Christmas In Prison

A crude engraving about the size of your hand found on the wall of the B-wing yard in Crumlin Road Gaol (now a tourist attraction and conference centre): a Celtic cross with knot-work and “Jim Keenan – Xmas 1942”.

Below is a picture of the gaol from September 15th, 1942, thirteen days after Tom Williams was hanged (see the plaque to his memory in Bombay Street).

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Unsung Heroes

“The young and the old rallied around/To help fight the forces of the British crown/Unsung heroes too many to name/Defended Unity flats and never sought fame”. Unity flats were built in 1968 to replace the old Carrick Hill but immediately came under repeated attack by loyalists from the nearby Peter’s Hill and Shankill; by 1987 their demolition had been approved but because of difficulty in rehousing residents (Hansard), the new Carrick Hill was not completed until 2009 (BelTel). The flats have a Facebook page, Growing Up In Unity Flats. The plaques shown today are on the side of the newsagents in the new Carrick Hill.

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Like The Eternal Flame

“Like the eternal flame your memory will never die.” “Unbowed, unbroken – this garden is dedicated to all our fallen dead from Ardoyne, Bone, and Ligoniel who lost their lives as a direct result of the conflict. We also honour all those people who played an active part in our struggle for Irish freedom. ‘It is not those who inflict the most, but those that endure the most, that shall prevail’ [Terence McSwiney]”. The central plaque shows the pediment and statues on “ard-oifig an phoist” (the GPO in Dublin, 1916) and the Maid Of Erin harp (of 1798). The celtic cross was previously in the memorial garden at the corner of Berwick Road – see Freedom Hath Arisen.

In the distance of the final image is the Sean Mac Diarmada mural.

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When You Enter This Loving School

“Welcome: When you Enter this Loving school Consider yourself One of the special Members of an Extraordinary family”. Two images from St Patrick’s primary on the edge of the New Lodge. The “Hail Mary’ is written in Irish
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If You Strike Us Down Now, We Shall Rise Again

“[I assume that I am speaking to Englishmen who value their freedom, and who profess to be fighting for the freedom of Belgium and Serbia [in WWI].] Believe that we too love freedom and desire it. To us it is more than anything else in the world. If you strike us down now, we shall rise again and renew the fight. You cannot conquer Ireland; you cannot extinguish the Irish passion for freedom. If our deed has not been sufficient to win freedom, then our children will win it by a better deed – Gen. P. H. Pearse” at his court martial in 1916.
Here are eight images of the memorial plaques to deceased Ardoyne IRA fianna and ógliagh fromt he 1970s: David McAuley, Joseph Campbell, Joseph McComiskey, Bernard Fox, Charles McCann, Seamus Cassidy, Trevor McKibbin, James McDade, Gerard McDade, James Reid, Terry Toolan, Brian Smyth, Paddy McAdorey, Denis Brown, Jim Mulvenna, Jackie Mailey, Frankie Donnelly, Laurence Montgomery.
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Republican Items

IRA volunteer (and marksman in the Irish Army) John Starrs was killed in a May 13th, 1972, gun battle with the British Army in William Street (Seachranaidhe), near his plaque in Chamberlain Street, Derry, which is also home to Connolly House, home of the IRSP in Derry, and Junior McDaid house, home of Saoradh/IRPWA.

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Beidh Bua Againn Go Fóill

The Irish tricolour flies outside Raymond McCreesh House – his birthplace – at Maryville, Camlough.

“Keep on marching, don’t give up – Raymond McCreesh 1957-81. Died after 61 days hunger-strike, H-Block Long Kesh 1981.” The phrase was spoken at the end of a visit with Jim Gibney.

“Beidh bua againn go fóill” [victory will be ours yet].

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Those Who Can Endure The Most

A tarp has been added to the Ardoyne memorial garden (seen previously in 2008) putting the 12 deceased hunger strikers from the modern Troubles alongside those who were executed for their part in the Easter Rising.

Berwick Avenue, Belfast

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Easter Re-Union

“Ardoyne, Bone & Ligoniel Easter Re-Union, on Tuesday 2nd April, Crumlin Star social club, 8 til late, with prominent guest speaker, traditional Irish night, followed by disco. Taile [entrance fee] £5.00”.

In CNR north Belfast. Please get in touch if you know the precise location.

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McGurk’s Bar Bombing

For the 40th anniversary, a painted shopfront and plaques to the victims of the McGurk’s Bar Bombing were added last December (2011) to the Celtic Cross and plaque already at the site. The text on the info board to the right is ad follows: “At 8.48 pm on Saturday 4th December 1971, a no-warning bomb, planted by British terrorists, exploded on the doorstep of family-run McGurk’s Bar. Fifteen innocent men, women and children perished. Those who were not crushed or slowly asphyxiated by masonry where [sic] horrifically burned to death when shattered gas mains burst into flames beneath the rubble. Nearly the same again were dragged from the debris alive. In the aftermath of the atrocity, the British and Unionist Governments, RUC police force and British military disseminated disinformation that the bomb was in-transit and that the innocent civilians were guilty by association, if not complicit in this act of terrorism. This is despite a mountain of forensic evidence and a witness who saw the bomb being planted and lit before watching the British terrorists escape into the night. From the moment the bomb exploded, and for 40 years since, the families and friends of those murdered have campaigned constitutionally and with great dignity to clear the names of their loved ones. It is a Campaign for Truth that continues to this day. Join us at www.themcgurksbar.com.”

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