News Comment

Friday 9 December 2016

The ghosts of that violent day, when innocence itself was torn apart, are finally allowed rest

Published 23/05/2015 | 02:30

Britain's Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, visits Mullaghmore with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, in Sligo, Ireland May 20. Prince Charles visited the site where the Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed his great uncle Lord Mountbatten by exploding a bomb on his boat in 1979 (REUTERS/Arthur Edwards)
Britain's Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, visits Mullaghmore with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, in Sligo, Ireland May 20. Prince Charles visited the site where the Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed his great uncle Lord Mountbatten by exploding a bomb on his boat in 1979 (REUTERS/Arthur Edwards)
A letter from Lord Mountbatten is shown to Britain's Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, by Daithi O'Dowd during his visit to Mullaghmore with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, in Sligo, Ireland May 20 (REUTERS/Arthur Edwards)

Innocence may not be a common currency in these times, but 36 years ago, Mullaghmore was a place of innocence. Lord Louis Mountbatten and his little fishing party on board the leaky Shadow V were innocents. Hugh Tunney, the meat baron saying his morning rosary back in Classiebawn Castle and the people of the village it overlooked were innocent.

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But there was no innocence about the furtive men in black who primed the gelignite and timer that would blow that innocence apart that August afternoon. Their action led not just to the carnage we all know about, it also led to the death of innocence for a small coastal community who felt stained forever by the blood that was spilled on the Atlantic swells and soaked into the sand of their golden beaches.

Most of us have got over the Irish inferiority complex about the Royal Family as we approach the anniversary of 1916 and recognise, at last, that it wasn't just those who were taken out and shot by the British who suffered, but many, many more. Innocent civilians accounted for over 54pc of the deaths that Easter week - children and old people died in the shooting and shelling, just at they did in the bomb detonated on the boat that sunny morning in Mullaghmore.

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