Twitter stir over IRA 'library' graffiti

Published Monday, 16 September 2013
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A snapshot of IRA graffiti 're-worked' to promote visiting the library has been causing a buzz online, being shared by thousands of people and prompting speculation as to who was responsible.

Twitter stir over IRA 'library' graffiti
The graffiti appeared on a building in Strabane. (© Brian McGilloway)

The words 'Join the IRA' had been scrawled on the side of a building in Strabane, Co Tyrone.

But some bright spark decided to inject some positivity into the graffiti, altering it to read 'Join the library' instead.

Derry-born author and English teacher Brian McGilloway posted the picture on Twitter, prompting thousands of other users to retweet it and hundreds more to favourite it.

"Got to admire the Strabane kid with the cultural conscience who altered 'Join the IRA' graffiti to this," he said, adding that it had brightened up his week.

"Books beat balaclavas" and "Pity there's not more like him" were among the many, many responses.

Speaking to UTV, 'Strabanksy' confesses to not actually being a kid but rather a 28-year-old who was pushed into action in the early hours of last Wednesday by some rogue punctuation.

Once I saw how library fit so nicely around the original tag, I felt compelled to change it.


"I noticed the original graffiti on Tuesday and being a keen writer and grammar pedant, I was annoyed by the unnecessary apostrophe," he said.

"Strabane has an excellent library beside the Alley Theatre (I recently did a poetry reading there) - hopefully people take the advice and go and visit both premises."

With graffiti usually frowned upon at the best of times, Brian McGilloway said this instance had definitely managed to become a positive.

"I thought it was very witty and so incongruous for graffiti. Anything that encourages people to use libraries and read books can't be bad," he told UTV.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Jone in Randlestown wrote (496 days ago):
iraTE over the grammar? Change it to Prat!
Curious in Irrelevant wrote (500 days ago):
I suspect that "Strabansky" isn't being entirely honest about his motivation for vandalising someone else's property. He claims that he was "annoyed by the unnecessary apostrophe", and yet chose to leave it. And it's a pity UTV didn't interview the owner of the vandalised building. It would have been interesting to know his/her reaction to having the job of removing the original grafitti made that bit more difficult by "Stabansky". I suppose it's OK now to spray-paint grafitti over churches, Orange halls, British military recruitment establishments, etc, providing the vandals choose edifying words, such as: "Be nice to your elderly parents" or "Put your litter in a bin"?
Derrighy in Derrighy wrote (500 days ago):
Oh dear :/ ...saying that i'd rather join the library any day!
Ulster Man in Belfast wrote (500 days ago):
Glad everyone liked it
Mick in Derry wrote (500 days ago):
They really havent gone away you know.I was in one on foyle street last week,books everywhere.
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