Donncha Mac Niallais

“Óglach, gaeilgeoir, gníomhaí, Cara. Ár mbuíochas leat. [Volunteer (in the IRA), Irish-speaker, activist, friend. Our thanks to you]” Mac Niallais was imprisoned in 1976 (Belfast Telegraph) and went on the blanket – here is his mother, Mary, protesting his treatment: Do You Care? Upon his release in 1986 he took up community work and political activism in Derry, including a prominent role the parade protests in the mid-90s (see No Sectarian Marches | No Consent No Parade). (Derry Journal) The mural is by local artist Razer (BelTel).

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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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Saoirse Go Deo

The 1918 ‘Representation Of The People’ act gave 8.4 million women in the United Kingdom the right to vote (WP). (For the two women on the left holding the ‘Votes For Women’ sign, see Women’s Hall And Cost-Price Restaurant.) In that same year, Countess Constance Markievicz was the first woman elected to Westminster and became Sinn Féin Minister For Labour in the first Dáil Éireann that was established as an alternative. Ten years earlier, she had co-founded Na Fianna Éireann with Bulmer Hobson. The names of Derry fianna are listed on the right. “Fuair siad bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann.” (This board replaces the former Fianna mural that celebrated the centenary in 2009.)

To the left is a “Join RSYM” stencil with the names of the ten deceased 1981 hunger strikers; to the right is a picture of the memorial across the street to the dead of the 3rd battalion of the Doire Brigade Óglaigh na hÉireann.

“But while Ireland is not free I remain a rebel, unconverted and unconvertible. There is no word strong enough for it. I am pledged as a rebel to the one thing – a free and independent republic.”

“Ach a fhad is nach bhfuil Éire saor, seasfaidh mé an fód mar cheannairceach, gan géilleadh, gan athrú. Níl focal dá bhfuil atá chumhachtach go leor. Tá gealltanas tugtha agam mar cheannairceach, cuspóir amháin a chur i gcrích – poblacht shaor agus neamhspleach.”

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Hello Future

Pat Sheehan had been on hunger strike for 55 days when the strike was ended on October 3rd, 1981. He became MLA for Belfast West in 2010. He was the main speaker at the 41st anniversary commemoration in Belfast this past Sunday (video). The boards shown here are in Pim Street, north Belfast, the former Andersonstown RUC station in west Belfast, lower Falls Road, west Belfast.

“Comóradh Náisiúnta in ómós na stailceoirí ocrais. Béal Feirste 21 Lúnasa, 2:00 i.n. Aoichainteoir: Pat Sheehan. Páirc Dunville a fhad le hUaigheannaí na Poblachta, Reilig Bhaile an Mhuileann. (Ag cruinniú ag 1:30 i.n., ag fágáil ar bhuile 2:00 i.n.”

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Saoirse Go Deo

Saturday will be the 51st anniversary of Michael Devine’s death, the last of the ten strikers to die in the 1981 strike. This mural was painted last year during lockdown for the 50th anniversary.

“Vol Mickey Devine, Derry Brigade, INLA. In memory of Michael Devine “Red Micky” H-Block martyr, died 20th August 1981 after 60 days without food. Remembered with pride by his family, friends and comrades. ‘They have served their British masters, the poor pathetic fools, they think that inhumanity and cruelty can break us, haven’t they learnt anything? It strengthens us, it drives us on for then more than ever we know that our cause is just’ – Micky Devine”

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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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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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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

Cuimhníonn Doire

For many years there were portraits of the hunger strikers (either the 10 deceased from 1981 or the 12 from the 70s and 80s) along the long wall in Bishop St Without – see 2009, 2004, and 1998 (before that time the wall was divided into a number of panels for a variety of republican imagery – see 1984 and 1982) but in the portraits – which were on boards – soon started coming off and over the next decade the wall began to fade and become covered in graffiti (as can be seen in Street View). For the 40th anniversary, the deceased hunger strikers were restored to the wall, as shown in today’s post: “40th anniversary of the 1980-1981 hunger strikes. Rededication of mural, by the Bogside and Brandywell Monument Committee.”

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Óglach Sean McCaughey

Sean McCaughey was born in Aughnacloy but the family moved to Ardoyne when he was six years old (both Duneden Park and Heathfield Road are mentioned). He was IRA acting chief of staff when he was arrested in 1941 and sentenced to life in Portlaoise. He went on the blanket and was confined to solitary. After five years he went on a hunger and thirst strike, and died after 23 days, on May 11th, 1946. The background image in the board shown above is of McCaughey’s cortège moving through Dublin before he was buried in the republican plot in Milltown cemetery (Belfast). (An Phoblacht | RN | Bobby Sands Trust | 2008 mural)

“Fuair sé bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann.”

Replaces Free Tony Taylor.

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