AT LAST! Danny Devenny is doing a book. He will have to finish it now that this column has broken the story. It will be a photographic and literary journey through his very eventful life. In my opinion Danny Dee deserves a book or twenty books to celebrate his life in struggle and his art. He has enriched all our lives with his creatativity and brightened Belfast’s streetscape and educated and uplifted its citizens and visitors with his murals. He will tell how art has been a huge help to him through all his decades of activism. That’s where this painting, The Session, comes in. The Session features John Lennon, Danny’s friend Bobby Sands, Ché Guevara, Chilean activist song writer and poet Víctor Jara and Woody Guthrie, the great American song writer and activist. It is availible as a limited edition print and a not-for-profit funder for Danny’s book. Check out his Facebook page and private message Danny if you want to buy a copy. Danny has had a mind to do such a painting for a long time. He was in Long Kesh with Bobby and knows how much music meant to him. Bobby loved John Lennon. He would have loved being in a session with him. And the others. He admired them all. There is a photo of a session of poítín-drinking prisoners in Cage Eleven which Danny based his painting on. I will tell you the story of that photo and that session another time. Anyway, Danny delayed doing the painting because he couldnt do a side view of Bobby’s face which satisfied him. Then Richard McAuley found the photo of Bobby in French photographer Gerard Harlay’s portfolio of photos when we were doing work on the Léargas book on Máire Drumm. That, and the pandemic, allowed the space for Danny Dee to work his magic. I know the political value of that magic from my time in the Kesh with him in the mid-70s. Danny Dee did the artwork for a number of publications produced in Cage Eleven and smuggled outside. These included Peace In Ireland and Our British Problem – unpublished – by this columnist and In Care Of Her Majesty’s Prisons by Hugh Feeney and Prison Struggle. He also did illustrations for the Brownie articles which were smuggled out to the Sinn Féin paper Republican News. His pen name was Flossie. Danny and Bobby were in the Gaeltacht hut in Cage Eleven. Bobby used to drive his comrades mad as he practised his guitar skills and learned his songs. Tomboy Loudon was just as bad. He was learning the mandolin. Bobby was taught guitar by blues legend Rab McCullough. They started in the Crum (Crumlin Road Prison) where there were two guitars. Bobby heard Rab playing and asked him for a few tips. Rab was already an accomplished guitarist. He had been in a number of bands, including Sunshine and The Big Soul Band.
FIRST Minister Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill and Health Minister Robin Swann will address the media today from 4.15pm on the day that the British Government approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for widespread use.
FOUR grassroots organisations have been shortlisted for the 2020 Gaeilge Aisling Awards – Gradaim na hAislinge – for promoting the Irish language and keeping spirits high during the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s awards, dedicated to the 'Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic', will be presented at a groundbreaking virtual gala on December 10. The shortlist for the Coinnigh an Misneach/Keep Hope Alive Award for the Irish language, sponsored by Foras na Gaeilge, has been whittled down to the following four:
In St John the Baptist PS, we believe passionately in developing our children academically, socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually. We provide an environment in which our children’s talents are nurtured, developed and celebrated throughout the entire school community. The ‘Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic’ Aisling Award nomination secured this year by the school reflects the professionalism and desire of all in our staff to consistently go the extra mile to meet the needs of our children and their families, something of which we are very proud.
Daniel O'Neill: Romanticism & Friendships is a newly-published book by Karen Reihill on West Belfast artist Daniel O'Neill who, with fellow-Belfast boy Gerard Dillon, is among the shining lights of 20th Century Ulster artists. The book is available from the publisher direct or from An Chultúrlann bookshop. This excerpt is from the opening chapter of the new publication.