Choice Publishing Book Store
Ann Mc Gowan
About the Book:
‘Circumstances made them great friends, their strength of character and humour carried them through the daily hardship, trauma and pain of
This is the story of 5 fictitious West Belfast women and the impact the Troubles had on them. How they dealt with internment, raids on their houses, bombs, shootings, death of loved ones, living without their husbands, brothers, sisters, or fathers, trying to protect their children. How they held the family and the community together. How they dealt with the men coming home from prison and its impact on the family. Many stories have been told from the political and paramilitary point of view but little is heard from the women’s experience. I felt this had to be rectified so I wrote Unsung Warriors.
About the Author:
I am a Project Coordinator and worked from 2003 until 2012 with over 120 women from all over Belfast, in a Cross Border communty programme which I devised and ran. Through this I heard the story of the women first hand and I promised I would write it for them when I had time. I was made redundant at the end of 2012 and I set about telling their story.
With internment now in place the fear of being lifted was a worry in the back of everyone’s mind. People knew they could be lifted off the street at any time just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time or being in the company of the wrong person.
Like a lot of things that were happening in Northern Ireland now, people had to put up with it. They accepted it as just another obstacle to add to the many others that they hated having to live with. While knowing it was happening to others they prayed it would never happen to them or anyone belonging to them.
But this time, as soon as they pulled up at the check-point, they knew it was different. When Owen stopped the car the door was yanked open and both men were pulled out of on to the street and frog marched up a side alley by the soldiers. The women were left stunned in the car.
It was an impressive sight, all bravely marching on the military blockades, pushing the barricades aside and walking through with their prams and children, ignoring the soldiers with their guns and tanks. They women needed food and care for their children and they were going to get it, one way or another and to hell with the army or anyone else.
One of Tess’s priorities at this time was to get clothes washed for the children in the few hours the electricity was on. As she put on the washing machine one day an idea came to her. Maybe she could use the hot water for other things? After a bit of thought she decided that while the water was boiling in the top loader and before she put in the washing powder, she would boil some eggs in it. She got a wire clothes hanger and an onion net and hung the eggs over the side of it. She had the supper and the washing done in the same water. When the washing was done she used the warm water to wash her floors.
She laughed as she told the women, “it’s lucky for the children they don’t fit in the machine or they could have had their baths as well.”
“Now there’s a face that could haunt a house if ever there was one.” she laughed as Tess came near her “What’s up with you, you look so glum? Are you practicing for Halloween and just trying to scare people?”
Tess started to laugh and was half way through telling her all that was bothering her when Helen stopped her and said;
“I’m your Fairy Godmother, my lass!” she exclaimed with a deep bow and an extravagant flourish of an imaginary wand, “and I have the solution to your problems.”
“Oh Yeah! I hope it doesn’t mean walking down darkened streets with fishnet stockings and a mini skirt because I couldn’t afford the price of them?” laughed Tess “It’s too bloody cold at the moment anyway but the way things are going it could seem like the only thing left to do in a week or two if I want to clothe and feed my lot!”
She knew Helen was capable of coming up with some imaginary hare brained scheme for making a quick pound for the craic, so Tess wasn’t taking her too seriously.