Padraic Mac Coitirvisited the grave of IRA Volunteer Raymond McCreesh on the 40th anniversary of his death.


This morning me and two friends drove to Cam Loch to lay a wreath at the grave of IRA volunteer Raymond McCreesh. On the way down we spoke about Raymond and his 9 comrades who died in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh and the impact they had on us and many other people, not only here in Ireland but throughout the world.

I met Raymond when we were on remand in Crumlin Road Gaol in 1976 and, as was the norm then, we bouled around the yard with lads we knew from our own area - in my case lads from Lenadoon. Of course we got to know other lads and there was always banter between us 'townies' and those 'culchies'. 

Raymond was big into the GAA and an avid Armagh supporter and I'd yarn with him about results and teams. Although both of us were quiet - yes, once upon a time I was quiet and shy! - we would have a laugh about our clubs and counties.

I got to know Raymond better when we were on the blanket and no-wash protest in H-5. He was a couple of cells up from me and because it was close we didn't have to shout. Although times were very harsh with the screws brutalising us there were many occasions when we'd all have a bit of craic with sing-songs, quizzes and slagging. A lot of us came out of our shell and that meant most of us getting up to sing out the doors. I thought I could sing so my party pieces were Baidín Fhelimidh and Moonshadow. I can't remember the song Raymond sang but he was no Luke Kelly and whenever he got up the lads would give him dog's abuse.
 
As we spoke with others out the window he would talk about running about Cam Loch. And although I can't remember too much about the yarns it was a place I always wanted to go. I've been through it many times. And as the three of us stood at the grave we met a local woman and we got talking. She showed us the McCreesh house which is literally beside the graveyard. I can just imagine what it was like as the family went to the front door and looked over at Raymond's grave and remembered a brave fella who died this day 1981. On the way out of the village we stopped at a very impressive memorial garden dedicated to Raymond and the other nine lads.


It should also be remembered that fellow hunger striker, INLA volunteer Patsy O' Hara, died on the same day.

Fuair siad bás ar son Saoirse na h-Éireann.


Padraic Mac Coitir is a former republican
prisoner and current political activist.

A Wreath For Raymond McCreesh

Padraic Mac Coitirvisited the grave of IRA Volunteer Raymond McCreesh on the 40th anniversary of his death.


This morning me and two friends drove to Cam Loch to lay a wreath at the grave of IRA volunteer Raymond McCreesh. On the way down we spoke about Raymond and his 9 comrades who died in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh and the impact they had on us and many other people, not only here in Ireland but throughout the world.

I met Raymond when we were on remand in Crumlin Road Gaol in 1976 and, as was the norm then, we bouled around the yard with lads we knew from our own area - in my case lads from Lenadoon. Of course we got to know other lads and there was always banter between us 'townies' and those 'culchies'. 

Raymond was big into the GAA and an avid Armagh supporter and I'd yarn with him about results and teams. Although both of us were quiet - yes, once upon a time I was quiet and shy! - we would have a laugh about our clubs and counties.

I got to know Raymond better when we were on the blanket and no-wash protest in H-5. He was a couple of cells up from me and because it was close we didn't have to shout. Although times were very harsh with the screws brutalising us there were many occasions when we'd all have a bit of craic with sing-songs, quizzes and slagging. A lot of us came out of our shell and that meant most of us getting up to sing out the doors. I thought I could sing so my party pieces were Baidín Fhelimidh and Moonshadow. I can't remember the song Raymond sang but he was no Luke Kelly and whenever he got up the lads would give him dog's abuse.
 
As we spoke with others out the window he would talk about running about Cam Loch. And although I can't remember too much about the yarns it was a place I always wanted to go. I've been through it many times. And as the three of us stood at the grave we met a local woman and we got talking. She showed us the McCreesh house which is literally beside the graveyard. I can just imagine what it was like as the family went to the front door and looked over at Raymond's grave and remembered a brave fella who died this day 1981. On the way out of the village we stopped at a very impressive memorial garden dedicated to Raymond and the other nine lads.


It should also be remembered that fellow hunger striker, INLA volunteer Patsy O' Hara, died on the same day.

Fuair siad bás ar son Saoirse na h-Éireann.


Padraic Mac Coitir is a former republican
prisoner and current political activist.

2 comments:

  1. The deaths of Raymond McCreesh and his comrades on hunger strike were tragic and unnecessary. But I cannot ignore the fact that his finger-prints were found on a rifle used in the Kingsmill massacre. Not definitive, cast-iron proof of guilt I grant but I feel I need to say that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are free to point that out. Weapons are not the personal property of IRA volunteers and most would be handled by many people.
      Raymond's family have made the point that the evidence was available when he was alive and he was never accused of it.
      They have rejected the allegation while welcoming the survival of Alan Black.

      Delete