checkpoint was in operation. Eric Nicholl received death threats during those years, to which he was alerted by the RUC, and he was escorted each day by the force from his house to his cattle sheds. He describes an incident while he and his wife were in their home when shots were fired around the house. He served as warden at Holy Trinity Church at Clogh from 1961 until 2001. During the early years of the Troubles, a 500 pound bomb was placed in close proximity to the church, where some of the local community were attending a religious service. The people were evacuated and had no option but to drive over the bomb in order to escape. Eric describes this as the worst day of his life. Eric’s wife, Maude Moore, is a native of Co. Monaghan and on an occasion when her mother was visiting the Nicholl home she witnessed a member of the RUC handing a written death threat to Eric, and subsequently was in fear of ever visiting the place again. Eric explains that he personally knew many of the victims of the IRA, including Ernest Johnson who was a regular caller to the Nicholl home, and Douglas Deering who had been renovating their home at the time he was shot elsewhere at night. Eric articulates the fact that it was “your neighbour that set you up and the boys carried out the deed”, but that he and his wife were determined to persevere with their farming life there, and to resist the intimidation they suffered.
This collection, carried out by Irish Life and Lore on behalf of Cavan County Library Service, is funded by the EU Special EU Programmes Body Peace IV fund under the objective to build positive relations with people from different backgrounds and communities to support peace and reconciliation.
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