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.
“This wall is dedicated to all those ex prisoners that found themselves imprisoned as a result of British occupation of our country. The plaques on the wall are in memory of those former POW’s who have since passed away.” There are five plaques already on the wall, to Patrick Quinn 2017, Buller Holland 2007, Henry McErlean 2015, Martin Meehan 2007, Seán McCaughey 1946. For the large stones, see yesterday’s Father Time. Replaces Rhythm Of Time.
Robert Ballagh’s 1916 Proclamation was first painted as a mural by Mo Chara Kelly and Risteard Ó Mhurchú in 1991 for the 75th anniversary of the Easter Rising (see Cáisc 1916 which also contains the Ballagh piece). That version stood for ten years on the Whiterock Road. It has reproduced again in Ard An Lao above the hunger strikers, after the removal of several plaques (see All Our Dead). “With special thanks to Hugo Óg Wilkinson”.
This mural has been added to the “D company” corner at Northumberland and Divis streets (see Our Struggle Continues), with traditional words (“saoirse/freedom”, “beir bua/seize victory”) and imagery of the four provinces and a lark in barbed wire.
In the background can be seen the old Divis flats. The flats were built to replace the tightly-packed streets of the lower Falls (see the first image below). After the first three blocks were completed in 1969, there was a plan to have a mixture of flats all the way up to Dunville Park (“Phase 2” in this 30-minute BBC video on the flats, which also includes the story of its eventual demise.
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text: X03624 X03625 X03621 Rathkeele Way In proud and loving memory of Óglach Mickey Devine. Died 20th August 1981 in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh after 60 days on hunger-strike. Mickey was waked and buried from this house, the family home of his sister Margaret. Also died 30th March 2005.
The Bobby Sands mural in Sevastopol Street has been given a facelift, including the blocking-up of a vent on Sands’s left cheek. Kieran Doherty and Joe McDonnell have been added in place of the 1798 medallions on each side. On the side-wall are Sean McCaughey, ten doves representing the 1981 hunger-strikers, and Long Kesh. Aerosol‘s accordion-player paste-up has been also been retained.
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Ag sráid Sevastopol cuimhnitear ar Bobby Sands i múrmhaisiú a authnitear ar fud an domhain. Ba scribhneoir, file, réabhlóidí agus díograiseoir Gaeilge é Sands. Fuair sé bas 5 Bealtaine 1981 tar éis 66 lá ar stailc ocrais. As ucht na diograise a thaispeáin Sands agus a chomhchimí i leith thoglaim na teanga faoi choinníollacha uafásacha Bhlocanna H na Ceise Fada, spreagadh glúin úr chun dul i mbun athghabháil na Gaeilge.
Here at Sevastopol Street Bobby Sands is remembered in a mural which has become world-renowed. Sands, a writer, poet, revolutionary and Gaelic enthusiast, died on May 5th 1981 after 66 days on hunger strike. Sands and his fellow prisoners inspired a new generation to reclaim the Irish language enthusing them by the huge efforts they put into learning Irish in the horrendous conditions on the H Blocks of Long Kesh.
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text: X02586 X02588 X02587 everyone Republican or otherwise has their own particular role to play our revenge will be the laughter of our children joe mcdonnell i’ll wear no convicts unofirm nor meakly meekly serve my time that Britain might make Irelands fight 800 years of crime ira volunteer
Mural in Beechmount Avenue/Ascaill Ard na bhFeá commemorating the 30th anniversary of the hunger strike. The watchtowers of Long Kesh provide a lower border, joined by symbols of republican prisoners the lark and the green ribbon, as well as the Easter lily and Sinn Féin logo. “Honour Ireland’s dead – wear an Easter lily”. “I gcuimhne ar an stailc ocráis. [In memory of the hunger strike.]” Replaces the previous Honour Ireland’s Dead which did not feature the hunger strike.
When the mural to “the first blanketman” Kieran Nugent mural (in the Rock streets) was re-done in February 2011, it was initially framed with a terrific selection of posters from the period, many of them from continental Europe, about Kieran, the blanket protest, and hunger striker.
“I’m not a criminal. The Brits will have to nail prison clothes to my back.” For the previous mural, and some background about Nugent going “on the blanket”, see M02550.
Michael Gaughan’s final message included the line “Let there be no bitterness on my behalf, but a determination to achieve the new Ireland for which I gladly die” which is loosely quoted in this hunger strikers Ardilea Close (in the Bone) mural. He is buried with Frank Stagg in Leigue Cemetery, Ballina. (WP)