Believe In Your Dreams

Here is a complete set of images from the Bogside end of the Brandywell. From left to right: street art by NOYS (ig) for Gasyard Féile 2022, Long Tower Community Centre (see Brandywell Past And Present), a new “Brandywell” stencil by Peaball (ig), the Ryan McBride Foundation (tw), a new version of the Derry Brigade IRA mural (see previously Briogáid Dhoire), Peaball and local youth at work, various pieces of wild-style writing and graffiti in support of Jason Ceulemans.

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On The Streets Of Derry

“This mural is dedicated to all those who tragically died on the streets of Derry during the hunger strike era. Suaimhneas Dé da nanamacha. 3rd October 2006.” The mural referred to is in fact the ‘crumbling cell’ mural (see M03350); the ‘Spirit Of Freedom’ mural was first painted in 2011 for the 30th anniversary (see X00999) – the 30th anniversary plaque remains, on the right of the mural. For the 40th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike “40” has replaced the “30” in the bottom border – see the final image.

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X10899 X10902 X10903 X10901 X10900 our revenge will be the laughter of our children bainfear ár ndíoltas amach leis an ghaire dár bpáistí

A New Breed Of Ulster Defender

Here are a pair of large boards in the Ulster Museum on the theme of Cú Chulainn, one from each sect.

In the left-hand painting – the CNR piece, by Marty Lyons and a Short Strand artist – Francis Hughes of the IRA – in what we think is a unique break with tradition – takes the place of Cú Chulainn, who became a symbol of the 1916 Easter Rising when Oliver Sheppard’s statue of Cú Chulainn’s death was placed in the re-built GPO. Hughes has a tourniquet on his right leg, an assault rifle dangling from his wrist, and instead of the raven that signified Cú Chulainn’s death there is the symbol of republican political prisoner, the lark, which appears in the apex of many other republican murals.

In the second of the pieces – the PUL piece, painted by Dee Craig – the raven sits on the shoulder of a Cú Chulainn who has a red cloak and carries a Northern Ireland shield. “Down through the years, his shadow has cast a new breed of Ulster defender”: a (loyalist) hooded gunman. Thus while Cú Chulainn is the (surprising) “Ancient defender of Ulster!”, the UVF and UDA are its modern defenders, now that the B Specials and UDR are gone.

The dripping red hand in the top left is the ‘red hand of Ulster’; one version of the origin-story for the red hand is that the man who avenged Cú Chulainn’s death made a bloody hand-print to indicate his completion of the deed. Most people, however, will think of the legend that in a race to be first to touch the land of Ulster one contestant (perhaps Érimón Uí Néill) cut off his hand and threw it ahead of the others. (This legend was depicted in a lower Shankill mural and narrated in an east Belfast mural: The Strangest Victory In All History.)

The Black Pig’s Dyke is the collective name for a number of ditches built around 400 BCE, perhaps to prevent cattle-raiding. They share a common mythology: that they were created by huge black boar; they are on the Ulster-Connaught border, rather than the Ulster-Leinster border as shown in the painting, though there are similar earthworks in Down, Armagh (and Cork) (WP).

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A Democratic, Secular, Socialist Republic

In April, the Workers’ Party (web | web | tw | Fb | Fb) suffered a leadership challenge and a split in which its sole elected representative – Ted Tynan on Cork county council – left the party (statement). This is only the latest in a long line of splits, going back to the formation of the modern Workers’ Party, from a split in Sinn Féin in 1970 (WP).

“National Commemoration Committee – erected in memory of all those comrades who dedicated their lives for the establishment of a democratic, secular, socialist republic. ‘I have given whatever I had to give for the party, the people of Ireland, and for a better world, but others have given more, much more. Comrades have given their lives’ – Tomás Mac Giolla TD. ‘For the unity of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter.'”

See recently: Secular, Socialist, And Anti-Sectarian

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Defending Ulster From Gaelic Attacks

“The Annals of the Four Masters record that in 665 AD, the Battle of Farset (Belfast) took place between the County Down Dal Fiatach, self styled Ulaid, and the Pretani or Cruthin where Cathasach, son of Laircine, was slain. This was an attempt by the Dal Fiatach to encroach on the Curtain territory of Trian Congail. The “third of Congal”, which encompassed territory on both sides of the Lagan, corresponding more to less to Uppers and Lower Clandeboye, including modern Belfast. Cathasach was Congal’s grandson. The battle was the first mention of Belfast in Irish history.”

The battle scene shown is Jim Fitzpatrick’s vision of the battle of Moira (in 637), rather than “Bellum Fertsi”. The salience of this description of intra-Ulster fighting is that there is a contention that the Cruthin were Scots (Picts) thus allowing for the idea (employed especially by the UDA – see Ulster’s Defenders and Defender Of Ulster From Irish Attacks) that present-day northern Protestants have a heritage, and a history of fighting for what is roughly Co. Antrim, that pre-dates the plantations. For more information and a similar board, featuring the tower blocks of Rathcoole rather than Cuchulainn and the Battle of Moira, see Kingdom Of The Pretani. For the debate over a connection to the Picts, see WP.

The Annals date back to the 1630s though they mostly comprise a variety of earlier sources.

The image of the gentleman with the sword appears to be a stock fantasy image, used for at least two characters in Game Of Thrones fandom (Rhaegon Targaryen and Lord Cameron Umber).

For the celebration of Rangers and the NI team, see Respect, Heritage, Culture. For the Crusaders FC mural, see The Northern Crusades.

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The Old IRA

Cúchulainn stands dying; the raven on his shoulder will signal his death. “This memorial is dedicated to all the brave and gallant men and women of the Old IRA (Óglaigh na hÉireann) and Cumann na mBán who fought in all of the campaigns from the 1920s War of Independence onwards.”

The Irish tricolour with crossed rifles was the flag of the Irish Volunteers (Óglaigh na hÉireann), the splits in which gave rise all the subsequent IRAs.

For a roll of honour 1916-1966, including some profiles, see Treason Felony.

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X08359 [X07822] Ardilea

Cultúr, Teanga, Comhphobail

“By night and by day, I ever, ever pray/While lonely my life flows on/To see our flag unfurled/And my true love [to] enfold/In the valley of Slievenamon.” The lyrics are the final lines of The Valley Of Slievenamon, written by Charles J Kickham “fenian, IRB, poet, novelist, author” and much loved in Tipperary. The heroic hurler, however, is Cú Chulainn (rather than the midlands’ Fionn Mac Cumhaill). Ardoyne Gaelic games club Ciceam Ard Eoin (tw | Fb) was founded in 1907, 25 years after Kickham’s death.

See previously: (2008) Ard Eoin Kickhams |(2015) The Heart Of Our Community one | two. Also Stronger Together

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Briogáid Dhoire

The Linsfort Drive (Creggan) memorial garden (see M02663 and M02775) is featured in the centre of this board of IRA volunteers from the 2nd battalion of the Derry Brigade. There are two similarly designed boards to the 1st battalion in Westland Street and in Lecky Road.
Below is a fresh “IRA” nail-up in Central Drive.
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Culann’s Hound

03632 2016-07-05 Cu Chulainn+
“Cú Chulainn” is Irish for “Culann’s Hound” after the boy Setanta killed the smith’s hound and promised to take its place until another one was raised. In one version of the legend, Setanta kills the original hound by driving a sliotar (hurley ball) down its throat – hence the hero is shown here holding a camán (hurley stick) rather than a sword. In the original picture on which this mural is based, the hero is not Cú Chulainn but Jim Fitzpatrick’s vision of Nuada Silverarm and he carries a sword.
On the right hand side, Tuan the hawk/eagle/sea-raven bears witness to all of Irish history.
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We Bleed That The Nation May Live

03345 2016-03-17 McQuillan St wr+
Arrayed against the forces of the British Army (which are shown in armoured cars and in sniping positions in the foreground of the mural, along the whole length of the wall) are various symbols of Irish nationalism: Oliver Sheppard‘s 1911 statue of Cú Chulainn dying; the pikemen of the 1798 Rebellion (featured yesterday: Éirí Amach 1798); the four provinces of Ireland; Ériu the mythological queen of Ireland/Éire as designed by Richard J King/Rísteard Ó Cíonga; Easter lilies; the emblems of Fianna Éireann and Cumann na mBan on either side of a quote from (The Mainspring) Sean MacDiarmada “We bleed that the nation may live; I die that the nation may live. Damn your concessions, England: we want our country”; a phoenix rising from the flames of the burning Dublin GPO (inspired by Norman Teeling’s 1998 painting The GPO Burns In Dublin); the GPO flying an ‘Irish Republic’ flag; portraits of signatories and other rebels — (left) Padraig H. Pearse, Thomas J Clarke, Eamonn Ceannt, Thomas MacDonagh, (right) Countess Markievicz, James Connolly, Sean MacDiarmada, Thomas Plunkett; the declaration of independence, placed over the advertising box of AA Accountants – see the in-progress shot below. For more work-in-progess images, see yesterday’s post, Éirí Amach 1798. At the very bottom is a quote from the mother of Gerard ‘Mo Chara’ Kelly, Harriet Kelly: “We want the freedom of our country and your soldiers out.”
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text: X03345 X03346 X03136 mcquillan st Cú Chulainn Cróga who fears to speak

1916 soldiers