James Burleigh began work on his father’s and his uncle’s farms on leaving school at age 14. The home farm was situated in Tattenamona, Florence Court Co Fermanagh and the farm of his uncle, Edward Muffet, was in Swanlinbar, Co. Cavan. James explains that he crossed the border every day of his life during the Troubles and that the Protestant and Catholic populations co-existed in harmony until 1969 when neighbours began to mistrust one another and people tended to “keep their heads down”. His brother, Willie Burleigh, who farmed at the home farm and was a part-time member of the UDR, was murdered when a bomb exploded beneath his car as he left an auction in Derrylin in April 1988. James recalls the day shortly after his brother’s death when he met two Irish Army officers on the Swanlinbar farm who were investigating IRA activity in the area, and he remembers the fact that they offered their condolences to him and his family.
Recordings available via Cavan Co. Library Service