Hunger Strikers
Bobby Sands MP
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They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn’t want to be broken” – Bobby Sands MP


Bobby Sands was an Irish republican, an IRA Volunteer and a key figure in the fight against British imperialism in the north of Ireland during the 1970s and early 1980s. He came to public prominence during the 1981 hunger strike when he led the protest by men in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh and women in Armagh Jail who sought political prisoner status. Bobby endured years of solitary confinement and beatings. During his imprisonment he was elected MP for the constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

Bobby began his hunger strike on 1st March 1981 and died after sixty-six days on the 5th May 1981.

In the aftermath of his death he has become an international figure that inspires not only Irish republicans in their pursuit of freedom from British rule, but people around the world in the fight for their rights.


Michael Gaughan’s Anniversary

Michael Gaughan’s Anniversary

Fifty years ago today, 3 June 1974, Michael Gaughan, from Ballina, County Mayo, died on hunger strike in Parkhurst Prison. Michael was one of the earliest IRA Volunteers to be imprisoned in England in the post-1969 phase of the struggle, sentenced to seven years on 23...

‘But still we resist’ – Bobby Sands

‘But still we resist’ – Bobby Sands

Letters and poems of Bobby Sands continue to be discovered forty-three years after his death on hunger strike on 5 May 1981. Last September the legendary British peace campaigner and poet Pat Arrowsmith died at the age of ninety-three. Among her mementoes was a...

Death of Khader Adnan

Death of Khader Adnan

The Bobby Sands Trust has sent its condolences to Randa Mousa and her family after the death on hunger strike of her husband Khader Adnan. Khader was the victim of a punitive and cruel Israeli occupation that singled him out for his vocal stance on Palestinian...

International Reaction to death of Bobby Sands

International Reaction to death of Bobby Sands

The death of Bobby Sands made international headlines around the world and was quickly followed by protests in various cities against Margaret Thatcher and British interests, as this new, short film (below) shows. In America, New York State governor Hugh Carey and New...



Directed by Steve McQueen, ‘Hunger’ focuses on the 1981 hunger strikes by Republican prisoners in Northern Ireland.

Bobby Sands is one of a group of prisoners who first “took to the blanket” with a “dirty protest” in pursuit of their claims for recognition as political prisoners. Sands then became the first one of the group to embark on a hunger strike that was to end in his death.



Writings from Prison

Writings from Prison

Writings from Prison stands as a testament to courage and the political prisoner's indomitable struggle for recognition and freedom. Foreword by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and Introduction by Nobel Peace Prize winner Sean MacBride. You can find many...

One Day in My Life

One Day in My Life

One Day in My Life is available online at the Sinn Féin Bookshop. Introduction by Gerry Adams Bobby Sands was 27 years old when he died. He spent almost nine years of his life in prison because of his Irish republican activities. He died, in prison, on 5 May 1981, on...

The Diary of Bobby Sands

The Diary of Bobby Sands

The Diary of Bobby Sands This new edition, corrected against the original handwritten English and Irish manuscript (held in the National Library) for the first time since 1981, has been reset and redesigned for publication on the fortieth anniversary of the H-Block...

Hunger Strike: Reflections

Hunger Strike: Reflections

HUNGER STRIKE - REFLECTIONS Hunger Strike—Reflections, edited by Danny Morrison*, was first published in 2006 but has now been republished with additional contributions from George Stagg (brother of hunger striker Frank Stagg) and Senator Frances Black, among others....

The Rhythm of Time

– by Damien Dempsey, words by Bobby Sands

There’s an inner thing in every man,
Do you know this thing my friend?

It has withstood the blows of a million years,
And will do so to the end.

It was born when time did not exist,
And it grew up out of life,
It cut down evil’s strangling vines,
Like a slashing searing knife.

It lit fires when fires were not,
And burnt the mind of man,
Tempering leadened hearts to steel,

From the time that time began.

It wept by the waters of Babylon,
And when all men were a loss,
It screeched in writhing agony,
And it hung bleeding from the Cross.

It died in Rome by lion and sword,
And in defiant cruel array,
When the deathly word was ‘Spartacus’
Along the Appian Way.

It marched with Wat the Tyler’s poor,
And frightened lord and king,
And it was emblazoned in their deathly stare,
As e’er a living thing.

It smiled in holy innocence,
Before conquistadors of old,
So meek and tame and unaware,
Of the deathly power of gold.

It burst forth through pitiful Paris streets,

And stormed the old Bastille,
And marched upon the serpent’s head,
And crushed it ‘neath its heel.

It died in blood on Buffalo Plains,
And starved by moons of rain,
Its heart was buried in Wounded Knee,
But it will come to rise again.

It screamed aloud by Kerry lakes,
As it was knelt upon the ground,

And it died in great defiance,
As they coldly shot it down.

It is found in every light of hope,
It knows no bounds nor space
It has risen in red and black and white,
It is there in every race.

It lies in the hearts of heroes dead,
It screams in tyrants’ eyes,
It has reached the peak of mountains high,

It comes searing ‘cross the skies.

It lights the dark of this prison cell,
It thunders forth its might,
It is ‘the undauntable thought’, my friend,
That thought that says ‘I’m right!’