Protective Sequestration

Here are two images of the “peace” line at the middle and eastern end of Bombay Street. If you want more such images, Frankie Quinn’s exhibition of images of the “peace” lines – Cordon Sanitaire – continues at Belfast Exposed in Donegall Street until October 5th.

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Something In The Air

Clonard monastery (and church of the Holy Redeemer) date back to 1897, built on the grounds of Clonard House (1843) and including 3.5 acres to provide spiritual services to the burgeoning Catholic population of west Belfast, about 30,000 in number (Ita | Rafferty). On the night of August 15th, 1969, the complex came perilously close to destruction, like the houses in the streets around it, but became of focal point of locals’ attempts to defend the area (Murray).

For other posts about the 50th anniversary of the August riots, see The Pogrom Of 1969 | Clonard Remembers | End Apartheid | Derry, Enniskillen, Aughrim, And Ardoyne.

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Pat And Dan Duffin

The IRA shot dead two members of the British Auxiliaries, Ernest Bolan and John Bales, in Donegall Street in Belfast city centre on April 23rd. Just before midnight, Pat and Dan Duffin were shot to death by men who entered their Clonard home. Another brother, John, was upstairs and not harmed and when he approached the scene he found not only his dead brothers but the station dog of the Springfield Road RIC barracks (GB Kenna | Glenravel history of Milltown). DeValera led the funeral cortège along the Falls. Joe Devlin would include the Duffin murders in a Westminster speech in June, following the killings in a single night of Alexander McBride, Malachy Halfpenny, and William Kerr (Hansard). The RIC in west Belfast under CI Harrison, DI Nixon, and in this case DI Ferris (Aiken et al.), would continue their killings into 1922 – see The RIC Murder Gang.

“In memory of volunteers Pat and Dan Duffin, murdered by the RIC in thei home at 64 Clonard Gardens 23rd April 1921. Erected the by the Greater Clonard Ex-Prisoners Association.”

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End Apartheid

15 year-old Fian Gerald McAuley was the first member of the IRA to die in the Troubles. He was shot in Waterville Street by a loyalist sniper while helping people move from burned-out homes in Bombay Street, along which the “peace” line separating the Falls and Shankill now runs, overlooking the Clonard Memorial Garden, site of the service for the 50th anniversary of McAuley’s death. In the windows of a nearby house we also see a poster in support of Palestine and a Bobby Sands-Che Guevara hurl.

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The Chronicles Of A People

Republican Seán Murry’s great-grandfather was in the British Army and Orange Order and his family lived on the Shankill Road. One of his daughters married a Catholic and converted. The history of the family on both sides of the wall is also depicted Murray’s short video ‘The Wall‘. The poem is next to Clonard Remembers.
“From the burning ashes of a Clonard Street is where I trace my own. Not fifty yards across the wall, my blood runs blue as well. The red brick walls and darkened halls where secrets never met. For fear a neighbor lent his ear to something he’d regret.//
To the sharpened steel and concrete wall that separates our minds. Where the language of indifference knows never to be kind. The towering church that rang its bells in a panicked cry for help. Drew boys and girls in fearless hordes through the smell of burning felt.//
Near fifty years of blood and tears some said we’d never learn? To put the past behind us and embrace another world. But Belfast streets refuse to give its secrets of the past. With the unrelenting notion that the die’s already cast. //
My truth is mine and yours is yours, no need for compromise. When a monopoly of victims can hide a thousand and lies. When pain and years of suffering is just reserved for some. The one we leave behind us will not escape the gun.”

 

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Clonard Remembers

“Is cuimhin linn.” Last week saw a series of events, organised by the Belfast 1969 Pogroms Commemoration Committee, in Clonard, Falls, and Ardoyne, including a photographic exhibition, documentary screenings, panel discussions, a play, a mass, and murals (Irish News), including The Pogrom Of August 1969 and the one above, in Bombay Street, which used to run between the Shankill and Falls but after the riots and burnings of August 1969 was split in two by a so-called “peace” line (see the wide shot, below).

“These are terrible days … but some good has already come from these attacks on our communities. You have young people and elderly people all closely knit together and that is a grand thing. We must not allow hatred to spring up in our hearts. For what we are aiming for now is justice. We demand justice. We are not begging for it – we are demanding it. It is our right and we will keep on demanding it until we get it. We don’t ask for anything more – just a fair deal … that we will soon have a community where everybody, irrespective of religious belief or irrespective of political ideology will be able to lead a normal life and will not be unjustly discriminated against.” – Fr Patrick Egan, sermon in Clonard Monastery, August 1969 (youtube).

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Ultras Celtic

03276 2016-02-03 Ultras Celtic+
The Green Brigade, founded in 2006, (Web | WP) is an ultra-fanatical supporters club for Scottish football team Celtic. The poster above, which shows a supporter with scarf over the lower part of his face and aiming a slingshot, is in the Clonard area of Belfast.
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The Mainspring

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Seán MacDiarmada was born in Leitrim, left for Glasgow at age 15, but after two years returned to Belfast in 1905 (working on the trams) and – according to the new mural above – spoke from the back of a coal lorry in Clonard Street, outside the Clonard branch of the Ancient Order Of Hibernians. MacDiarmada was for a short time an AOH member, before moving on to the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Irish Volunteers, which led to his participation in the 1916 Easter Rising and execution on May 12th of that year.
The title of today’s post is historian F.X. Martin’s assessment of MacDiarmada, quoted in a pamphlet on MacDiarmada from the National Library Of Ireland, which includes reproductions of letters from and about MacDiarmada. The NLI made more letters available today (2016-02-08). (See also this Irish Times write-up).
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The Priest & The Cobbler

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A new mural pays tribute to two long-time residents of Clonard. On a good day, Noel Fitzpatrick, a cobbler with a little shop on the corner of Odessa and Clonard Streets, would take his chair out into the street and play the uileann pipes. Looking down from above is Alec Reid, the Redemptorist priest who spent 40 years at Clonard monastery and played an important role in the peace process. He died in 2013 at age 82. (WP) Full mural below, along with some shots of the piece in progress. Marty Lyons & Michael O’Doherty.
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Operation Banner

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Charles, Prince Of Wales, Duke Of Rothesay, Duke Of Cornwall, and heir to the British throne, concludes a four-day visit to Ireland north and south today with a tour of Corrymeela peace and reconciliation centre. He is alsoand colonel-in-chief of the Parachute Regiment (the Paras) which served in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 2007. Flyers have appeared protesting the visit (see the two images below), and The Rebels Rest on the Falls road is flying the banner shown above: “Fund communities, not royal visits – éirígí.org”. Éirígí also produced a video in memory of some of those killed by the Regiment during its time in Northern Ireland.
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text: X02629 X02630 X02631 paul maskey supports president for all uachtarain do chach votes #pres4all remember the real victims oppose vigil wed 20th may 2015 7.15 pm