Saoirse Go Deo

Saturday will be the 51st anniversary of Michael Devine’s death, the last of the ten strikers to die in the 1981 strike. This mural was painted last year during lockdown for the 50th anniversary.

“Vol Mickey Devine, Derry Brigade, INLA. In memory of Michael Devine “Red Micky” H-Block martyr, died 20th August 1981 after 60 days without food. Remembered with pride by his family, friends and comrades. ‘They have served their British masters, the poor pathetic fools, they think that inhumanity and cruelty can break us, haven’t they learnt anything? It strengthens us, it drives us on for then more than ever we know that our cause is just’ – Micky Devine”

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Cuimhníonn Doire

For many years there were portraits of the hunger strikers (either the 10 deceased from 1981 or the 12 from the 70s and 80s) along the long wall in Bishop St Without – see 2009, 2004, and 1998 (before that time the wall was divided into a number of panels for a variety of republican imagery – see 1984 and 1982) but in the portraits – which were on boards – soon started coming off and over the next decade the wall began to fade and become covered in graffiti (as can be seen in Street View). For the 40th anniversary, the deceased hunger strikers were restored to the wall, as shown in today’s post: “40th anniversary of the 1980-1981 hunger strikes. Rededication of mural, by the Bogside and Brandywell Monument Committee.”

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Na Fianna Éireann Leanúnachas

“The Continuity Fianna”. The Irish National Boy Scouts or “junior IRA” were founded in 1909 by Bulmer Hobson and Countess Markievicz, who is at the centre of this photograph. The Fianna followed the Provisionals in 1969 and Republican Sinn Féin (and the Continuity IRA) in 1986 (Fianna History blog | Irish Examiner), while Provisional Fianna became Ógra Shinn Féin and then Sinn Féin Republican Youth (An Sionnach Fionn).

For the previous stencilling in this spot, see In The Cause Of Irish Freedom. For the plaque and old (single bugler) tarp (to Josh Campbell, Davy McAuley, Bernard Fox, and Joseph McComiskey), see Purity In Our Hearts.

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Our Murdered Brethren

Orange Order Victims day is an annual commemoration (on September 1st) of the 339 members who were killed during the Troubles. The stained glass window reproduced in a board on the Newbuildings memorial garden is in the Museum of Orange Heritage in Schomberg House, south Belfast.

Compared with the garden in 2020 (see Newbuildings Victoria), there is a new NI Centenary board, and on the outside (replacing the tarps giving thanks for the NHS and commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE day) there is a celebration of the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. On the electrical box, there is a stencil in support of Bloody Sunday’s “Soldier F”, who continues to face murder charges (for the killings of William McKinney and James Wray) and five attempted murder charges after the PPS’s decision to discontinue prosecution was quashed in March (Guardian); the PPS has appealed (News Letter).

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339 Orange Order members killed during the Troubles.

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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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