“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.
“If our shores are threatened/We will take up arms/To defend our loyal cause/Our culture and our heritage/Our freedoms and our laws.” Moygashel’s own (William) Wesley Somerville, a member of both the UVF and UDR, was killed by a bomb prematurely exploding as he placed it on the minibus of the Miami Showband in July of 1975. Three members of the band died, one of them Protestant, along with volunteers Somerville and Harris Boyle from Portadown (WP). “He died for Ulster” (on the plaque).
A long series of tit-for-tat shootings of pubs and clubs in 1976 continued into the summer of 1976, with attacks on the Chlorane (June 5th), Walkers (June 25th), the Ramble (July 2nd), the Whitefort (July 29th), and then, on the 30th, The Stag at Shaws Bridge, Belfast, by the Republican Action Force (PIRA) (Sutton). John McCleave, John McKay, and James “Jimmy” Doherty died on the night of the attack, and Thompson McCreight died of his wounds nine days later. The memorial to them – “erected by the local communities” – is on Milltown Road, next to the Dreamscheme (web) mural.
“Clark Groves was born on the 14th May 1889. A naval officer, in WW1, he fought at the Battle of Jutland. After the war he worked as a fitter in Harland & Wolff before using his de-mob money to establish a bookmaking business here in 14 Manderson Street (since demolished), at the back of the Old Clock Bar. The bookie’s ‘Pitch’ was very like the ones seen in the TV series ‘Peaky Blinders!’ At this time, running a betting business was illegal. Clark, and a number of other bookmakers, founded the Turf Guardians Association and led a successful campaign to have their businesses legalised. Years later, a local bookie told Clark’s grandson that he and his colleagues owed their livelihoods to ‘Old Godfathers’ like Clark. Clark was a generous, popular man. He helped out many local people over the years, lending money for funerals, weddings and education costs. It’s said that he ‘married and buried them on the Newtownards Road!’ He died on 28th May 1957, just two weeks after his 68th birthday. His funeral was the biggest seen before or since in the area. The trolley buses to Dundonald Cemetery were full of people and those who couldn’t get on walked the length of Newtownards Road to be there. A measure of the man for sure. Clark Groves was the annual summer football tournament that was played at ‘The Hen Run,’ the home of Dundela FC. It was known as the Clark Groves Cup. – Stephen Beggs”
The Cupar Way “peace” line, home to graffiti-art/wild-style writing and patronising slogans from around the world, is also home to a single Troubles-related memorial plaque, to Plum Smith (one | two) of the UVF/RHC and subsequently the PUP, which thus far has resisted the artists’ can and the tourists’ Sharpie. It is not known whether the “Plum” graffiti (and previously “RIP Plum Smith”) is by locals or by a visiting writer.
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
“The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality” – Che Guevara Lynch. The INLA’s Kevin Lynch died in the second hunger strike after 71 days. He is buried in Dungiven, where this memorial sits on the main road between Derry and Maghera.
“I ndíl chuimhne ar Óglach Kevin Lynch a fuair bás ar stailc ocrais ar son saoirse, 1ú Lúnasa 1981 [who died on a hunger strike for freedom, 1st August 1981]. Erected by the Irish Republican Socialist Ex-Prisoners Memorial Committee.”
“This plaque is dedicated to those men and women of the Orange Institution who volunteered to fight in the Great War for king and empire and who made the ultimate sacrifice on foreign fields.” A WWI commemorative plaque has been added to the Orange hall in Carrickfergus (seen previously in M05249).
The fact that there are three memorials to the Balmoral Furniture bombing speaks to the shock felt at devastating bomb on a busy Shankill Road. The oldest is the small circular plaque: “Balmoral Furniture Showrooms bombed 12.25pm Saturday 11th December 1971. 2 adults & 2 babies killed”; then the Poppy Cross “in memory of the two men and two babies murdered at this spot by a no warning sectarian IRA bomb attack on the Balmoral Furniture shop on 11th December 1971.” and finally the traditional plaque, which names the victims: Colin Nicholl, Tracey Jane Munn, Harold King, Hugh Bruce.
“Active service” on paramilitary plaques means death by a premature bomb explosion rather than at the hands of enemy forces. All three of the IRA volunteers named here died in this way: Paul Fox in King Street in 1975, Sean Bailey in nearby Nansen Street in 1976, and Paul Marlowe on the Ormeau Road later that same year (Sutton). The central plaque (shown below) has been in place since at least 2006 but was augmented last year with portraits. The fourth is Tony Campbell, also from the 2nd battalion, dead by natural causes in 1985.
“I ndíl chuimhne ar Óglach Paul Fox A-Coy 2 Batt Belfast Brigade, died on active service 1-12-1975, Óglach Sean Bailey A-Coy 2 Batt Belfast Brigade, died at this location on active service 13-2-1976, Óglach Paul Marlowe A-Coy 2 Batt Belfast Brigade, died on active service 16-10-1976, Óglach Tony Campbell died of natural causes 4-8-1985. I measc laochra na hÉireann atá siad. In every generation we have renewed the struggle and so it will be to the end. When England thinks she has trampled out our blood in battle, some brave men and women rise and rally us again.”