The Glorious Dead

Four of the 700 NHS staff in the UK to die of Covid during the pandemic have come Northern Ireland, the most recent being dementia specialist Alan Henry in Antrim hospital (Express | BelTel | iTV). In the south, Defence Forces have been deployed to three nursing homes while 6,400 health workers are off sick (Irish Times). The mural above shows a masked nurse and doctor among a field of poppies. For the black-and-white boards above, see Connswater Commemorates.

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Road Sign

Speed limits in Northern Ireland are set by the Department Of Infrastructure/An Roinn Bonneagair after consideration of all relevant factors. The residents of Tern Street, Belfast, have instead used a decades-old mode of public communication – wall painting – to ask motorists to slow down around the sharp turn just off Dee Street.

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V For Victory

August 15th, 1945, saw the end of the second World War in the Pacific theatre, effectively ending the war as a whole. The 75th anniversary of the event was celebrated on the Shankill by and Up! Culture + Arts. Belfast Councillor (and 2020 High Sheriff) Nicola Verner has video (tw) of the tarp on the float that paraded along the Shankill on the day itself. With sponsorship from the Executive and the Greater Shankill Partnership (tw).

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A Blythe Yuletide Tae Yin An Aa

“Glorie tae God, the Messiah’s come noo”. The story of the birth of Jesus is told in Ulstèr-Scotch passages from the Bible and from Alexander Halliday’s song on tarps around the North Belfast Orange Memorial Hall. “A virgin will cairrie a wean … an whan he’s boarn, he’ll be caad Immanuel, mainin “God is wi iz.” (Mattha 1v23)” “When frae the East the wise men cam/The staur in Bethlehem was brightly shinin’/Doon on the place whaur lay the Lamb/And the angels roon’ about were singin’.”

The NHS tarp on the front of the hall was featured in July.

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Bonies

Photographer Mariusz Smiejek (web | ig) was born in Poland in 1978 but moved to Northern Ireland in 2011, which is when he started taking pictures of bonfires – in areas such as Highfield, the Village, and the Shankill – and the people around them. The full gallery for his ‘Bonies’ project is available on his web site.

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Community Heroes

Walkway Community Centre (Fb) in east Belfast got a new mural back in May, painted by Nathan Calderwood, to thank all of the “community heroes” working during the pandemic. “ea” (on the left) is for Education Authority who sponsored the work.

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It’s OK To Talk

October 10th is WHO World Mental Health Day. To mark the occasion and respond to the continued high rates of suicide in west Belfast (Assembly Research), emic (web | tw | ig) and local youth painted an “OK” gesture on the side of the Alternatives (web) offices in Agnes Street, which also includes the numbers for Lifeline and Samaritans. In-progress images of the mural being painted by can be seen at AlternativesRJ. In the US, the “OK” hand gesture has recently become associated with the ‘white power’ movement (WP).

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Stranger Kings

Members of Foreign Assassins and TDS (The Death Squad, in homage to the old NY crew) collaborated on a series of panels along the Connswater greenway inspired by the hit Netflix show Stranger Things, which in turn was inspired by Stephen King novels (including Needful Things) and 1980s fantasy and sci-fi movies (WP).

For in-progress shots, see Montana Cans.

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Praying For A Miracle

Saint Luke’s C of I opened in 1863 in what was then the lower Falls but – because of the “peace” line is now the lower Shankill. It closed in 2006 and the congregation merged with St Stephen’s (in Millfield). The building served as a community centre. In 2015 two pigs’ heads with racist graffiti were left in the doorway in response to rumours that the building might become a mosque (BBC). The property was (later) acquired by Living Faith Global (Fb) – “a miracle believing and seeing church” – which opened in April 2019.

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Rock Of Ages

Carrickfergus castle was founded by the Anglo-Norman knight John de Courcy in 1177 and it became the stronghold of power in the north of Ireland, leading to its besiegement over time by a litany of Scots, Irish, English – including under Schomberg in 1689 – and French forces (WP). In the present day, the flag of a Kingdom uniting England, Scotland, and (Northern) Ireland currently flies on Marine Highway next to the sculpture showing three Anglo-Norman knights defending the castle (unsuccessfully) against the forces of Edward Bruce of Scotland in 1315 (info plaque). The sculptor is unknown.

See also The Carrickfergus Knights, a painting of the statues on a shop’s shutters in the town.

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