The Monaghan Bombing Memorial Anthology
Commissioned by the Arts Office of Monaghan County Council, this publication is a literary monument to those who lost their lives in the no-warning bombs in Monaghan town in 1972.
Published thirty years after the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, Later On is a unique book to which writers born or living in Monaghan have contributed short stories, essays, poems and excerpts from novels. It includes work from Eugene McCabe, Mary O`Donnell, Patrick MacEntee, Nell McCafferty (a frequent user of the café that was blown up), Pat McCabe, Frank McNally and Leland Bardwell.
The essays cover subjects as diverse as geography, sport, and Monaghan in the 1940s. Interspersed among the essays, fiction and poetry are short eyewitness accounts of that day, thirty years ago. Some of the accounts are unadorned statement, others are more reflective, all of them startling in their clarity. In the middle section of the book relatives of the seven people killed describe them, and a poem follows each reminiscence. Although officialdom is only now beginning to lift the lid on what happened that day, the people of Monaghan town and county have dealt with it in their own way, and glimpses of this shine through the book. Witness is borne by the accounts given, some of which are shocking for the very blandness of voice used; others like that of Peter Hughes, are riveting for their poignancy, in his case that of small boys coming to terms with grief. All the while, we get to know the people killed, and their relatives, not merely as statistics but as real parts of a town and its hinterland.
Later On tells a story of that day while never descending into cliché, always mindful of the lives lost and the relatives left behind, and still it gives a wide worldly picture of the inhabitants of County Monaghan.
A monument that casts a human light
“ … it has been so difficult to find ways of marking atrocities. Words still come easier than visual images. Evelyn Conlon’s memorial anthology, Later On, is a superb verbal response to the Monaghan bombing… physical monuments have been harder to envisage… we need public art to do what politics struggles to achieve.” -Fintan O’Toole. The Irish Times, September 22, 2007