The Stolen Child

The re-painted mural to plastic bullet victim Julie Livingstone was rededicated this past Saturday (October 15th). For the previous mural, see 2010. “The Stolen Child – Come away, O human child/To the waters and the wild/With a faery hand in hand/For the world’s more full of weeping/Than you can understand… – WB Yeats.”

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Our Day Will Come

“Either ballot or gun, our day will come – PIRA.” This graffiti dates back to at least 1998 (see C01268) and probably to the breakdown of the ceasefire in 1996; the same slogan was present in Wall St (Carrick Hill) in 1996. It is still visible on the Falls Road in 2022.

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A Letter To The 22

“I gcuimhne na nÓglach a fuair bás ar son saoirse [in memory of the volunteers who died for freedom].” The “22” are the familiar 12 deceased Troubles-era hunger-strikers, plus 10 from 1917 to 1946: Thomas Ashe, Terence McSwiney, Michael Fitzgerald, Joseph Murphy, Joe Witty, Dennis Barry, Andy O’Sullivan, Tony Darcy, Jack McNeela, Sean McCaughey.

“‘A Letter To The 22: You have not gone away. You are in the hearts/and on the lips of your people./The old speak of you with knowing tongue. The middle/aged, as those who walked beside you./The young men and women with a passion not unlike your own./Your names can be heard on the wind taken from the mouths/of men who tend their flocks on Slieve Gullion, Cnoc Phádraig, Glenshane./They echo in small graveyards in/Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo, Tyrone, Antrim, Derry and Armagh./They are heard among your people at the mass gate on/Sunday, in the crowd at the hurling game, around the hearth when/the bottle is cracked and song in sung. Your image can be seen/on the faces of happy smiling children for whose freedom you gave your all./You are in our prayers, you have not gone away, you never will’ – Colum Mac Giolla Bhéin

For the same 22, see Stailc Ocrais. Replaces a painted mural to Joe McDonnell.

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Let Ambition Fire Thy Mind

This new Shankill Road installation makes mention of “William and Mary”, Mary being co-monarch with her cousin William from 1689 to 1694, when she died of smallpox. She was raised Anglican, though her parents (including father James II, whom William defeated at the Boyne) had converted to Catholicism in the 1660s. Although the fifteen year-old Mary wept when the marriage was announced, she remained loyal to William and to “Church and State” when James was deposed (WP).

“King William III Prince of Orange 1650-1702. In God is my trust.” “This artwork celebrates the victory of William III over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 “The battle of the two Kings”. The williamite ranks were filled with Irish protestants and international troops, William encouraged the hearts of his troops on the morning of the battle when he called to them “LET AMBITION FIRE THY MIND” on seeing the opposing army of James II, William exclaimed with delight “Ah I am glad to see you gentlemen; if you escape me now, the fault will be mine” they followed him to victory.”

In the background can be seen SMUG’s Mussen Cortège.

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Helping Keep Our Communities Safe!

The Gold Rush mural in the lower Shankill estate is gone an in it we have another mural for the Community Rescue Service (web) making a pair with the mural on Northumberland Street (see Hill Or High Water).

“Sponsored by Cab Tours Belfast www.cabtoursbelfast[.com]. Additional sponsors Olympus Gym (Fb), OK Windows (Fb)”

See also West Belfast Supports The CRS.

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Gairdín Na hÉireann

Plants provide symbols of, and metaphors for, rebellion. In America, 1775, Paine wrote of the Liberty Tree which Americans must rise to defend against “Kings, Commons and Lords” and Jefferson would later write (in a 1787 letter) that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” In Ireland, the tree of liberty was borrowed for the 1798 rebellion (see Where Did The Seeds Fall?“) and although t more familiar symbol of the 1798 Rebellion is the pike, the shamrock is thought to be included as one of the objects in the Wearing Of The Green: Boucicault’s version begins “Oh, Paddy, dear, an’ did you hear the news thats goin round?/The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground.” The lily, of course, is a symbol of the 1916 Rising, though it is shown here growing between sunflowers and a rose.

These painted electrical boxes are in Westrock and Ballymurphy (“Fáilte chuig Baile Uí Mhurchú”).

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The People’s Queen Is Dead

Upon news of Queen Elizabeth’s death, the platinum jubilee mural at the bottom of Crimea Street became a memorial, with hundreds of bouquets being laid before it and a “wall of condolences” set up. (For the mural itself, see The People’s Monarch.) In addition, to the right-hand side has been added a small commemoration of her passing, with a quote from her son, the newly acceded King Charles:

“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world”; “Long live the king!”

The fifteen commonwealth “realms” (previously called “dominions”) share a monarch – formerly Elizabeth II and now Charles III – while the commonwealth comprises 41 additional nations, including some which are now republics: Barbados, for example, became a republic on November 30th last year (2021) but is still in the Commonwealth (WP). Additional countries might take the passing of Elizabeth as a suitable juncture at which to sever ties (Edinburgh News has a round-up | for the Bahamas see Caribbean National Weekly | for Canada see Toronto Star).

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Republican Prisoners Still Exist!

“Foremost in my tortured mind is the thought that there can never be peace in Ireland until the foreign, oppressive British presence is removed, leaving all the Irish people as a unit to control their own affairs and determine their own destinies as a sovereign people, free in mind and body, separate and distinct physically, culturally and economically.” The quote is from day one of Bobby Sands’s hunger strike diary (March 1st, 1981) and the photograph is a 2007 image of a cell in the H-4 (Irish Times).

“Maghaberry – Portlaoise – Hydebank. Republican prisoners still exist!” IRPWA (web) board on Divis St, Belfast, replacing the Sands & Hughes mural – see Cairde Agus Comrádaithe.

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Defund The Police

These are new IRSP (web) boards along the Falls Road, opposite the leisure centre and below the IRA memorial garden, highlighting two of the organisation’s most pressing concerns: the PSNI and housing.

“The deadly web of corruption: Funding Scams, Sectarianism, MI5 Special Branch, Internment by Remand, Diplock Non-Jury Courts, Political Policing, Public Interest Immunity Certificates, Collusion/Coverups”,” “Defund – disarm – disband”

“Drop the rents – west Belfast demands affordable housing and an end to landlord exploitation.”

“96% of Divis residents do no support the PSNI” was seen previously – see For A Socialist Republic – and “Divis ’81” replaces the 40th anniversary hunger strike board.

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We Can’t Afford

“We can’t afford … heating … electricity … a home.” “Costs are rising and so must we!” “Cost of living crisis? You mean capitalism.” Lasair Dhearg (web) seizes the means of propaganda to push for socialism as an alternative to capitalism’s current difficulties.

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