Hunger Striker’s Memorial

Maple and Freeman Streets, Hartford

June 17, 2009

hunger.jpgHm. Um. Hm. You know how this is ultimately under the “curiosities” heading? I sure think this one fits, as it sure is curious. There, standing tall on a busy street in Hartford’s south end is a monument to terrorists. Oops, is that word going to get me into trouble? Did I say “trouble?” Poor word choice? What with the Troubles and all.

Let me be clear: I don’t support the English in Northern Ireland and I don’t support the IRA. I support rational discourse and yes, it IS possible. (See: Scotland in 2019 and Wales in 2032.) I would support Sinn Féin if they were completely without English blood on their hands. Unfortunately, Sinn Féin has aided and abetted violence and I’m sorry, bombing innocents in malls is not my cup of Earl Grey.

(Some of you may have no idea what I’m talking about and please, don’t think for one second that I am any sort of authority on the matter of Northern Ireland. Eh, you’ve probably stopped reading by now.)

Some people would say that this memorial is paying homage to terrorists and others would say “martyrs” or heroes. I say above all else, it’s really weird that it’s in Hartford. It is the only such memorial in the entire country. Here’s what the memorial’s supporters say:

Ahhh… Just wanted to take my mind off this mess for a moment. Sorry.

“In 1981, ten Irish Republicans jailed in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh staged a hunger strike to win status as political prisoners. Margaret Thatcher’s government refused. Beginning with Bobby Sands, all ten died as a result of Britsh intransigence.

The Hunger Strikers Memorial on Maple Avenue in Hartford, Connecticut is the only monument of its kind in the United States. Established by the Hartford Unit of the Irish Northern Aid Committee and local Irish-Americans, the monument features a bed of green, white, and orange flowers that form the Irish flag. The Celtic Cross is surrounded by a half-circle of 32 small bushes representing the 32 counties of Ireland.

The cross has Bobby Sands’ name on the front. On the sides and back are the names of the other republican martyrs: Patsy O’Hara, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Kieran Doherty, Kevin Lynch, Thomas McIlwee, Mickey Devine, Joe McDonnell and Martin Hurson. The memorial also includes Frank Stagg and Michael Gaughan who died on hunger strike in England.

It’s said that ex-prisoners in Northern Ireland carry pictures of this monument in their wallets.”

And then others feel this way about it:

Yeah, I’m not touching this one. In that video’s long-winded ranting description, the author notes, “Aren’t these all IRA Terrorists involved in bombings and killings? Why is there an official memorial, with a street or square, named after a terrorist in Connecticut?”

There are a billion nuances to this argument and I won’t pretend to understand. Yes, our founders were “terrorists” against England in 1777. Yes, England oppression in N. Ireland is unfair.


But no matter your opinion on the IRA, you must admit it’s strange we have a monument to 10 of them in Hartford plopped in “Bobby Sands circle.” No wonder Gerry Adams loves coming to Connecticut.


Irish Northern Aid Committee in Hartford

All links below are Wikis which I’m sure are changed daily.

The Troubles
1981 Hunger Strike
Bobby Sands

10 responses to “Hunger Striker’s Memorial”

  1. Ed says:

    I was actually at the dedication ceremony of this heroes monument back in the ninties. I then proceeded to get sh*tfaced at the Maple afterwards.

  2. Steve says:

    Seems like a rather crass way to celebrate “heroes.” Then again, you’re Irish.

  3. Rob says:

    The IRA are a bunch of white trash terrorists who are in bed with every terrorist group around. This is a stupid memorial. One of the things I always hated about the Irish Festival was the idiots wearing IRA Freedom Fighters t-shirts, most of whom have never stepped foot in Ireland

  4. dec says:

    u dont know a things that went on in ireland with the troubles over the years with fathers, brothers killed and mothers and daughters raped and beaten, think about your mother, father, sister, brother then u will have a diffrent look at this. Bobby Sands and the other 9 wanted a united Ireland whats wrong with having a united country one goverment, one law and not the queens head on the money

  5. Sean O' Barr says:

    You are an uneducated asanine fool. Pardon my abruptness but you do not know the first thing about the Irish Republican Army. Otherwise, you would balance your opinion with the unionist/loyalist gun men, who even in peace and ceasefires, continue to ,without warning, bomb women and children. As far as your comment on IRA supporters in the the States; if you had taken the time to read anything about the Struggle you would know that the majority of the support and financial backing for the Easter Rising and the resulting Irish Republic came from Fenian supporters in the United States. It would suit you well to hold your tongue in matters that do not concern you.

  6. Mark Ó Taidhg says:

    you wouldn’t understand unless you grew up in N.Ireland at the time, even i was born to late to witness all the harassment and oppression from the police and British army. both sides had there reasons to fight whether loyalist or republican but the main reason the troubles had started was because loyalists were burning Catholics out of their homes i think that gives justification to fight back. many of the bombings Omagh for instance (because i was there) was not the same I.R.A as any of the hunger strikers, it was a splinter group the R.I.R.A. Innocent Casualties of war are expected just look at Iraq and Afghanistan today or Hiroshima in 1945 if dropping a nuclear bomb on a city full of civilians is not terrorism then i don’t know what is.

  7. Thomas says:

    To every one of you responding to this wed site. Please take the time to know and understand your history about(and in)the North of Ireland. You will inevitably come to an indisbutable and very terrible conclusion. Find the truth. Defending ones’ country against terrorist invaders, murderers, subjugative exploiters, and abject bigots, will not and can never be wrong. BRITS OUT NOW! TIOCFAIDH ‘AR LA’!!!!

    P.S. They don’t belong in Ireland and they never have.

  8. EdHill says:

    ” I always hated about the Irish Festival was the idiots wearing IRA Freedom Fighters t-shirts, most of whom have never stepped foot in Ireland”

    Rob is totally tight about that part. Those morons were everywhere.

  9. Tom says:

    I was actually a member of the group that erected this memorial – the local chapter of the Irish Northern Aid Committee. It’s in Hartford for a variety of reasons, but the big ones are that we were a large, well-organized chapter in an area with a large Irish-American community. It didn’t hurt that a Hartford city councilman was on our executive board, either.

    One of the ways we raised money for the memorial was selling those T-shirts at the Irish festival in Glastonbury. I used to love it when people would come up and argue with us. Political arguments are far more authentically Irish than corned beef and green beer. I went to the festival this year and it was kind of dull without the politics, to be honest.

    As for whether Bobby Sands was a “terrorist,” can I presume you think differently about Nelson Mandela?

  10. Brenden says:

    I will visit this memorial because memorials intrigue me. I read a book called Behind the Mask which discussed The Troubles. I don’t think any of us can take sides in this but I do believe that both sides went too far with the car bombs, the shootings, and the kidnappings. And I still don’t know why England itself gets all the blame. They let Northern Ireland govern themselves. The people of Northern Ireland were loyal to the crown.

Leave a Comment

The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism