Get Ready To Make Your Move

Here are two signs of protests at the NI Protocol along with the third version of graffiti complaining about parking spaces being taken by people working at the Boucher Road complexes. The original version (in 2020) threatened that “your car will be burnt” (Street View). It’s not clear whether it’s new construction or existing businesses that are the target, though the Boucher Road area has been busy, with a refit of B&Q (BelTel) and new Lidl being built next to the Olympia (BelTel) (not to mention the stage for the Ed Sheeran concerts (Newsletter)).

“Loyalist Village says NO! to an Irish Sea border”, “Loyalist Village will never accept a border in the Irish Sea.”

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Executed

On October 18th, 1922, the third Dáil/second Provisional Government Of Southern Ireland approved – in the absence of anti-Treaty members – a bill entitled the “Army Emergency Powers Resolution” which introduced martial law, including martial courts with the death penalty for anyone found in possession of an illegal firearm – “illegal” meaning not sanctioned by the nascent pro-Treaty Free State. Under these powers, seven IRA volunteers were executed on November 17th and 19th, followed on the 24th by Erskine Childers (a member of the team that negotiated the Treaty but subsequently against it). In response, the IRA declared that TDs who had voted for the bill were fair game, and on December 7th Seán Hales of Cork was shot and killed. In reprisal, the government ordered the execution of four more volunteers, one from each province: Liam Mellows, Joe McKelvey, Dick Barnett, Rory O’Connor. The four had been arrested five months earlier, on June 30th, 1922 at the start of the Civil War, after surrendering the Four Courts. By the end of the war, 81 executions had taken place. (An Phoblacht | Irish Times | The Irish Story | WP | WP)

For the left-hand side of the wall, on the shipyard clearings and the McMahon murders, see Belfast Butchery.

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Belfast Butchery

“Belfast Pogroms 1920-1922.” Against the backdrop of the first Dáil, the War Of Independence, and the debate in Westminster over the fourth Home Rule bill (it would be passed in November 1920), northern Protestants began to assert their de facto independence from the rest of Ireland – both in economic and in military terms.

On July 12th, 1920, Edward Carson spoke to a crowd in Derry and, addressing the government in Westminster, said “if you are yourself unable to protect us from the machinations of Sinn Féin, and you won’t take our help; well, then, we tell you we will take the matter into our own hands.” (Treason Felony). Nine days later, the “clearings” of Catholics from Belfast shipyards and mills began, with about 5,700 Catholics and 1,850 socialists (“rotten Prods“) being expelled from Workman Clark and Harland & Wolff yards, and in total 10,000 workers from yards and mills over the next two weeks (History Ireland). In combination with the straitened economic circumstances of the time (post WWI) thousands (23,140 according to this mural, which reproduces a flyer derived from the Irish News of October 6th, 1920 – via The Irish Story’s account of the start of the “Belfast Pogrom”) were on relief.

Militarily, in October, 1920, the Ulster Special Constabulary was established (drawing on members of the Ulster Volunteers, which had been reconstituted in June 1920, and the 21,000 members of the Ulster Imperial Guards (WP)) as an alternative to the Royal Irish Constabulary in fighting actions by the IRA in Belfast, Derry, and elsewhere in the north. On March 23rd, 1922, two officers of the Specials were killed in Belfast city centre by the IRA. In reprisal, two Catholic civilians were killed in the Short Strand, and in the early hours of March 24th, a party of five men, four dressed in RIC uniforms, burst into the home of Catholic businessman Owen McMahon and shot McMahon, his six sons, and one of his employees – only two of the sons survived. District Inspector John Nixon of the RIC was suspected of leading the attack on the McMahon household – see The RIC Murder Gang and Pat And Dan Duffin. (The headlines are from the Freeman’s Journal of March 25th, 1922 – see Joe Baker’s 80-page account of the murders of summer 1922; the photograph of the McMahon corpses that is reproduced in the mural can be seen at Slugger.)

This is the first half a new mural in Ascaill Ard Na bhFeá; the “1922” part will be presented tomorrow.

“Belfast Expelled Workers – How Carsonism has disgraced Belfast – Help from all quarters of the globe for victims of sh[a]meful pogrom – Drain on Ex[p]elled Workers[‘] Relief Fund. Total number of expelled workers registered – 8,104; Applications for registrations yesterday – 500; Average number of persons receiving relief daily – 23,140.”

“Belfast Butchery – Horrif[y]ing story of massacre of McMahon family – Dying man[‘]s declaration – Murderers dressed in police uniform and spoke with Belfast accents.”

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Have A Good Day

Two more by Nathan Bowen (ig | web store), in Donegall Street, Belfast – “Have a good day” and “Be inspired”.

See previously: Builders At Work | Covid-Era Canvasses

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For The Football

Before he died (in 2005), George Best asked that people “remember me for my football” and the phrase became the title of a Best retrospective. It is also inspired the life-size title of the statue of created by Tony Currie and funded by fans (Belfast Live) in front of Windsor Park (and the Glen Molly (ig) mural in Hill Street). When it was launched, the statue drew criticism for not looking like its subject (BBC | Newsletter). Soccer star sculptures are perhaps hard to do: here’s a list of ten questionable statues of soccer stars, including Maradona in Kolkata (Guardian) and Ronaldo in Madeira (BBC), but missing Mo Salah in Sharm al-Sheikh (BBC).

For an awkward painting of Best, see The Best A Man Can Get in Newtownards.

See also the new Best mural in Cregagh: Maradona Good, Pelé Better, George Best

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Lisnabreeny American Military Cemetery

The 148 US servicemen who were buried at Lisnabreeny, in the Castlereagh hills, died in Northern Ireland, and about 40 of them in air accidents, including the ten who died on June 1st, 1944, when a B-17 travelling from Newfoundland crashed into Cave Hill, killing all ten men on board (Wartime NI). The names of all 148 are listed on three sides of the memorial stone; their remains were repatriated or moved to the cemetery in Cambridge, England in 1948.

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Iconostases

This is a small memorial to the fallen British soldiers tucked away in Ogilvie Street, Belfast, that serves to remind the locals always to keep the sacrifice of the 36th Division always in mind. Below is the board next to it, originally seen in 2013.

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Christmas In Prison

A crude engraving about the size of your hand found on the wall of the B-wing yard in Crumlin Road Gaol (now a tourist attraction and conference centre): a Celtic cross with knot-work and “Jim Keenan – Xmas 1942”.

Below is a picture of the gaol from September 15th, 1942, thirteen days after Tom Williams was hanged (see the plaque to his memory in Bombay Street).

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Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth

A draft of the up-coming decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn ‘Roe v. Wade’ was leaked by Politico magazine on Monday but this ‘Venus’ symbol for ‘female’ on Sliabh Dubh is a response to a decree by powers closer to home, namely the assertion by a west Belfast priest that Catholics should restrict themselves to Aontú or the DUP when choosing whom to vote for, because their platforms forbid abortion (Belfast Media | Sunday World).

“Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.” is attributed to comedian George Carlin.

Previous uses of the ‘venus’ symbol: Abortion Rights Now | We Too Are Strong | Lenadoon Women In Struggle

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Lucky Fives

The slot machine last year came up with a 55 Scottish league title for Rangers and Rangers fans across Belfast celebrated with stickers and flags (Let Us Shout Joyfully | Order Restored | 55 | F*ck Your Ten In A Row | Blues Brothers | We’re Back | Legends Never Die) and also the stencilled electricity box from Berlin Street, west Belfast (above) and the furniture and barrel (below) from Sandy Row, south Belfast. This year is not looking so good, as they are six points down with three games to go (SkySports).

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