Bin There, Done That

April 10, 2024

Below is an image of protesters with dustbin lids, taken at a pro-Palestinian rally on Donegall Place Belfast, 30 March 2024.

The dustbin lid has been an instrument of resistance in Ireland since the conflict with the Black and Tan forces in 1920.

Pro-Palestinian protestors, Belfast 30.03.24. Photo by Stuart Bailie


The sound of lids, rattled on the ground, was used to alert a community to the arrival of armed forces. It was a regular signal after internment in 1971 and was used during the hunger strikes to signal the Republican deaths. There is a bin lid in the collection of the Ulster Museum. The lids are now carried (and rattled) on marches to show solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

Joe Mulheron, 2019 by Stuart Bailie

Belfast songwriter Joe Mulheron, who performed with The Men of No Property in the 70s, wrote ‘The Lid of My Granny’s Bin’, which was recorded by Blackthorn and then appeared on Christy Moore’s album, The Spirit of Freedom.

The late Joe Mulheron explained it thus: “It was a funny little bit of a song back in the days when the women in the ghettos went out and rattled the bins when the soldiers were coming in.”

Stuart Bailie

(Read a 2023 obituary of Joe Mulheron here.)


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