In 1981, Irish republican volunteers in a British jail on Irish soil undertook a fast to the death to retain their status as political prisoners. The British government, led by Margaret Thatcher, demanded they be classified as criminals.

Ten men died on the doorstep of the British government in one of the most turbulent periods in the tragic history of Anglo-Irish relations.


Let Us Know! | Our Policy

In tribute to the ten men
who gave their lives on hungerstrike:

Vol. Bobby Sands, IRA
Vol. Francis Hughes, IRA
Vol. Patsy O'Hara, INLA
Vol. Raymond McCreesh, IRA
Vol. Joe McDonnell, IRA
Vol. Martin Hurson, IRA
Vol. Kevin Lynch, INLA
Vol. Kieran Doherty, IRA
Vol. Thomas McElwee, IRA
Vol. Michael Devine, INLA

5 May 81
66 days
12 May 81
59 days
21 May 81
61 days
21 May 81
61 days
8 July 81
61 days
13 July 81
46 days
1 Aug 81
71 days
2 Aug 81
73 days
8 Aug 81
62 days
20 Aug 81
60 days

Historical information:
The 10 Who Died
The 1980 Hunger Strike | The Participants
The 1981 Hunger Strike | The Survivors
The 5 Demands
The Diary of Bobby Sands
Statement at Start of Strike
Statement on 4 July 1981
Statement at End of Strike
The Forgotten Hunger Strikes - a work in progress
Scenes from the Funerals - a work in progress (last updated 20 Nov 03)

Other Hunger Strike Pages:
(updated 20 Nov 03)

National Hunger Strike Memorial and North West Monument
Bobby Sands Trust
The Irish Hunger Strikers (from Ireland's Own)

Sadly, many of the other hungerstrike sites that sprang up to commemorate the 20th anniversary have disappeared from the web. If you are a webmaster of a hunger strike site (Irish or other), or you know of any other sites that are not listed here, please send us the url and we'll take a look at them.

Hunger Strike Era Documents:
(updated 27 Oct 03)

Relatives Action Committee/H-Block/Armagh Committee History
The IRSP Announcement of the Start of the 1981 Hunger Strike
More Join Hunger Strike
Why it is murder....
Solidarity Statement to the Hunger Strikers By Palestinian Prisoners in Nafha Prison

Hunger Strike Related Texts:
(updated 18 Sept 03)

The Women Hunger Strikers of Armagh Prison (from Ireland's Own)
The 1981 Irish Hunger Strike: Struggle For Legitimacy or Pathology Of Terrorism?
Irish Political Prisoners and Post Hunger-Strike Resistance to Criminalisation

Other Related Sites:
Irish Republican Socialist Movement
Republican Sinn Fein
Sinn Fein
Irish History on the Web (recently moved, links still being worked on)
CAIN's Hunger Strike Page
CAIN's collection of Hunger Strike and Prisoners Campaign Posters

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If you'd like to be kept abreast of updates to the site, or if you'd like to announce similar projects or hunger strike events, consider joining our new list.

You can learn more by going to

Currently, the list is moderated and for announcements only, but in the future we may open it up to discussion of research or hunger strike history.

Are you using this site as a tool for researching for articles, plays, books, movies or other projects? If so, we'd love to know. Drop us a line at and maybe we can help publicise your project.

Books on the Hungerstrikes:

Consider purchasing a book through the Larkspirit Bookshop -- every purchase helps us stay online. Below are books specifically on the 1981 Hunger Strikes -- some of these may currently be out of print but check back with Amazon, as 3rd-party vendors may sell used copies from time to time.

Ten Men Dead - The Story of the 1981 irish Hunger strike
by David Beresford

Biting at the Grave: The Irish Hunger Strikes and the Politics of Despair
by Padraig O'Malley

Skylark Sing Your Lonely Song
by Bobby Sands

Bobby Sands and the Tragedy of Northern Ireland
by John M. Feehan

One Day in My Life
by Bobby Sands

Writings of Bobby Sands: A Collection of Prison Writings

The Irish Hunger Strike
by Tom Collins

Bobby Sands: Writings from Prison

Bobby Sands: Irish Rebel: A Self-Portrait in Poetry and Polemics Issued on the 10th Anniversary of His Death
edited by Robert West

Other related items:

The Derry IRSP has made available some items relating to the hungerstrikes on their website's giftshop. All purchases through their shop go towards supporting the political work of the Derry IRSP. They have also opened up a new hungerstrike shop that is worth checking out.

Memories of 1981 by Celebration of Resistence Committee (Paperback) -- This original work was originally published by the Celebration of Resistence committee in Derry to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the 1981 hungerstrike Paperback. 80 pages.

Saoirse go deo by Ray Collins (Audio CD) -- Saoirse go deo by Ray Collins was orignally recorded in the early 1980s to celebrate the lives of fallen Republican Socilialists and the successes of the INLA.

Patsy O'Hara Cap -- "Let the fight go on!" was one of the lasting quotes from the 1981 hunger strikers and is reproduced here in a cap featuring Patsy O'Hara

Patsy O'Hara Bumper Sticker -- An excellent product for any car bumper. This image of Patsy O'Hara features his famous quote to his mother "let the fight go on!"

Around the world, people know the names of Bobby Sands, Patsy O'Hara, Mickey Devine, etc. Songs are written about the hunger strikers, and plays and movies are produced to keep their memory alive. But who knows the name Ayce Idil Erkmen, or the fact that she became the first woman internationally to die on hunger strike?

As others have said, Bobby Sands is alive, wherever a hunger strike for justice takes place. He lives on in people like Ayce and Aygun Ugur and Ilginc Ozkeskin. The struggle is truly international.

Prisoners from ten revolutionary organisations participated in the Death Fast of 1996 in Turkey, which lasted for 69 days, and 12 prisoners died: Aygun Ugur (TKP(ML)), Altan Berdan Kerimgiller (DHKP-C), Ilginc Ozkeskin (DHKP-C), Huseyin Demircioglu (MLKP), Ali Ayata (TKP(ML)), Mujdat Yanat (DHKP-C), Tahsin Yilmaz (TIKB), Ayce Idil Erkmen (DHKP-C), Hicabi Kucuk (TIKB), Yemliha Kaya (DHKP-C), Osman Akgun (TIKB) and Hayati Can (TKP(ML)).

Please visit the below site which serves as a tribute to these 12 who died and the many who participated in the strike, both inside and outside Turkish prisons. The Kurdish struggle continues, and over than 30 have given their lives in furtherance of their goals.

The heroic struggle of the political prisoners in Turkey in the hungerstrike from 1996 presented by the DHKC Informationbureaus

The above links apparently do not work, so in the meantime, you can visit and get news on the current struggles in Turkey.

This page was unveiled 1 March 1996, the 15th anniversary of the start of the 1981 hunger strike.
More Info

For comments or suggestions, please email

Reset 4 Sept 03