Derry’s Dead Children

This is a memorial garden in Westland Street, Derry, in remembrance of children who have died during the Troubles.

They are listed in the following order on the main stone: Bernadette McCool, Carol Ann McCool, Damien Harkin, Gary Gormley, Annette McGavigan, Manus Deery, James O’Hagan, Gerald Doherty, Daniel Hegarty, Tony Diamond, Gordon Gallagher, Kathleen Feeny, Michael Meenan, John McDaid, Paul Whitters, Stephen McConomy, Charles Love.

McGavigan was the first to die at the hands of British forces, in September 1971, though the cross on the right is to nine-year-old Damien Harkin, who was crushed in July 1971 by a British Army lorry accident in the Bogside (MFD). Gary Gormley was also crushed by an armoured car (MFD). McGavigan is depicted in one of the murals in the ‘Bogside Gallery‘ series: The Death Of Innocence.

Other deaths were earlier but did not involve British forces: the McCool sisters died in a premature explosion in Creggan in 1970 and James (Jim) O’Hagan was killed in August 1971 by a fellow IRA member.

Gerry Doherty, Kathleen Feeney, Tony Diamond, Gordon Gallagher, Michael Meenan, John McDaid, and Charles Love also died accidentally by their own or IRA actions (MFD profiles, which lists 20 children, adding David Devine, Joseph Connolly, and Kathryn Eakin). Charles Love was killed by flying masonry from an IRA bomb; he is remembered by a plaque in Fahan Street. There is also a plaque to Stephen McConomy in Fahan Street and long ago he was depicted in a mural in Glenfada Park.

The Manus Deery plaque under the tree to the right was previously on a wall behind the Bogside Inn, before the pub was torn down – see M01919.

On the left are words from WB Yeats’s The Stolen Child, also used in a Belfast mural to Julie Livingstone.

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Every Child Has The Right To Play

The mural by Ed Reynolds (Fb) is on aluminum sheets on the side of the community centre in Denmark Street, Belfast, where he also did a WWI board – see Dead Man’s Penny. It is similar to the mural by Reynolds that used to be on a nearby gable (PLAY) in the lower Shankill estate.

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The Kilcooley Arch

An arch of a different kind in the Kilcooley estate: a reflective steel arc overlooking a circular mosaic.

“This steel and ceramic sculpture was created by the residents, children and young people from the Kilcooley Community, working in collaboration with visual artists Duncan Ross and Helen Sharp. The sculpture was created as part of the North Down Borough Council Art of Regeneration Project. The sculpture was officially launched by the Chair of the Art of Regeneration Partnership Councillor Alan Leslie on the 28th April 2009. Funded by the Art Council of NI, NI Housing Executive, North Down Local Strategy Partnership through Peace II, Department for Social Development and North Down Borough Council. Tiles printed and suppled by Edinburgh Ceramics.”

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Education Is A Journey

Here are two murals aimed at children in Kilcooley, Bangor. On the one hand, the first one (images 1, 2, 3) includes a WWI soldier and the saying “For your tomorrow, we gave our today”; on the other, the second – Education is a journey, not a destination – is a NIHE project that replaces a UDA mural: see Simply The Best.

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Children In Crossfire

Michael Blakstad’s Children In Crossfire is a justly famous documentary portraying the lives of children in Creggan (Derry) and various areas of Belfast, such as Ballymurphy & Springmartin, Divis, and the area around Gawn St in east Belfast. The documentary is on youtube and an image from it (c. 28m 13s) is depicted in this mural (Connswater Chronicle) at the foot of the Dee Street overpass into what is now the “Titanic Quarter”.

The panel to the right shows the original Armitage Street; the area has been redeveloped and the street was built over with a cluster of houses named Armitage Close.

By Dee Craig with support from the Housing Executive, City Council, and Connswater Homes.

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Times Tables

Southcity Resource & Development Centre (Fb) provides (among many other services) a ‘homework club’ on Tuesday afternoons. They have put up the times tables in four locations around the Village that will encourage kids walking to and from school to practice their maths. The set shown here is in Roden Street; the others are in Lemberg Street, Nubia Street, and Tavanagh Street – below this UVF hooded gunman.

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All Children Have Rights

The Bogside Inn and bogside shops have been razed and “exciting plans” made for a new development (Derry Journal). All that remains at present is the electrical station near Durrow Park, and all that remains of the murals along Meenan Square is the final panel shown above: “All children have rights and these rights must be protected.”

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Key Workers

This is the Keyworkers mural in front of the Shaftesbury recreation centre (web), created in August 2020 (Fb), in the first few months of the Coronavirus pandemic. A child wearing a mask is watering the rainbow of drivers, NHS, nurses, doctors, social care, community workers, volunteers, and shop workers that arches over the shops and buildings on the Ormeau Road along the Lagan and in front of the City hospital and City Hall.

Also on the rec centre: In The Paint

Balfour Avenue, Belfast

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We’re All Mad Here

This mural of characters from Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – including the Mad Hatter, shown above – was painted back in August (or late July) with about twenty feet of purple-painted wall to the right but there has been no advance made on it since then. Also included are the White Rabbit (or possibly the March Hare), the Cheshire Cat – speaker of our title quote – and Alice herself.

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N Howard St

Highfield Festival

Plans for the Highfield estate were drawn up and approved in 1945, converting a green-field site in the foothills of Black Mountain between the Ballygomartin, West Circular and Springfield roads. The first houses were completed in 1948 (Belfast Forum.) The community hall sits at the centre of the estate. UDA bomb-maker Michael Wright died there in a premature explosion in 1980 (Sutton) and there used to be a UFF mural on the side. This was replaced in 2000 (C01505) and again in 2006(?) (M04512) with the current mural (entitled “Whiterock Festival” after the cross-community event sponsored by the City Council’s ‘Good Relations’ fund (one | two) showing Highfield kids having fun with music provided by a DJ, band, and the Whiterock Flute Band (Fb) drum.

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