An extract from Grassroots – Stories From The Heart Of The GAA, further details below

It was sometime in the early 1990s, over 70 years after the atrocities of Bloody Sunday in Croke Park, that I learned for the first time that my mother Margaret (Peg) McMahon, nee Walsh, was in the stadium when the British forces opened fire indiscriminately on the players and spectators alike.

My mother, who was 16 years old at the time, had gone to Croke Park to see her boyfriend Michael (Mick) Hogan play for Tipperary against Dublin.

Her family, the Walshes were farmers in Tipperary and the name of the farm was known as Gleann na Gcunna near Nine Mile House which is not far from Grangemockler. She came from a family of five and had three sisters and a brother.

The conversation arose as my then 85-year-old mother and I watched a programme on RTE’s Nationwide about the rebuilding of what would become the new and modern Croke Park. The programme also dwelt on the historical artifacts contained in the GAA museum.

“You know Ollie I was there on Bloody Sunday,” she said quietly out of the blue.

I am the youngest of 12 children and I’d not heard her mention this incident before. I told her this was part of history and it should be recorded, but she explained that it was something she seldom if ever spoke of without actually telling me why. I suspect though it was a painful part of her life and experience and it was something she preferred to forget.
Which is why decades later, instead of embellishing one of the most iconic historical moments in Irish history, she told me instead the story of her involvement in a handful of sentences.

Taken from GRASSROOTS – Stories From The Heart Of The GAA, priced €19.99, further details – or ring PJ 086-8217631.


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