An Attitude Of Revolt

The Tommy Roberts mural at the top of Westland Street, Derry, has been expanded, with a new central image – which now includes a portrait of Stevie Mallon alongside Roberts, against a background of Free Derry Corner – and three additional plaques.

Both quotes (“Life springs from death, and from the graves of dead patriot men and women spring living nations.” and “As long as Ireland is unfree the only honourable attitude for Irishmen and Irishwomen is an attitude of revolt.” are from Patrick Pearse. The first quote was also used on a Gibraltar 3 mural in Belfast and an INLA mural in Strabane in 1990; the latter was used in a Belfast in the 1980s.

“In proud and loving memory of Tommy Roberts, former IRA volunteer, former POW blanketman, died 8th June 2017 aged 78. His courage and dedication will never be forgotten. As long as Ireland is unfree the only honourable attitude for Irishmen and Irishwomen is an attitude of revolt.”

“In proud and loving memory of Stevie Mellon, former IRA volunteer, former internee, former GAA referee, died 1st August 2018, aged 65 years. His courage and dedication will never be forgotten. Lay him away on the hillside with the brave and the bold.”

“In proud and loving memory of Veronica Taylor, a proud socialist republican. Born11th June 1943, died 16th December 2019, aged 76 years. Her tireless dedication to the republican struggle will never be forgotten. “The only people worthy of freedom are those who are prepared to go out and fight for it every day and die if necessary.””

“In proud and loving memory of Ruairí (Roddy) Carlin, former IRA volunteer, former POW, died 23rd March 2021. A brave son of Ireland who fought for his country against continued British oppression and injustice, an uncompromised republican committed to the reunification of Ireland.”

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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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After We Are Gone

Patsy O’Hara was born in 1957 Bishop Street, Derry, and joined Na Fianna in 1970 and the local Sinn Féin cumann in 1971 and, in August was shot in the leg by British soldiers. In 1972 he joined the Republican Clubs and in 1975 the IRSP. He was imprisoned multiple times, the final time being in January 1979 for possession of a hand grenade (Bobby Sands Trust). He went on hunger strike 41 years ago tomorrow (March 22nd) and was the first of the three INLA hunger strikers to die in 1981. The long-standing mural in Bishop Street was repainted for the 40th anniversary of his death. (For the previous version, see Let The Fight Go On.)

“Óglach Patsy O’Hara, INLA Derry Brigade, Irish hunger striker, who died after 61 days on 21st May 1981, age 23. Last words ‘Let the fight go on’.”

“After we are gone, what will you say you were doing? Will you say you were with us in our struggle or where you conforming to very system that drove us to our deaths?”

Bishop Street, Derry

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We Are Albion Star

Albion Star (Fb | tw) is a soccer club founded in 2003. It fields youth teams for players ages 5 to 17.

The plaque in the top right corner is to Phil McDonnell of the OIRA and INLA, who died in 2017; Anthony MacIntyre has a profile.

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Those Who Endure The Most

Kieran Doherty’s memorial stone (below) is recreated at the back of the mural of his funeral cortège. “I gcuimhne ar Vol. Kieran Doherty T.D. Briogáid Bhéal Feirste [Ógliagh na hÉireann], of 54 Commedagh Drive. Rugadh 16ú Deireadh Fómhair 1955, elected T.D. for Cavan/Monaghan 11th June 1981, a fuair bás 2ú Lúnasa 1981, after 73 days on hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. ‘It is not those who can inflict the most, but those who endure the most, who will conquer in the end’.” (The Terence MacSwiney quote is not included on the painted stone.)

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The Modern Order Of Hibernians

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.

For Penal laws, see previously: An Raibh Tú Ag An gCarraig? in Glen Bawn | The Mass Rock in Ard Eoin | Penal Days/Laethanta Na Péindlíthe in Andersonstown

For the Belfast AOH, see previously: Stand United Or Hang Alone | The Mainspring.

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Genocide In Ireland

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.

On the left is Family Being Evicted From Their Home In Rural Ireland.

At the centre is Searching For Potatoes In A Stubble Field from the Illustrated London News. ILN images are a staple of Belfast muraling on the Great Hunger: they were previously used in 1995 (An tOcras Mór in the New Lodge), 1999 (Ireland’s Holocaust on the Whiterock Rd), 2002 (An Gorta Mór in Ardoyne). (Here is a list, with links, of all of the illustrations of Ireland in ILN from the period 1845-1852.)

On the right is food arriving from the USA in the famine of 1879-1880.

See also The Mass Graves Of Ireland.

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Lifford Remembers The Hunger Strikers

“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.

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The Death of Sean McCartney

“History of the death of Sean McCartney. This memorial was placed here on Saturday 8th May 2021 to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Vol Sean “Johnny” McCartney of no. 55 Norfolk Street, Falls Road, Belfast. Sean was a volunteer of “D” Company 1st battalion Belfast Brigade Oglaigh na hEireann, when he was killed in action, aged 23 years old. He died while on active service with the 3rd Northern Division, 3rd County Cavan Brigade flying column during the Irish Republican War of Independence. He was shot twice during an ambush and gun battle with the British Army RIC and Black and Tans on Sunday 8th May 1921 on Croghan Mountain at the Lappanbane stretch of the Lappanduff Mountain, Co. Cavan. His body was then mutilated by the Black and Tans. Sean’s body was kicked, stamped on, danced on and tied by the ankles and feet to a Crossley Tender military vehicle and dragged along mountain lanes in an attempt to instill fear in the local Co. Cavan community. The 32 county Irish republic based on the self determination of the Irish people which Sean and many others fought and died for has yet to be achieved. Sean will always be proudly remembered by his extended family circle in Ireland and Canada.” McCartney is buried in Milltown cemetery.

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Our Nation As A Whole

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

For the other pieces shown in the wide shot, below, see The Proclamation | All Our Dead | Easter Week 1916 (and then England, The Never Failing Source Of All Our Political Evils and The Old IRA).

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X07823 X07821 Ardilea “They may hold our bodies in the most inhumane condition – But while our minds remain free our victory is assured.” Óglach Bobby Sands, MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, died on the 5th of May 1981 after 66 days on Hunger Strike.