“I dtreo poblacht nua – towards a new republic – conference. Millennium Forum Derry. Speakers include Pearse Doherty TD, George Quigley, Michael McLoone, Martin McGuinness, MLA amongst others. Ag aontú Éireann – uniting Ireland.” The conference was organised by Sinn Féin. Basil McCrea of the UUP also spoke (Jude Collins).
“Welcome to west Belfast”. West Belfast is portrayed as a place of music, sport, and dancing, whose landmark buildings and streets are under the watchful eye (and sword) of the goddess Ériu.
The image of the little boy with the “I [heart] Belfast” stickers and a bag of sweets, standing in the waste ground of Divis flats, is a photograph from the early days of Féile An Phobail/West Belfast Festival.
On the Divis Street side, characters in the style of cartoonist Cormac (see e.g. Notes) are “Promoting west Belfast tourism” for “Fáilte Feirste Thiar”, “www.visitwestbelfast.com“. The attractions touted are: “Bop at the August “fleadh”. “Craic agus ceol” (for Robert Ballagh’s dove coming out of the concrete block, see Féile An Phobail 2008), “The only thing you have here is “choice”. Tar isteach agus (lig do scíth)”. “Bain sult as. Tá mé ag éisteacht le Raidió Fáilte 107.1 FM”, “For more ideas on things to do, visit Oifig Fáilte at An Chultúrlann. There’s really nice food there too! at Caife Feirste”, “If it’s history you want go on a cemetery tour “City or Milltown””, “Enjoy a walk on ‘Sliabh Dubh’ (The black … … mountain)”, “Make sure you visit the “Irish republican history museum” at Conway Mill” (with ‘Long Kesh University Of Freedom’ sweater; “Sinn Féin touts” is not a sweater but graffiti.)
Sinn Féin hoardings in Andersonstown, first at the former Andersonstown RUC barracks supporting Martin McGuinness as Sinn Féin candidate for “The people’s president” and then two at Connolly House, again supporting McGuinness and announcing the (now passed) Sinn Féin Ard Fheis: i dtreo poblacht nua – towards a new republic.
Mention of BRAG dates back to a 2009 threat made against traffic wardens and TV license inspectors (RN | BBC). The graffiti read “Bogside Republican Action Group”, “Beir bua”, “End sectarian marches now!” (with a petrol bomb “PB”). The last is perhaps a reference to the on-going contention over marches past the Ardoyne shops in Belfast (Guardian).
“Tógadh an leach cuimhneacháin seo ag muintir an cheantar i gcuimhne an Óglaigh [Óglach] Réamonn Mac Raois a fuair bás ar an 21 Bealtaine 1981 i ndiaidh lá agus seasca ar stailc ocrais sna H-Blocanna. Rugadh Réamonn ar an 15 Feabhra 1957 ag Páirc Naomh Maolmhaodhóg. … Seasann an deich gcrann atá curtha taobh thiar den leacht chuimhneacháin do na firéin [fíréin].”
“This monument was erected by the people of the area in memory of IRA Volunteer Raymond McCreesh who died on May 21st 1981 after 61 days on hunger strike in the British H-Block prison at Long Kesh. Raymond McCreesh was born on February 25th 1957 at St Malachy’s Park, Camloch. … The ten trees planted behind the monument represent the ten men who died in the H-Blocks in 1981.”
There is a mural to McCreesh on the gable of Teach Réamoinn Mhic Raois – see Keep On Marching.
“In loving memory of Vol. Tom Williams “C. Coy” 2nd Battalion Belfast Brigade IRA who lived here [46 Bombay Street, where Williams lived with his grandmother Fay] and was executed in Belfast Gaol [Crumlin Road] 2nd Sept 1942, aged 19 years. Ar dheis Dé go ra[i]bh a anam. Erected by National Graves Association, Belfast 1992.”
Williams, the unit’s leader, took sole responsibility for the killing of RUC Constable Patrick Murphy, hoping that it would save the lives of the other seven (including two women) who had taken part in the ambush. The six men were jointly convicted of the killing but only Williams was ultimately hanged, after appeals from Ireland (not yet officially ‘The Republic Of’), the Vatican, and the US State Department (RN).
There are a couple of interesting elements in this 30th anniversary hunger strikers mural in the Bogside. The frame is formed by chains (as seen previously on the Bobby Sands mural in Belfast) rather than knot-work, the names of Frank Stagg and Michael Gaughan are mixed into the list (rather than appearing together at the beginning or end), both the lark and the dove are included, and – most unusual and possibly unique – is the Irish translation of Bobby Sands’s saying “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children”: Bainfear ár ndíoltas amach leis an gháire dár bpáistí. (And, as a super-extra bonus, the Irish has been – correctly – painted without tittles.)
“Derry remembers 1980-1981 hunger strikes. Rededication of mural 20th August 2011 on the 30th anniversary of Óglach Mickey Devine.”