By Michael O'Connor
We schoolchildren had to walk three miles from Killannin to the School at Killola. There was no transport available in those days to schools. It was only when we reached the age of twelve that some of us were lucky enough to get hold of an “old crock” of a bike – held together with wires and string. But walking gave us the chance to be close to nature, especially the wild life. It was fascinating seeing the little birds making their nests and the arrival of the little chicks. Their habits too were studies every day so it was interesting. The farmers working in the fields, sowing the crops, and the variety of jobs in the different seasons. It was all so enjoyable. Needless to say we were so familiar with every yard of the journey, that the least change would be noticed immediately.
Hundreds of timber poles
And so on one evening as we walked home from school, we noticed something in the nearby field that was not there that morning. In every field there were hundreds of timber poles (stakes) sticking out of the ground in every few yards. We were baffled! What was going on? We had never seen anything like this before. The fields looked so strange with all these poles poking their heads skywards. Our first question that evening on arrival home was – what are the poles for in all the fields? We were quickly told that they were put there during the day, on government orders, to prevent an airborne attack on our country, in the event of Ireland being invaded by Germany. There was a fear at that time that both Ireland and England would be invaded and that it would be airborne invasion. Planes and gliders had been used many times to land troops and so the poles that now covered our countryside were erected as a deterrent to this operation. Luckily these measures were only precautionary ones Thank God our country was NOT invaded. These poles remained till the war ended in 1945