You are reading

Photographs of Irish Nationalists Who Died Protesting British Rule Plastered on Subway Stations in Western Queens

Images of Irish nationals who died while protesting British rule were put up at subway stations in Sunnyside and Astoria recently (Photos via When New York Was Irish Instagram page)

July 13, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

A series of photographs honoring Irish nationalists who died 40 years ago while on a hunger strike in Northern Ireland have gone up at two subway stations in western Queens.

The images were put up at stops in Astoria and Sunnyside to pay tribute to 10 men who died while imprisoned at a jail near Belfast in 1981.

The men were on a hunger strike protesting conditions for political prisoners at the Maze prison and were part of the Irish nationalist movement that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland.

The images consist of portrait photographs of each hunger striker who died while protesting at the prison. Their names are printed in text underneath each photograph.

Images of the makeshift murals have been posted to the Instagram account called When New York Was Irish. The owner of the account said that members of the Astoria-based Irish sports club O’Donovan Rossa are responsible for the commemorations, according to Irish Central.

“Queens, New York has a long-established Irish community and strong links to Ireland’s revolutionary history throughout its various junctures,” a post on the Instagram account notes.

The first set of images went up near the 30th Avenue Subway station in Astoria on May 5 to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands who was the leader of the hunger strike. Sands was the first member of the group to die and had gone 66 days without food.

The images were plastered to a shuttered storefront adjacent to the 30th Avenue Subway station’s southwest entrance. The 10 photographs were put up in an “H” shape to symbolize the notorious layout of the jail where the prisoners were being incarcerated. The jail consisted of a series of H-Block buildings.

Margaret Keogh, a former Irish revolutionary, once lived close to the station at 44th Street and 34th Avenue, an attributing post from the WNYWI Instagram account stated.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by When New York was Irish (@wnywi)

The murals are going up on the anniversary of the death of each hunger striker at various Irish enclaves across the New York region. Murals associated with the group have also appeared in Woodlawn in the Bronx as well as in East Durham in Greene County.

A mural went up at the 46th Street Bliss station in Sunnyside on July 8 to commemorate the death of hunger-striker Joe McDonnell. He was the fifth man to die during the protest.

The mural consists of five photographs on each side of the entrance. An image of the mural was also posted to the WNYWI Instagram account with a description of some of the Irish connections to Sunnyside.

“A strong Irish population has been ever-present in this community and it was also home to the renowned Celtic Park,” the post reads.

“The park, located between 48th and 50th Avenues and 43rd and 44th Streets, was an Irish cultural and sporting hub and the original home of Gaelic sports in New York.”

The post also notes that Sunnyside was an important place to raise money for the cause of Irish freedom in the 1960s while former U.S. President John F. Kennedy held a political rally at Sunnyside Gardens in 1960.

In his speech, Kennedy said that “the Irish are very big out here.

Kennedy’s four grandparents were children of Irish immigrants.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by When New York was Irish (@wnywi)

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Raga sworn in as first-ever Filipino American elected to the state Legislature

More than 300 community members attended the historic inauguration of Assemblyman Steven Raga as the first Filipino American elected to office in New York state.

Many who attended the swearing-in event at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park wore traditional and cultural attire to the event at the building that once housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations from 1946 to 1950 until its current home in Manhattan became available for the world body.