The 10 most SHOCKING incidents of the TROUBLES

One of the darkest periods in Ireland’s history, let’s discuss the most shocking incidents of the Troubles.

The 10 most shocking incidents of the Troubles.

The Troubles was one of the darkest times in Ireland’s history, a period of civil unrest, violence, and bloodshed that lasted for around 30 years.

This shocking period of sectarian violence that divided Protestants and Catholics around the country saw more than 3,500 people lose their lives, many of whom were innocent civilians.

Thousands of people visit Northern Ireland each year to learn more about these decades of unrest through tours, murals, and museums.

The fatal incidents and attacks that occurred during this time were violent and cruel beyond comprehension. Here are the ten most shocking incidents of the Troubles.

10. The Remembrance Day bombing – 11 people killed

The Remembrance Day bombing killed 11 people.
Credit: geograph.ie / Dean Molyneaux

The Remembrance Day bombing, also known as the Enniskillen bombing or Poppy Day massacre, took place on 8 November 1987.

During a Remembrance Sunday ceremony near Enniskillen’s war memorial, an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb exploded, killing ten civilians and one police officer. Many of the people killed in this incident were elderly.

The IRA said that they had made a mistake. The target had been the British soldiers parading to the memorial.

9. The Warrenpoint ambush – the deadliest attack against the British Army

The Warrenpoint ambush was the deadliest attack against the British Army during the Troubles. On 27 August 1979, the IRA carried out a double ambush outside Warrenpoint, County Down.

The first bomb was aimed at a British Army convoy, while the second was targeted at the incoming reinforcements. 18 British soldiers were killed as a result of the roadside bombs, as well as one English civilian.

8. Miami Showband killings – one of the wildest incidents of the Troubles

One of the wildest incidents of the Troubles happened on 31 July 1975 when the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) intercepted a minibus carrying the Irish band Miami Showband.

The UVF members wore British Army uniforms and ordered the men to line up by the roadside. A bomb they were planting on the minibus exploded prematurely, killing two of the UVF members.

As a result, the rest of the gunmen fired at the band members, killing three and injuring two.

7. La Mon restaurant bombing – a shocking loss of life

One of the worst atrocities of the Troubles, the La Mon restaurant bombing occurred on 17 February 1978 when the IRA left a large incendiary bomb outside one of the restaurant’s windows.

Despite the IRA saying they tried to send a warning from a public telephone, the bomb created a fireball, killing 12 people and injuring 30 more.

6. The Shankill Road bombing – one of the most well-known incidents of the Troubles

The Shankill Road bombing was carried out by the IRA on 23 October 1993 and was one of the most shocking incidents of the Troubles.

Two IRA members disguised as delivery drivers entered a chip shop at 271 Shankill Road carrying a bomb with the aim of assassinating the leadership of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

The bomb detonated prematurely, killing one of the IRA members, a UDA member, and eight Protestant civilians. Unearthed M15 documents seem to prove that British intelligence failed to act on a tip-off about the bombing.

5. The Ballymurphy Massacre – Belfast’s Bloody Sunday

The 10 most shocking incidents of the Troubles.
Credit: Flickr / PPCC Antifa

Operation Demetrius was introduced in Northern Ireland on 9 August 1971. The main focus of the operation was to arrest and intern suspected members of the IRA.

The Ballymurphy Massacre occurred between 9 and 11 August when the Parachute Regiment of the British Army killed at least nine civilians in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast as part of Operation Demetrius.

This incident was later referred to as Belfast’s Bloody Sunday.

4. Bloody Sunday – one of the most shocking incidents of The Troubles

Bloody Sunday occurred on 30 January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry.
Credit: Flickr / murielle29

One of the most horrifying incidents of the Troubles occurred on 30 January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, when British soldiers opened fire on 26 unarmed civilians during a peaceful anti-internment protest.

13 unarmed civilians were killed outright, while one died months later of his injuries.

There is a famous photograph of this incident in which Catholic priest Edward Daly is seen waving a blood-stained white handkerchief while trying to escort one of the fatally injured victims to safety.

There have been songs about Bloody Sunday and the Troubles written to remember these times, and you can learn more about it and more at the Museum of Free Derry.

3. The Shankill Butchers – years of torture

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While not a single incident, the tirade of the Shankill Butchers between 1975 and 1982 in Belfast was one of the most horrifying during this period of conflict.

During this time, the Shankill Butchers, a loyalist paramilitary gang, kidnapped, tortured, and killed random or suspected Catholic civilians in a series of cruel and violent attacks.

Two Protestants mistaken for Catholics were also killed by the gang.

2. The Omagh bombing – the worst incident of the Troubles

The 10 most shocking incidents of the Troubles.
Credit: geograph.ie / Dean Molyneaux

The Omagh bombing was the deadliest single incident of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and certainly one of the most shocking.

A warning call about the bomb didn’t specify the bomb’s location, so devastatingly, police were inadvertently ushering civilians towards the car bomb. The bomb, which was planted by the Real IRA, killed 29 people and injured 220 more.

1. The Dublin and Monaghan bombings – a string of coordinated attacks

The Dublin and Monaghan bombings were a string of coordinated attacks.
Credit: Flickr / William Murphy

The Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974 were a string of organised attacks in the two counties carried out by the UVF.

During rush hour in Dublin, three bombs exploded. Another then exploded in Monaghan almost 90 minutes later. 33 civilians were killed, and almost 300 were injured.

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