An award-winning local artist is working with the McGurk’s Bar families to record Echoes at the memorial site.

Artist Sinéad O’Neill-Nicholl is recording the lived experiences of our families for a project called Never the Same, an innovative sound installation at the very site of the explosion in North Queen Street, Belfast. The short recordings, or Echoes, can be accessed by visitors to our memorial.

Never the Same already features 16 short recordings of the families’ personal memories around grief and loss, which visitors can listen to whilst at the McGurk’s Bar memorial. More will be added each month in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the attack on December 4th, 2021.

Echoes Explorer

Never the Same is also an innovative, site-specific project which utilizes modern technology to produce a GPS-activated audio installation.

All visitors can download the free application, Echoes Explorer, onto their smartphone, and they can listen to each short recording as they move around the memorial. The GPS on their phone will activate each conversation every couple of steps.

The focus of the conversations with the artist is the subjects of loss and grief as well as the intergenerational impact of the McGurk’s Bar Massacre which claimed the lives of 15 civilians including 2 children.

You can listen to the moving recordings here too:

Call to Action

The artist is also inviting other family members who wish to participate to contact Ciarán MacAirt

Sinéad O’Neill-Nicholl said:

“I am really keen to speak to any relatives who would like to take part in the project, those who were directly impacted by the bomb, who were alive at that time but also, the generations of family members who continue to campaign for the truth around the bombing of McGurk’s Bar.  My art practice deals with themes of truth, justice, knowledge, language and information as well as how gender, identity, race and class have a direct influence on a person’s access to justice.”

Ciarán MacAirt’s grandparents were 2 of the victims. He said:

“We are very proud to be working with such a highly regarded local artist on such an innovative project. Never the Same is another important means for us to commemorate our loved ones for the 50th anniversary of the atrocity and to tell our story to generations to come. We anticipate Sinéad’s great work will lead the way for other families across these islands who wish to commemorate those they lost during the conflict.”

Listen to the artist talk about Never the Same during the Imagine Belfast Festival 2021: