Irish Chronicles
About the Author
England's Vietnam
Table of Contents
Book Launch

The Spanish Armada and the Irish Connection

From Pagan Rites to Civil Rights

with a foreword by Ivan Cooper


Events, People and Places

Website by
Kevin M. Kelly

Publisher: Hugh W.L. Weir, Ballinakella Press, Whitegate, Co. Clare, Ireland [1998]

Illustrated: 126 pages

Internet details on the International O'Doherty Clan Association via or

The author for some years after 1988 was editor of Ar nDuthcas [Our Heritage], the O'Doherty Clan newspaper which reached a world-wide circulation of 7,500 copies.


Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh, Author of the Irish Chronicles
As an activist within the Derry Unemployed Action Committee and the Derry Housing Action Committee and the cofounder of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, Fionbarra O'Doctartaigh was, and is, an integral part of the struggle.
Fionnbarra designed the original 1968 poster, which was printed locally by The Derry Journal newspaper. He incorporated red and blue on a white background in a bid to appeal to wider unemployed and homeless sections of the Unionist/Protestant community, several of whom were already supportive of the basic NICRA demands. Unwittingly, in his haste to see it roll off the printing-presses the word "meeting" was spelt incorrectly, which few people even noticed or commented upon.

Recommended viewing: BBC 2008 documentary ‘The Day the Troubles began’
(in six sections) via
 1968 ‘Oak-Leaf’ civil rights badge 
Derry was originally known in Gaelic as 'Doire', which means 'oak grove'. So it seemed fitting that an oak leaf was chosen by its designer, Mrs. Sheila McClean [née McGuinness], an art-teacher in 1968. Her husband, the late Dr. Raymond McClean, also served on the DCAC. He became the first democratically elected nationalist Mayor of Derry since early '20s. Such was only possible as a result of the implementation of major electoral reforms. e.g. one person, one vote, demanded, but denied for almost half a century.
Mass protest on Craigavon Bridge, 16 November 1968,

Pictured on the front line, several linking arms, are leaders of the Derry Citizens' Action Committee who formed the vanguard of an estimated 25,000 marchers on November 16th 1968. This march was a major mobilization to assert the right of the local population to demonstrate peacefully through their own city streets. The last time, a much smaller number of civil rights activists attempted to do so, was on Oct. 5th of that year. That march was viciously attacked by the RUC [police] using batons and water-cannon. That historic date is now referred to as "The start of the Troubles". Fionnbarra, a co-founder of NICRA, was one of its key organizers.As expected, he was arrested in a dawn swoop next morning with "the two Eamonns" - McCann & Melaugh. The trio were charged with defying the orders of the Minister for Home Affairs who declared the march 'illegal'. They appeared before a hastily convened special court held at Victoria Barracks, the local HQ of the pro-Stormont police force, and found guilty.

Photo includes [L-R] Willie Breslin, Dermie McClenaghan, John White, Kevin Agnew, Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh, Brendan Duddy, Janet Wilcox, Michael Canavan, Billy Kellsaw, Ivan Cooper, John Hume, John Patton, Claude Wilton and Brendan Hinds.
Fionnbarra is pictured making a presentation of his first book, "Ulster's White Negroes" to Rev. Jesse Jackson during his visit to Derry's Guildhall on March 20th 2011. Other historic items he received included a reproduction poster of Derry's first civil rights march on Oct. 5th '68, a 40th anniversary commemorative DVD and original 'Oak-leaf' badges of the Derry Citizens' Action Committee [DCAC]. O'Dochartaigh held joint positions, Hon. Secretary & Education Officer alongside other DCAC leaders such as Nobel Peace Prize winner, John Hume, former Foyle MP and MEP [Member of the European Parliament].
Honorary Awards
  • Clann Medallion (above, left): 'Author & Editor Prize', with O'Dochartaigh Coat-of-Arms and motto, 'Ar nDuthchas', which means 'For My Inheritance', on a tri-colour ribbon. It was presented by the 'Herald', Prof. Pat 'Inch' Dougherty, an Irish-American native of Flint, Michigan during a traditional musical celebratory boat trip on the River Foyle, from Derry to Greencastle, Co. Donegal during the Millennium Year 2000 AD. The citation reads: "Awarded at a five-yearly Clann Reunion held in the Inishowen, County Donegal and in the City of Derry, Ireland. Probably not since 1601 when Cahir Rua was nominated Chieftain has this clann made such awards."

  • Royal Academy Medallion (above, right), with 'the tree of knowledge' as its centre-piece, with a lion symbolically defending the castle of Cadiz, was awarded after nomination and acceptance as a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Academy of San Romualdo of Letters, Arts and Sciences in 1990. It was presented at the Craft Village, near Derry's O'Doherty Tower by the late Dr. Ramón Salvador O'Dogherty (1919-.2011), the 37th hereditary Lord or Taoiseach of Innish Eoghain. Dr. O'Dogherty, a resident of San Fernando, was assisted at the presentation by his brother, Rear-Admiral Pascual, of the Royal Spanish Navy, whose family home is in Madrid. The award was made on the basis of establishing cultural links and regular networking internationally, especially between Australia, Ireland, Spain, West Indies the United States of America. Part of that work included extensive research, soon to be published, and delivery of lectures on "The Spanish Armada and the Irish Connection", as well as being editor of the newspaper Ar nDuthchas and expanding its global circulation to 7,500 copies.

The author pictured during a special visit of civil rights veterans to Áras An Uachtaráin, in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, presents to President Mary McAleese & Dr. Martin McAleese, a copy of The People’s Gallery and the famous Peace Mural, on behalf of the Bogside Artists. A buffet reception was held to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement, on 10th March 2009. A second presentation of a reproduction of the original 1968 October 5th March poster was made to the couple by Nobel Peace Prize Award recipient, Mr. John Hume, on behalf of the large delegation, from throughout Ireland. Symbolically, part of the entertainment was provided by a youthful Afro-American choir which sang several ballads from the civil rights era and older Negro spirituals rooted in the struggles for genuine equality and real freedom.

L – R: Mrs. Sheila McClean, former art-teacher, designer of the 1968 ‘Oak-Leaf’ civil rights badge; Nobel Laureate John Hume, former MP, MEP; Mr. Denis Haughey, former NICRA chairperson and co-founder Mr. Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh, at a Civil Rights 40th Anniversary Commemoration event at the Bogside Artists’ studio.


Frances Lynch, who along with her mother Kitty were the last people to leave Springtown Camp in 1967 pictured at the launch of Willie Deery’s book ‘Springtown Camp – from the inside’. Also in photo: Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Willie Deery, John Hume, Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh, Ivan Cooper, Hugo McConnell and the BBC radio and television presenter, Gerry Anderson
Courtesy: Derry Journal, 1/6/2010


Page modified: 03 Jul 2012

Irish Chronicles I:
England's Vietnam
By Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh
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