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a bomb at a hotel in Dunmurry in April 1976, one month after Special Category Status for republican prisoners had been revoked.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

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X07823 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.

The Glorious Dead

Four of the 700 NHS staff in the UK to die of Covid during the pandemic have come Northern Ireland, the most recent being dementia specialist Alan Henry in Antrim hospital (Express | BelTel | iTV). In the south, Defence Forces have been deployed to three nursing homes while 6,400 health workers are off sick (Irish Times). The mural above shows a masked nurse and doctor among a field of poppies. For the black-and-white boards above, see Connswater Commemorates.

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X07831 ACT Initiative East Belfast Connswater Community & Leisure

The Old IRA

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.

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It’s OK To Talk

October 10th is WHO World Mental Health Day. To mark the occasion and respond to the continued high rates of suicide in west Belfast (Assembly Research), emic (web | tw | ig) and local youth painted an “OK” gesture on the side of the Alternatives (web) offices in Agnes Street, which also includes the numbers for Lifeline and Samaritans. In-progress images of the mural being painted by can be seen at AlternativesRJ. In the US, the “OK” hand gesture has recently become associated with the ‘white power’ movement (WP).

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The Past Comes Back

The “Ulster’s Finest” mural in Monkstown was remarkable for its depiction of two female volunteers, carrying Uzis, the only depiction of female loyalist volunteers (see Rolston ‘Women on the walls’ in Crime Media Culture 14.3, 2018, p. 373). It was plastered over in 1996 because the gable is next to Hollybank primary. Some of the pebbledash wore away in January/February to reveal the mural – still in good condition – beneath (Vintage_UVF).

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Dense

Confusion over what to do with vacant lots along the south side of Carrick Hill continues. The corner site at the junction with Donegall Street was part of the ‘Northside’ plans back in 2008 and both it and the Library Street site were earmarked for high-rise student accommodations in 2015. None of those plans came to fruition and social housing was approved in 2018 (SF). But now the dispute is over whether to build two-storey family homes or high-rise apartments (which is apparently the preference of the current minister for Infrastructure, the SDLP’s Nichola Mallon (Irish News)). The board was erected by the Carrick Hill Residents Association at the Library Street site.

Update Jan 2021

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Bang Up To Date

The previous UVF mural in Carrington Street (Volunteering | On Your Side) was paint-bombed in October (Keep It Local) but has been quickly replaced by this computer-generated board showing the Harland & Wolff cranes, a Long Kesh watch-tower, and a hooded gunman from the UVF’s East Belfast Battalion.

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Rathfern Remembers

For the centenary of the end of WWI (in November 2018) a small board was added to the UFF’s South East Antrim Brigade mural in Rathfern.

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X07738 Knockenagh Ave

We Are The People

“The Glorious Revolution for civil and religious liberty.” King James II of England – a Catholic convert – had a son in 1688 that replaced his (Protestant) daughter Mary as first in line for the English throne. In order to prevent a Catholic succession, William of Orange, Protestant ruler of Holland and Mary’s cousin and husband set sail in October with 40,000 men in 463 ships (WP). He is shown in this new board in Main Street, Markethill leading his troops across the Boyne in Ireland. His success in deposing James would become known as the “Glorious Revolution.”

There are three Biblical references inside the band:
Psalm 60 v.4 “Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth”;
Isaiah 13 v.2 “Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles”;
Psalm 95 v.7 “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” 
and a possible signature “RGm”

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The Falls Road Massacre

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.

More than 500 people were killed in Belfast from 1920 to 1922; for details and their locations see The Social Geography Of Violence During The Belfast Troubles.

“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

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