An Stailc Ocrais

On this today 40 years ago, Francis Hughes, the second of the 1981 hunger strikers, died after 59 days without food. The flag is flying over Groves Reilly Corner in CNR west Belfast.

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A Vision Of A Better Belfast

This is the latest iteration of the “Build Homes Now” mural in Northumberland Street, with an update to the central panel. Previously it was a space for visitors to sign their names in support but now it is a quote from (presumably) someone living in temporary accommodation: “When you’re in a hostel for so long, it starts to feel like a jail. It’s just so irritating and frustrating.”

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Fáilte Go Cabhsa Almóinne

The new Bobby Sands mural is not the only recent addition in Twinbrook. Almond – the middle of the estate – has a ‘before and after’ of the pandemic: on the left, locals sit out in the street watching children play; on the right, frontline personnel.

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Comóradh 40 Stailc Ocrais

On Sunday March 22nd, 1981, forty years ago this week, Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O’Hara joined Bobby Sands and Francis Hughes on hunger strike in Long Kesh/HMP Maze. They would be joined by 19 more prisoners before the strike ended with ten of the 23 meeting their deaths. On March 31st, 1974, Michael Gaughan went on hunger strike in Parkhurst, along with four others, including Frank Stagg. Gaughan died in June as a result of forced feeding; Stagg would die on a later strike, in February 1976.

The board is on the site of the former Andersonstown RUC barracks.

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Mind Is Your Only Ruler

Spotted in the carpark of the Dunnes on the Ormeau Road/Annadale embankment: “Free your mind – foghlaim Gaeilge [learn Irish]”.

Previously: Díchoilínigh D’Intinn [Decolonise Your Mind] | If Nothing Is Free Are We

(Thanks to RMcC for the tip-off.)

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Will This Work For You?

“A new Ireland will work for you”, whoever you are. The recent Sinn Féin advertising campaign features generic figures straight from central casting, perhaps designed to offend absolutely no one. The locations are in north and west Belfast.

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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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Reifreann Anois

“Referendum now”. On this day 100 years ago (1920-12-23) the ‘Government Of Ireland Act‘ – the fourth Home Rule bill – was passed in the UK parliament, partitioning Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, both within the UK. The rest, as they say, is history, history we are still living out. Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald claimed (in an interview with Owen Jones of the Guardian) that Irish unity would be achieved this decade. Martin McGuinness said in 2003 that unity would be achieved by the centenary of the Rising (Indo) but that year has come and gone. (Feb poll | Oct poll)

Previously: #TimeForUnity | Time For Irish Unity

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Ní Saoirse Go Saoirse Na mBan

Ní saoirse go saoirse na mban [“There is no freedom until the freedom of women”] with images of Countess Markievicz, Colman Doyle’s famous ?1974? image of a (staged) female IRA volunteer with AR-18, Máire Drumm, and Mairéad Farrell. Lasair Dhearg (web) sticker in north Belfast.

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Big Love, Belfast

“Grá mór” [lots of love] on an electrical box in Ardmoulin Street. Artist unknown.

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