CHE Guevara still lives.
That was the message in Kilkee at the weekend as the controversial mural of the Argentinian-born Cuban revolutionary made a surprise reappearance ahead of last weekend’s Che Do Bheatha festival in the coastal town.
The 20-foot high mural reappeared on the sea-wall in Kilkee last Tuesday, two years after the Clare County Council removed a similar image from the same area saying it was “in breach of local government legislation”.
The mural is inspired by the art work of Jim Fitzpatrick, who created his iconic image of Guevara in the late 1960s from an Alberto Korda photograph.
It was Fitzpatrick who met Guevara in Kilkee in 1961 — the then 16-year-old was working in the Royal Marine Hotel for the summer and Guevara, who was on a stopover from a Shannon flight, dropped into the bar.
The Che Do Bheatha Festival was established in 2011 to mark the 50th anniversary of the visit to the town of Che Guevara whose plane had been grounded at Shannon Airport.
In 2013 the mural was painted over by a local authority just weeks ahead of a local Latin-American cultural festival, because a group of Americans left the town in disgust after seeing the mural.
Clare County Council staff removed the 20ft high mural despite agreement at a Town Council meeting that it should stay until the festival was over.
“The town of Kilkee was both surprised and delighted with the reappearance of the famous Che Guevara mural on the west end ball alley walls just in time for the festival,” said local businessman Johnny Redmond.
“It was not put up there to attract controversy but just as a symbol and reminder of Che Guevara’s 1961 visit to Kilkee. Our festival is totally non-political and is a celebration of Latin American music and its association with Irish traditional music,” he added.

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