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World War Two Artefact Returns To Belgooly

Updated: Jun 28, 2021

A relic from a German bomber that crashed landed in Belgooly in August 1941 was presented to Belgooly National School by Ann O'Mahony on Friday last.

The Junker 88 had been on a reconnaissance mission over the Bristol Channel when two RAF Hurricane fighters intercepted the plane. Having lost one of its engines and damaged its remaining engine, the crew decided to make for neutral Ireland and ditch the plane.

Crash landing in Belgooly, two local men Bob and Jim O'Regan witnessed the event, with Bob's account now recorded in the locally published book In the Shadow of Sliabh Rua. While the crew destroyed the plane on landing, the locals gathered souvenirs, one of which remained in possession of Ann's family for 80 years.

For Ann, it was also a memorable day returning to the Parish where she had spent her formative days, meeting the grandchildren of her childhood friends. Taking the opportunity to speak with the pupils, who had completed a week's engagement in local history, Ann answered numerous questions on her experiences as a pupil in Ballingarry NS, where her mother, May O'Keeffe, had been the principal.

Pic: Siobhán Russell

Initially, she had gone to school at Ballymartle NS, but a threat of closure at Ballingarry NS, where a total of seven students had been attending, had seen her take up her studies there.

While there were some similarities in the pupils' experiences of the two generations, today's students acknowledged the apparent differences: lunches (bread and jam), collecting firewood for the school's stove, no uniform, no school transport, corporal punishment and no 'iPads, (only chalkboards).

In addition to her school days, she recalled the time she spent with her 'pals' Joan Coughlan, Monie Ahern, the late Donie Ahern and the late Miah Ahern as they explored the local countryside.

Eventually, her time in Belgooly ended when her father, Bill, moved from his employment in Cronins, Belgooly (a shop and pub), now the Huntsman Bar and Restaurant, to the city.

Thanking Ann for her insight into the past, school principal Diarmuid Hennessy also thanked her for presenting the artefact from the German bomber, which he promised will find a pride of place in the new extension, set to be completed in 2022.

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