This recording was compiled at the Men’s Shed in Bawnboy; this is housed in the building which was formerly the old workhouse. P.J. McCaffrey grew up on a farm in Kilcorkna outside Bawnboy. His father Peter and his Uncle John were awarded Active Service Medals for their service in the IRA during the War of Independence and Civil War. P.J. recalls that in the 1950s, one needed a passbook to cross the Border and a tri tag had to be displayed on the windscreen of a vehicle. The residents of the Republic were referred to as “Staters” by the B. Specials, he says. Once the Troubles broke out, the UDR were in charge of security at the Northern side of the Border and these individuals were more difficult to deal with, though not the Welsh and Scottish Guards, he explains. P.J. joined the Society of African Missions and worked in Nigeria where he taught metalwork for a number of years, following which he was appointed to a school in Kells. He played Gaelic football with the Cavan teams which won the Ulster Championship in 1962 and 1964.
Nigel’s mother and many of her ancestors had come from Bawnboy and as there were other males to inherit the Bawnboy property she, with her husband bought a property nearby where they later ran a market garden selling produce locally and in Enniskillen. They never experienced any animosity during those years. Nigel took over the house and farm on his mother’s death in 1981 and continued the cross-Border business. He says he never had much difficulty at the Border checkpoint except for on one occasion when he was ordered to remove the spare tyre from the boot of his car and also to unscrew the radiator cap.
Recordings available via Cavan Co. Library Service