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.
Máirtín Ó Dochartaigh, one of the founders of Club Óige Mhachaire Botháin in 2001, died in 2011. The club was renamed in his honour in ?2020? as Cumann Óige Uí Dhochartaigh (Fb | ig) (An Phoblacht). The mural, bearing the original name of the club, dates back to 2012.
“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.
Tourists to West Belfast/Feirste Thiar are given a tour of the sights on a black taxi tour: (clockwise from left) the entrance to Milltown Cemetery at the edge of Andersonstown, a trio of murals (the Bobby Sands mural on the side of the Sinn Féin offices; the Easter Rising mural in Beechmount Ave; the Acht Anois fáinne on Divis Street (also in Ardoyne)) with a march taking place, Cultúrlann McAdam-Ó Fiaich, gaelic football and hurling, Divis tower, Conway mill, and the Falls library. This is the third such tourist mural in the area, after one at Divis tower (Gateway To West Belfast) and one on the offices of Fáilte Feirste Thiar (Go West! | Fáilte Feirste Thiar | The Conlan Revolution).
Fáilte Feirste Thiar‘s second mural (the first is outside its offices in the middle Falls – see Go West) reinforces the claim that (republican) west Belfast begins as soon as you cross the motorway, five minutes’ walk from the city centre. Coiste’s tour of republican murals begins at Divis Tower and the new mural already seems to be drawing tourists – see the final image, below. The previous Coiste mural (M04900) has been deleted and incorporated into the mural, promising touraists “a unique walking tour by former political prisoners”.
The mural is a mix of landmarks – the new Raidió Fáilte building (which is located just below the mural), Divis tower, St Peter’s, Conway Mill, the so-called “international wall” of murals, the Bobby Sands mural, the Falls library, the new James Connolly centre, Cultúrlann, and Milltown cemetery – cultural images (Irish dancing and Féile An Phobail) – and sporting images (clubs include Immaculata ABC, Gort Na Móna GAC, St Paul’s GAC). A gay pride ‘rainbow’ stripe runs below the Divis Street portion. Before the previous mural was painted (M07533), there was a Gateway To Belfast board at this spot.
Michael Conlan (tw | ig) won his first title and tenth professional bout on Saturday night (December 22nd), in Manchester, by defeating Englishman Jason Cunningham (BBC). He features here in one of the new murals on the Fáilte Feirste Thiar offices alongside the traditional Gaelic games of hurling, camogie, football, and handball.
Gort Na Móna (tw | Fb) play their home games at Páirc Mhic Ionnrachtaigh/Enright Park, named after the local Enright clan and in particular Terry Óg, who was killed by the LVF in January 1998 as he was working as a doorman at Space nightclub (Independent | Irish Times). In addition to football and hurling, he was a boxer, Irish dancer, and – as will be seen in the other mural to his memory – a lover of the outdoors.
O’Donovan Rossa GAC (web | tw | Fb) dates back to 1916, just one year after the death of republican Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa (at whose funeral Padraig Pearse gave the oration – “The fools, the fools …”). “Crom abú” is a war-cry of the ancient FitzGeralds as they attacked the O’Donovan fortress at Crom, Co. Limerick. Some of those fleeing eventually settled in Rosscarbery, Co. Cork, which is where Jeremiah was born in 1831. The sword is a symbol of justice, the snake of wisdom.
Lisburn boxer James “The Assassin” Tennyson, current Irish super-featherweight champion, (BoxRec | tw) provides the centre-piece between soccer and gaelic games in this Glenbawn mural: on the left, the Celtic Boys Club (tw | web), established 1983) and Gaelic games club Seán Uí Mhistéil (web | Fb) originally formed in the New Lodge in 1899.
Fáilte go dtí bunscoil Croí Sácráilte (Welcome to Sacred Heart primary school). Three school-children are shown in Cliftonville soccer and Antrim hurling strips, as well as in the school’s black uniform.