Joan Bullock begins the recording by outlining the Bullock family background, explaining that the family farmed in Aghalane for four generations. Their ancestral thatched cottage is situated close to Aghalane Bridge on a vital stretch of road which links Enniskillen with Cavan. At the outbreak of the Troubles, one of the first events she noticed was that the IRA had removed the road signs in the area. In 1972, “all hell broke loose” when an Ulsterbus vehicle was hijacked, set alight and thrown over Aghalane Bridge. Mr. Boyle, a traumatised elderly passenger on the bus came to the nearby Bullock home, and the incident was to have a profound effect on his life thereafter. In the same year, Aghalane Bridge was blown up for the first time, and prior to this event, Joan remembers masked men arriving at their home and giving notice that the family was to leave. Later, a Bailey bridge was built which was also blown up shortly afterwards. Joan explains that one almost became accustomed to explosions, so frequently did they occur near the home she shared with her late husband Story and their children. She recalls visiting a friend, Mrs. McMullan in Derrylin in September 1972 with her mother-in-law and Emily Bullock, her second cousin, when a car drove slowly past them, prompting Emily to remark that the occupants were “up to no good”. At 6pm that evening the IRA came to the home of Emily and Tom Bullock and fatally shot them both. On the same evening, the men had also visited the farmhouses of John Darling and Albert Luney, both of whom escaped injury. The farming community was vulnerable due to the routine nature of their daily work and local informers would pinpoint them, Joan explains. On another occasion the Bullock family was warned, at 2am one morning, to leave the house as the customs post was to be blown up. On their return to their damaged home, they found that the telephone was inoperable. She would often hear firing by the IRA on the hillside at the checkpoint during those years. She also recalls an incident in earlier times when her grandfather, Joseph McClement, and some of his neighbouring Protestant farmers at Garvey, Aughnacloy were taken hostage by the IRA and driven to Trim, Co. Meath in the back of a lorry. She details the events which unfolded at that time.
Recordings available via Cavan Co. Library Service