I looked at my father’s big, kind, weatherbeaten countryman’s face. It was full of concern and loss and worry. I tried to console him.

“Don’t worry. Sure I’ll be home again in a year or so. All of this will blow over and I’ll come back and carry on the farming and the homeplace will then be back to normal.

‘I don’t know he said’. ‘I don’t know’.


But I was twenty years old. Young and strong and with a certainty only youth can bring. I would fight my battles and win. But little did I know my old father’s doubts would be proved correct. It would be many long days and nights before I would be home again. So much would happen/ So much tragedy.

The old people would all be dead and gone. Often without a chance to bid last farewells. Old homes empty and abandoned. The same way so many families were left derelict in their own lives.


So much change.

So much pain suffering and loss.

Thank God it’s not within the human ability to see into the future.


Thomas McNulty. IRA Volunteer.


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