On Bloody Sunday by Julieann Campbell: A powerful and important history animated by love

This book’s great integrity lies in giving the truth-telling role back to the people of Derry

Fr Edward Daly runs down the street with an injured man on Bloody Sunday, January 30th, 1972.

Fr Edward Daly runs down the street with an injured man on Bloody Sunday, January 30th, 1972.

The beating heart of Julieann Campbell’s powerful and moving history of Bloody Sunday is in the accounts given by those who were there when the paratroopers opened fire on the marchers. Although these events happened 50 years ago, the memories are raw and visceral.

Joe Friel remembers “the sheer unadulterated terror on people’s faces” as the shooting got louder and the crowd, screaming and shouting, surged about in chaos trying to find cover. Jimmy Toye remembers the steam rising from the pool of blood around Barney McGuigan’s head. Geraldine McGuigan remembers hearing a man she later learned was Paddy Doherty shouting, “I don’t want to die on my own – oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph help me!” Danny Gillespie remembers “the ground lifting around me from the shots” and, as he ran, wounded, “jelly-like blood running across my face and into my eyes”. Hugh McMonagle remembers walking around in a trance. “I was there, but there was nothing coming to me.” Then someone said to him, “They’re all dead . . . They shot them all.” He sat down on a kerb: “I couldn’t fathom it.”

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