Closing the road between Kiltyclogher and Cashel put hardship on people living both sides of the border. It divided a community that was not naturally separated.
The difficulties endured by both communities however ties both places together, they share secrets, history, feelings of isolation and most importantly: stories.
The closing event of the Kiltyclogher Cashel Peace IV project last Friday, July 19 was bitter sweet.
On one hand it launched an amazing set of 35 unique stories from the area, an interactive and informative map of both parishes on the border and an unrivalled local history platform.
But on the other hand the closing of this project was described as a “great loss to the people.”
While some peace projects over the past few years have been criticised as being too artistic and not really scratching the surface, that certainly cannot be applied here.
35 videos were recorded by interviewing people on both sides of the border and they tell real stories of life during the troubles, coping with the closed roads, smuggling, hiding, coping and laughing.
There are stories about Lattone School, Cashelnadra Hedge School, Deans Lake, Sunday School in a car, Kiltyclogher NS, Sean MacDiarmada, The Customs House, Blue Haven Dance Hall, local shops and smuggling.
Kilcoo Methodist Church erected in 1890 in Cashel was used by the Church of Ireland congregation when they were cut from their place of worship in Kiltyclogher. There are stories of how babies were carried across a river to be baptised in Kiltyclogher because otherwise it was a 30 mile trip around by Blacklion. Families were divided.
Cathaoirleach of Leitrim County Council Enda McGloin who launched the videos in Kiltyclogher Community Centre said “Stories are very important, generations can forget, we can forget who we are and where we came from.
“The troubles separated communities but these stories here will not be forgotten.”
Donal Fox from Leitrim Development Company said “In 50 years time these stories will still be here, they tell of hardships and joy, they tell our history.”
Louise Leonard of Cashel Community Association said this project “opened a door for us all” and she said she hopes Kate McCarthy’s good work will continue “we now have a shared space to work on.”
Along with the stories a huge amount of work was put into an interactive online map that includes local information, townlands and census details in Kiltyclogher and Cashel.
Have a look at the map and listen to the stories on www.kiltyclogherheritagecentre.com
You can also watch the stories and see the map on the free Storytracks app on your smartphone.
Brexit is a bad word around this region, it brings back the feelings of fear and separation.
The good people of Kiltyclogher and Cashel are hoping for a “shared future together” and do not want to hear of any kind of division, border or separation ever again.