The bombing of the Droppin’ Well bar in Ballykelly was described by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as “One of the most horrific crimes in Ulster’s tragic history”. Eleven soldiers and six civilians were killed when a bomb exploded during a disco in the pub.

The attack was carried out by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), a republican paramilitary group. They were targeting soldiers stationed at the nearby Shackleton barracks in County Londonderry.

This is one of the most horrific crimes in Ulster’s tragic history. This slaughter of innocent people is the product of evil and depraved minds.

This was the reaction of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to one of the highest death-tolls of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The regular Monday night disco at the Droppin’ Well public house in Ballykelly, County Londonderry, was packed with around 150 people on 6 December 1982 when a no warning bomb detonated at around 11.15pm. Six civilians, four of them women, and eleven soldiers were killed in the explosion. Approximately 30 more were injured.

Many of those killed and injured were crushed by fallen masonry. So devastating was the impact of the explosion, it was initially thought to have been caused by 30 pounds of explosives. The device is actually believed to have contained five pounds of explosives, packed into a box measuring no more than six inches by three. The destruction was caused by the strategic placing of the device beside a support pillar. When the bomb exploded, the blast brought down the roof of the building.

BBC History