Political activism in Northern Ireland became highly inflammable in the late 1960s. The period of unrest and aggression became known as the Troubles. Unofficially, the Troubles lasted from the 1960s up to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Over 3500 were killed during those times of strife. The combatants in the conflict were those who wished Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom and those who wished it to be a part of the Republic of Ireland. The former were mainly unionists and loyalists from the Protestant community (and descendants of the English and Scottish settlers from the 17th century plantation of British loyalists). The latter were Irish nationalists and republicans from the Catholic community. To add to the sectarian problems, the Catholics believed that they were victims of discrimination and civil rights abuse in Northern Ireland.
The 280 mile border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic has 260 crossing points. Arms and explosives were smuggled into Northern Ireland until the British army closed most of the crossing points. Before that, the border was almost undetectable. It was usually an invisible line on a country road. The British army closed these by adding spikes and building walls across the roads, as well as blowing up sections of roadway. They approved checkpoints, guarded by soldiers, on selected roads that were heavily travelled and critical for commerce.
Closing the border roads caused great hardship on families with family members and property on both sides of the border. Now they had to travel miles to get through a checkpoint when previously they only had to travel a short distance on a country road.
This was the case for families living in Aghyaran Parish in County Tyrone and Donaghmore (Killygordon) Parish in County Donegal. Many had friends and relatives in both parishes. All five border crossings between parishes were closed by the army. Laghtfoggy Road into Donaghmore was closed at the bridge over the Meenluskeybane Burn with spikes and a wall. The roads into County Tyrone from the bridges over the Mourne Beg River at Meenreagh and Croagh were destroyed. At Carn Hill, the road from Killygordon to Killeter was blown up at the border, as was the road from Cronalaghy to the Tyrone townlands of Laghtmorris and Garvagh Blane. The nearest approved border crossing was on the Castlefin to Castlederg Road where a checkpoint was located and manned by soldiers.
The border crossings were re-established shortly after the Good Friday Agreement took effect in 1998.