A Penal law of 1695 forbade the practice of Catholicism and “dissenter” forms of Protestantism –anything other than Anglicism, forcing people and priests to worship in secret. Although the precise date of the founding of the Ancient Order Of Hibernians is shrouded by the existence of various other Catholic fraternal and defensive organisations such as St Patrick’s Fraternal Society and the Ribbonmen – the AOH history page gives 1838 in Pennsylvania – the order traces its roots back to Penal times and in particular to the Defenders in 1784, which arose to protect Catholics from the (Protestant) Peep-O-Day Boys and in defiance of Penal laws forbidding Catholics to bear arms (WP). The Belfast division (58) of the AOH is in Clonard Street.
This tarp, above the office of Sinn Féin Poblachtach and the Happy House on the Falls Road, celebrates two previous generations of IRA leadership. Joe McKelvey was commander of the Belfast Brigade of the IRA in the War Of Independence but against the Treaty; he was executed in December, 1922, for occupying the Four Courts in June (WP). Jimmy Steele was a leader in the Belfast IRA from the 1920s to 1960s and the first editor of Republican News; he died shortly after the split (WP).
Photography was still in its infancy in 1850 and would not appear in newspapers until the 1880s (LoC). Instead, newspapers used illustrations to bring their stories to life. This board in Ard An Lao (Ardoyne/Bone) – “An Gorta Mór [The Great Hunger] 1845-1851 – The Great Irish Famine” – combines three of them to serve as a background for other images and information.
In April, the Workers’ Party (web | web | tw | Fb | Fb) suffered a leadership challenge and a split in which its sole elected representative – Ted Tynan on Cork county council – left the party (statement). This is only the latest in a long line of splits, going back to the formation of the modern Workers’ Party, from a split in Sinn Féin in 1970 (WP).
“National Commemoration Committee – erected in memory of all those comrades who dedicated their lives for the establishment of a democratic, secular, socialist republic. ‘I have given whatever I had to give for the party, the people of Ireland, and for a better world, but others have given more, much more. Comrades have given their lives’ – Tomás Mac Giolla TD. ‘For the unity of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter.'”
Joe McCann was IRA/OIRA OC in the Markets area of Belfast. He was famously photographed among burning buildings in Inglis’s bakery, during protests against the introduction on internment, crouched beneath a Starry Plough and holding an M1. (For more, see Battle Of The Markets, which features the same photograph.) For McCann’s death the following year (on April 15th, 1972) see Joe McCann. This new board replaces a tarp in the same location: see On The Brink Of Sectarian Disaster.
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.
Mairéad Farrell (on the right of the image above) was arrested for planting a bomb at a hotel in Dunmurry in April 1976, one month after Special Category Status for republican prisoners had been revoked. Kieran Nugent (on the left) began the “blanket” protest in September that year and Farrell was the first person to join the protest, when she arrived in Armagh women’s prison to begin her fourteen year sentence. She later took up a dirty protest and joined the 1980 hunger strike. She stood for election in 1981 (in Cork), but, unlike “Óglach Bobby Sands, MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone”, was not successful. (WP)
“I am oppressed as a woman and I am oppressed as an Irish person. Everyone in this country is oppressed and yet we can only end our oppression as women if we end the oppression of our nation as a whole.” Máiread [sic] Farrell
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.
Muralist Gerard ‘Mo Chara’ Kelly (whose catalogue of work can be seen in a separate site) and others from Gael Force Art (Fb) have mounted a three-piece memorial for the centenary of the Falls Road Massacre in which four people were killed – one of them being Mo Chara’s great uncle Jimmy Shields – in a 5-minute shooting spree by a “special patrol” on the night of the funerals of three men killed by the ‘RIC Murder Gang’ (see the 2007 post). For more background see the memorial’s Facebook page.
“These four innocent local men were murdered by an RIC/British Army death squad near this spot in [September 28th] 1920: James Shields, William Teer, Robert Gordon, Thomas Barkley.” With perhaps the first appearance of a hashtag on a plaque: #fallsroadmassacre1920