Shared History

New panels – dubbed the ‘Wall History Project’ – have been added to the previous row of vintage images of the area (the “Peace” Wall Reimaging Project), telling personal stories of life during the Troubles including positive interactions with British soldiers and RUC officers. The “peace” wall in question runs along the top of the Fountain in Londonderry along Bishop Street WIthout. (The street was also “settled’ by the construction of senior citizens’ home, Alexander House.)

“The spoken words scattered across this peace wall are those of local women who have endured the Troubles in the City and continue to live in the shadow of its legacy. It gives a platform to all too long silenced voices, to share real real life experiences, memories and hopes for the future in a divided society. During lockdown, a group of women who have transcended division for years through the Bogside & Brandywell Initiative’s Peace Barriers Programme continued to connect on Thursday evenings via Zoom. The craic was 90, there was laughter, tears, words of encouragement, banter and good old Derry/Londonderry slagging.”

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“This Shared History Panel Initiative was officially launched by Mayor of Derry & Strabane, Councillor Elisha McCallion and Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman, International Fund for Ireland, 12-12-2015. … This initiative is a symbolic display of what can be achieved when community groups and residents work together.”

For The Fallen

“They fought together as brothers in arms, they died together and now sleep side by side. To them we owe a solemn obligation. They died that we might live. The Great Wars 1914-1918, 1939-1945 – Admiral Chester W Nimitz”. The central image of this Newtownards homage to the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division and the Australian ‘Rats Of Tobruk’ who held that city against Rommel’s forces in north Africa during WWII is the Tyne-Cot cemetery near Passchendaele, Belgium, the biggest Commonwealth cemetery in the world but named ofter the “Tynside cottages” that the German pill-boxes in the area resembled (WP).

New for the NI centenary are three emblems on the side wall, with (on the left) the Red Hand Comrades Association and (on the right) the Strain-Lightbody Memorial flute band (Fb).

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Incendiary Device

Irish-language rap group Kneecap (web) played in Falls Park on Friday night, sharing the stage with Imelda May and Damien Dempsey in a concert that Féile entitled “Irish Voices“, but before that they revealed a mural in Hawthorn Street showing a PSNI land-rover on fire next to the phrase “Níl fáilte roimh an RUC [The RUC is not welcome]”. Outraged responses to the mural have come from all quarters. The line comes from their song C.E.A.R.T.A. (youtube), about making sure the police don’t find the satirically enormous array of drugs – “cóc, speed, Es, agus moll marijuana” to name only a few – they hope to take at a party: “Seans ar bith go bhfaighidh siad mo mhála MD/Mar tá cóisir ann anocht ‘s níl fáilte roimh an RUC”. The Kneecap party and the middle Falls are the latest in a long line of places where the PSNI is not welcome, not just Ardoyne, Divis, and the Bogside (Derry) but also the Village, the Shankill, Carrickfergus, Millbrook (Larne), the Caw (Londonderry), and Tullyally (Londonderry).

The sticker shows a vintage republican image: see e.g. England Get Out Of Ireland and Stad Maggie Anois.

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Irish-language rap group Kneecap played in Falls Park on Friday night but before that they revealed a mural in Hawthorn Street, Belfast.

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Stronger Together

“Suicide awareness and mental health initiative – Larne, stronger together.” With contact information for Extern (web), Lifeline (web), Childline (web), Samaritans (web). Possibly connected to Stronger Together NI (Fb).

For the drugs-awareness board on the left, see Stop Mephedrone Before It Stops You. For the sectarian boards, see The Flax And The Lily and The Loyalty Of Northern Ireland. For the women’s board, see Women Are A Whole Community.

See also the Stronger Together shutters on the Shankill.

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We May Encounter Many Defeats

“… but we must not be defeated.” Racists graffiti was added to the Maya Angelou mural in Dundela Avenue shortly after it was painted last July (Belfast Live). The repairs got rid of the graffiti and restored the lettering but the face was not restored to its original condition. It has remained intact since then and the yellow background provides an ideal surface for the Ukrainian flag and words of support: “We stand with you, Ukraine!” and “Slava Ukraini – heroyam slava! [Glory to Ukraine – to the heroes glory]”

The quote is attributed solely to Angelou and appears to come from her person writings (Order Out Of Chaos); she died in 2014 (Independent).

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Bond’s Field

Although only Bond’s Place now retains the apostrophe, all of the “Bond” placenames in the Waterside (Bond’s Place, Bonds/Bond’s Street and Bonds/Bond’s Hill) are named after the Bond family, one of whom – William – was a United Irishman (Derry Journal). Bond’s Field is the site of the former Ebrington factory – home to Young & Rochesters shirt factory (Smart Tour) – and now part of the Ebrington complex (Scrivener). Four other Ebrington institutions are included in this Ebrington Street mural: Ebrington Primary school (web) which was originally at the end of Roulston Avenue, Ebrington Presbyterian (web), the Waterside branch of the Royal British Legion (Fb), and (in the centre) Pages bakery, which is now the Ebrington Bake House (Fb).

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Fellowship

“Fuck the IRA” on the wall of Mustardseed Christian Fellowship in Crimea Street, Belfast.

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We Will Never Stop

A rally is planned for 1 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday 13th) at Belfast City Hall in support of the family of Noah Donohoe and in protest at a request by the police to use PII (Public Interest Immunity) certificates to redact portions of three police files. (The primary source is a paywalled article in the Sunday Independent, which both the Irish News and Belfast Telegraph reported on.) Visual reminders of the case are all over the city and many have been featured on this site previously. Today’s post collects those not previously featured. In order, they are from Beechmount; University St; Duncairn Gardens (replacing the board seen in Between The Lines); Rossville St, Derry; the Markets.

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Serious Trouble

These INLA pieces – including armed volunteers among a graveyard of Celtic crosses – are in Meenan Square/Durrow Park in Derry’s Bogside, next to the bonfire site. The “serious trouble” board on the electrical pole (“RUC, Council, Sinn Féin – if this wood is removed there will be serious trouble”) is not from this year and there was not much happening yet in terms of collection for this year’s so-called “Assumption” bonfire when these images were taken last week. For more information, and images of last year’s controversial bonfire, see Fire In The Sky.

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Mise Éire

Mise Éire (short for ‘Is mise Éire’ [I am Ireland]) is a short poem by Patrick Pearse in which Mother Ireland speaks of her glories and sufferings. The un-partitioned Ireland (though with the flags of the four provinces in the corners) is used here by Republican Sinn Féin (web) to call for unification of “the whole people of Ireland … Protestant, Catholic, and Dissenter” [Wolfe Tone, from his autobiography].

The poem also appears in a Derry mural from the 1980s and a current New Lodge GAA mural.

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