Anne Sheridan grew up in Crossdoney, Co. Cavan on a small dairy farm, within a family steeped in republicanism. Her father, Michael Sheridan, and his brothers, Tom and Patrick, were involved in the War of Independence, and in 1920 Tom was shot and killed by two policemen in the Crossdoney area. Anne explains that her father was instrumental in setting up the Fianna Fáil party in Cavan; in 1932 he was elected TD for Cavan, a position he held until his retirement in 1961. Anne recalls a traumatic occasion when she was walking with her neighbour, both of whom had their babies in prams, at Aghalane. They had been buying groceries at Stephen Bullock’s shop on the Northern side of Aghalane Bridge, when a car slowed beside them; one of the four occupants advised them to quickly walk over the bridge,as a bomb had been planted in Bullock’s premises.
Patrick O’Reilly grew up on a small farm at Lagan in Belturbet, close to where the George Mitchell Bridge now stands. His mother came from Reilly’s Wood across the Border and in his young days he would cycle there to visit his grandmother, often being stopped by the B Specials and asked for his credentials. His mother, Elizabeth, ran a boarding-house where at any time she would have up to three members of An Garda Siochána from Cork and Kerry staying with her. Patrick and Anne explain that they knew that violence was coming when the civil rights marches began fifty years ago. Patrick says that the Catholic and Protestant communities were getting along very well prior to this, and were helping one another with farming duties, until the murders began in the locality. He discusses these atrocities in some detail. Anne explains that life was made much more difficult for local people when the roads became impassible and bridges were blown up, causing businesses in Belturbet to suffer badly over those years.
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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