Stories of being stopped at the Kildrum customs checkpoint and wonderful memories of travelling to the infamous ‘Black Hut’ for sweets, cigarettes and the like are just some of the stories gathered by a new peace and reconciliation project headquartered in Monaghan.
The Border Roads to Memories and Reconciliation project aims to provide an opportunity and space for residents along both sides of the border to share their memories of the closed border roads and the impact it had on their lives.
It aims to safeguard the narrative of this period of the Troubles and create a knowledge based legacy of this part of our history.
During 2013 the Border Roads to Memories and Reconciliation Project visited and photographed over 19 border crossings in the Donegal and Londonderry area.
Three storytelling workshops were held which was attended by 23 people from both communities north and south of the border.
Fourteen residents were interviewed about their memories of what life was like for them while the border roads were closed.
According to Bronagh Treanor, who is working on the living history endeavour: “Our project is due for completion at the end of 2014 where an interactive website will be launched which will feature interviews of people who lived along the border roads together with photographs, newspaper articles and video footage of the border crossings.”
She says the project is especially seeking old photographs of the border backroads of Londonderry right around the city - from Killea and Mullenan to Bridgend and Culmore.
“We are very interested in getting our hands on any photographs or newspaper articles of the border roads throughout the years.
“We are particularly interested in getting some photographs of the border roads in the Altaghaderry, Bunnamayne, Culmore, Dundrean and Ardnamoghill areas.
“If you have anything you would like to contribute to the project, please contact Bronagh Treanor or David McMullan on 042 9742003 or 0879219930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.borderroadmemories.com.”
The team wants to create an archive to document the experience of people living along the border during the Troubles.
It’s being described as a forum for residents, communities and victims to recollect and share their experiences as a direct result of border road closures.
Ms Treanor says the group is also looking for old video footage of the border areas such as the fantastic old Super 8 footage of the villages of St Johnston, Newtowncunningham and Carrigans, shot by Seamus Kernan of Kernan’s filling station back in the early seventies, which can still be viewed at www.londonderrysentinel.co.uk.
The project is being run by Latton Social Services and Development Ltd and is funded by the European Union’s PEACE III Programme.