'It was a bad time to be there'

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'It was a bad time to be there'


Maisie McNailly describes a difficult holiday in London and Brighton during 'The Troubles'.


Maisie McNailly


Trinity College Dublin




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Maisie McNailly

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I had no children of my own. I was very fond of my sisters' children, Aileen, Margaret and William. I was with them from they were babies. I babysat with them and cared for them if their mum had to be away. When they became older, I would have taken them on holidays with me. At one stage, just 15 or 16 I took Aileen to London with me. We were looking around Windsor when overheard people talking about Lord Louis Mountbatten being murdered in Ireland. People were very upset, talking in groups. Later we heard that a lot of soldiers had been killed near Warrenpoint. We couldn't get a paper until we came back to London. We were very upset especially when getting on a bus with our suitcases with our addresses on them. The conductor on the bus was very rude to us in fact I thought he was going to order us off. It was a bad time to be there. We were moving on to the station going on to Brighton. Aileen got off the bus first. A gentleman got off with her and took her case. I walked behind. He said to Aileen, 'He (the conductor) recognised where you are from. At the present time people could react hostile to you. Everyone is very upset. Some people don't understand. Try to avoid talking in company, your accent tell where you come from_�. When we came to the station, he gave Aileen her case and wished us a good holiday. We were staying in a boarding house, B and B and evening meal. The landlady was very kind and understanding, gave us a table with two Scotch couples. They were nice to us and understood how we felt. One occasion we were having lunch in a restaurant at a table for four. A young lady came along, asked would we mind if she joined us. I said no problem. We didn't talk. She asked me were we on holiday. I answered. She said I don't recognise your accent. Aileen told her we were from up north. From that on we were more careful that we didn't put ourselves in a position where we had to talk. However, we had good weather and enjoyed the sea, sand and nice trips in the area. While in Brighton we went to see the hotel the Conservative party had their conference, where the IRA placed bombs. One or two members were killed and several had serious injuries.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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