Somhairle Buí Mac Domhnaill (Gaeilge) / Somhairle Buidhe Mac Domhnaill (Gàidhlig) / Sorley Boy MacDonnell (English) was so-called (Buí/Buidhe) because of his “yellow” hair. Although his family was from the islands, he was born just outside Ballycastle in 1505 and is known for establishing the Mac Donnells in Antrim and for frustrating the plantation (WP | Tudor & Stuart Perspectives).
The mural was painted by Oliver McParland (web) in North Street, Ballycastle.
“Fuair siad bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann” [they died for Ireland’s freedom] Although it’s the 40th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike, this Lifford (Co. Donegal) board includes Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg who died in English prisons in the 1970s.
If you can explain the flag in the centre, please get in touch. The wide shot, below, includes a call to rally for 100% Redress, No Less.
For the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike, portraits of the deceased ten (plus Frank Stagg and Michael Gaughan from the 1970s) were placed on the railings of the Ballymurphy memorial garden. There is a new (compared to 2006 and 2008) set of plaques, erected in 2017:
“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 worked 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 Phadraig, Glenshane. They echo in the 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 is 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. Mise le meas Colm Mac Giolla Bhein 2006. This monument was erected by the Ballymurphy Ex POWs in memory of the 22 hunger strikers who died for the cause of Irish freedom. It was unveiled on the hundredth anniversary of Thomas Ash[e] who was the first republican to die on hunger strike in 1917. He died after five days while being force fed. Thomas Ash[e] an these 21 brave Irish men stood by their beliefs and refused to be criminalised. Fuair siad bás ar son shaoirse na hÉireann. I measc laochra na nGael go raibh siad.”
500 days after the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ plan for restoring Stormont was released, members of An Dream Dearg (tw) took to Sliabh Dubh (promo video) to urge for the plan’s “official recognition of the status of the Irish language in Northern Ireland”. The DUP – now under the leadership of Edwin Poots – say the party is committed to NDNA but that it does not contain an ‘Irish Language Act’ (News Letter One | Two).
“Saoirse go deo.” INLA volunteer Kevin Lynch went on hunger strike 40 years ago yesterday, May 23rd, 1981. He would die 71 days later, on August 1st. His funeral is depicted above, part of a new IRSP/IRSM board commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes. The board is flanked by two other IRSP boards, one against the PSNI (“96% of Divis residents do not support the PSNI – defund, disarm, disband”) and one dedicated to founder Seamus Costello (“He was the only one who truly understood what James Connolly meant when he spoke of his vision of the freedom of the Irish people.” – Nora Connolly at Costello’s funeral) that was previously in Hugo Street.
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.”
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.
For the ‘Victory To The IRA’ graffiti on the left, see Who.
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.