The Troubles: “I could write a book….”

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard, “I could write a book…” said in Northern Ireland over the last 30 years I would have enough in the tank that just putting a couple of quid to it would pay off my debt! Let’s face it… everyone has a story to tell about something that happened during the troubles. Many are very sad, more are poignant in some way, some are hilariously funny (especially in hindsight!) but what all have in common is that these stories are the stuff of history.


I’m wondering here if we could make a start in telling those stories and if, in the telling,they might help ease the pain of thirty plus years of conflict? I think it might help.

Here’s how this works.

If you feel very confident you can just log in and post your story using your own name. Just follow the instructions here if you want to do that.

If you don’t want to use your own name, but you do want to record your story, then just scroll to the bottom of this page and fill out the form before posting.

  • Choose a name you like (Antrim1965, Belfast Docker, Old Soldier etc.. you choose one you like);
  • fill in a real email address (you will not be contacted and your email address will NOT show on site);
  • tell your story.

Scroll until you see this:-

Telling your story.

  • You can tell as much of the story as your feel able to at this moment in time;
  • You may want to change the names of people involved if you feel they might be placed in any danger by elements of the story you are telling;
  • Be sure to say if you have changed the names of those involved so that others of the same name are not suspected of involvement.

Lastly, thanks for sharing.


9 Responses to The Troubles: “I could write a book….”

  1. Cregganite1951 says:

    At the height of the August 1969 riots in Derry a rumour spread through the Bogside that the police and loyalists were set to attack St Eugene’s Cathedral. About a hundred people rushed to Francis Street to defend the chapel, having gathered whatever they could to do that. The odd stick, some stones, bin lids for protection and several petrol bombs. Everyone just stood around in teh darkness not knowing what was happening and breathing a little easier as the CS gas wasn’t quite as heavy at the top of William Street. Most were just knackered from all the goings on over the last few days and I sat on the pavement against the school wall.
    Suddenly a cry went up that the police were at coming up Great James Street and the crowd rushed up Francis Street in that direction. Obviously pretty jittery at this stage one of the policemen pulled a pistol and the crowd turned to run away as various bangs were heard. There were lots of shouts about the police firing live rounds and cries for people to, “Get down.”
    I found myself running beside another guy when the fella in front suddenly threw his hands up in the air and went down in very great pain. The guy beside me shouted, “He’s hit, he’s hit!” and we stopped to help him. The crown <em>instantly turned and ran back towards the police</em> – right towards the live rounds. I have never seen anything like it!
    The guy rolled the injured man over and pulled his shirt up to see how he could help. But the expected blood and bullet wound were not there. Quick as a flash sympathy turned to contempt, “You’ve only been hit by a rubber bullet, you stupid B******d!”, says he, hitting the injured fella a real slap on the back of the head. Both were up and running back up Francis Street as the police turned and retreated away from the Chapel.
    Me… I just lay there laughing at the stupidity of the situation until tears rolled down my cheeks. I was so relieved that no one was shot. But, to this day I’ve always said it was the CS gas that made me cry.

  2. Eamonn says:

    This is an excellent idea. I’ve written a full memoir about growing up in NI, and will be looking to publish – probably privately for friends and family – later this year. There are many stories out there about the situation we all grew up in, and the familes we grew with during those times, and I’m sure the NI wit and melancholy will shine! Great idea.

  3. talkniadmin says:

    Hi Eamonn,
    Thanks for the supportive comments and good luck with the memoirs. Any chance you might share one story with us to help get things started?

    Go on…. ah.. sure …you will will…you will. 🙂

  4. joe says:

    i was there the guy beside me was shot not dead just lucky if it can be lucky to be shot got him a priest and a doctor not sure even now that the order was right we all carry the past with us we only think we can leave it behind

  5. Up There says:

    So when the IRA organised their first patrols around Creggan they adopted the Army tactics of stopping and searching cars. Typically, a couple of armed, masked men would jump into the road and wave down passing cars. Meanwhile a few more would hide in various gardens giving cover to the volunteers in the middle of the road. Of course, everyone had to be masked to protect their identity from possible informers etc.

    So on one occasion I watched as this patrol went through their “work”. One masked volunteer lay in the mud in my garden – he was obviously very dedicated or just hadn’t thought through the fact that he was wearing his best clothes and his ma would kill him when he got home! Along the street came the local postman and as he passed the prone and masked volunteer I heard him say, “Hiya, mucker. Oh…. that letter from your cousin in America has just arrived. I dropped it in your house. And your ma says to hurry up – your tea’s getting cold.”

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