Thursday Doors – Belturbet’s Memorial

I’m still in Belturbet, County Cavan for this week’s Thursday Doors post. There’s plenty of interesting doors and historical structures here that I haven’t gotten around to photographing yet, including a castle or two. Right in the heart of the town is the old post office and I love the design of this building.

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Although the main customer service section has been relocated further up the street, the old post office is still used for sorting the mail. I think it has a very impressive entrance for such a small building.

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Constructed in 1904, it was designed by architect Robert Cochrane and G.W. Crowe in a blend of two different styles – Queen Anne Revival and Art & Craft. Most likely the reason for such an elaborate structure was its central position, with the town hall close by, another nicely designed building that I’ll save for a future post.

Next to the post office you’ll find a sculpture, designed by artist Mel French, with a tragic story behind it. It’s always neatly kept and adorned with beautiful seasonal plants but I wish there had never been a reason to commission it.

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On the 28th December 1972, a car bomb exploded in Belturbet, killing 15-year-old local girl Geraldine O’Reilly and 16-year-old Paddy Stanley from County Offaly. I remember how deeply affected I was by this particular atrocity, as I was the same age as the young man at the time. He was in the town on a delivery that fateful day and should have left but bad weather meant he would have to stay overnight. Paddy was in a phone booth calling home to inform his family of the situation when the bomb exploded nearby. At the same time, Geraldine had just left her brother waiting in his car while she went to buy a bag of chips. Nobody has ever been charged in connection with the murder of these innocent young people, nor claimed responsibility for the explosion.

On the same day, two more bombs went off in counties Donegal and Monaghan, all three within thirty minutes of each other. Fortunately, in those towns there were no fatalities. Over the next few years there was a spate of bombings south of the border, while the conflict raged on in the north of Ireland.

As a teenager I was working in Dublin at the time and was almost caught up in one of the three explosions that took place in the city on 17th May 1974. A fourth one happened outside a pub in Monaghan on the same day. Thirty three civilians were killed in those attacks and almost 300 people injured. It was just by chance that I wasn’t one of them but I heard the nearest car bomb to me explode as I stood in the street near my workplace.

These events have shaped my thoughts and feelings on conflict and the need for peaceful resolutions. I learned in later years that my grandfather, as a teenager, his two older brothers and a cousin, were all conscientious objectors in WW1 and had been sentenced to hard labour in prisons and work camps for the duration of the war because of their convictions. They and their families suffered the consequences of their decisions at the time, which meant being ostracized in the community and being denied work. Although I have deep respect for the bravery of the many, men and women who have served in all of the major and minor wars mankind has seen this past hundred years or more, I am very proud of the stand my relatives took on the side of peace.

The peace that Ireland has today is very precious and worth preserving. Nobody wants a repeat of the past.

I’m sorry for such a somber post this week. It’s also coming up to the first anniversary of my father’s death so that might have had a bearing on my choice of subject. Next week’s post should be a lot more cheerful. Thanks for stopping by and, as always, Norm has a great selection of Thursday Doors for you to view over on his blog.

About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
This entry was posted in Cavan, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Thursday Doors – Belturbet’s Memorial

  1. Dan Antion says:

    The doors (and the whole building) of the Post Office are very nice. Your thoughts are actually very appropriate for the holiday season that we are in. We don’t want to think about the fact that peace has never been easily obtained, but it is the case.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Bear R Humphreys says:

    Never a wrong time to write about these issues Jean, in fact with all the current high-handed posturing and arrogant disdain for border issues in the British government it is probably just the right time to remember what these sorts of tragedy were like.
    It’s not any near trivial, as they like to try to make out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Norm 2.0 says:

    I love the distinguished looking post office door at the top of this post. Thoughts about peace and preventing senseless acts of violence are never ill-timed Jean. Especially with the Christmas peace-on-earth… season fast approaching it’s a good reminder of how terribly things can devolve when we give in to hate, fear, and anger.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Thursday Doors | homethoughtsfromabroad626

  5. Junieper/Jesh stG says:

    Love the frame of the Queen Anne style – it must have looked stunning when it just had been painted in red and black. Have no words to describe what happened to your family – I had no idea, it’s not much different from communism. – no freedom of speech.
    Tthese tragedies happened, and the truth needs to be known. Don’t know if there ever will be peace on earth – there will always be forces who think they’re the only ones who are “right”. and react with violence to get their way.Sorry you have to miss your dad, Jean.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sherry Felix says:

    You come from noble stock. How brave of your ancestors to be conscientious objectors. Some were shot as traitors.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That is a beautiful building and handsome door. The statues tug at the heart because history is history no matter how one might wish it was different. Ireland has certainly seen more than its share of pain and loss from differing opinions on religion. It is a beautiful, peaceful country now, and a magnificent place to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jacklyn cox says:

    Thank you for sharing history, one need not apologize for it. I always look forward to your Thursday post.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. pattimoed says:

    Wonderful post, Jean. I appreciate your insights about those troubling times.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ahh! It needed to be told and you tell it well. I’m proud of your ancestors too.

    Liked by 1 person

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