Lockdown

The bilingual sign says “temporary enclosure” but neither the Irish News or the Belfast Telegraph has been able to get a comment from the Chinese Consulate in Malone Road about the “ring of steel” erected around (what is currently known as) MacNeice house. Local residents have complained that the fence, which replaces a hedge, is an eyesore, not fitting for Malone Conservation Area.

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A Big Thank You

“Donegall Pass says a big thank you” to the NHS with a blue balloon. For the UVF mural in the background on Charlotte Street, see 100 Years Apart.

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Our NHS

“No surrender to Covid-19”. Two banners from Donegall Road in support of “our brave NHS”: above, the 1st South Belfast Linfield Supporters Club (Fb)  and below, the Rangers Supporters Club in Barrington Gardens (Barrington Street).

For the Covenant and Somme boards, see Out Of The Rubble.

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No Fouling

Neither the Greens and Sinn Féin are contesting the Belfast South seat, leaving a clear path for the SDLP’s Claire Hanna to make up the 2,00o-vote margin of the DUP’s Emma Little-Pengelly, which she seems likely to do in a constituency that voted 68-32 for ‘remain’ (BBC). Unlike in Belfast North (see Steeped In Blood | The Anti-Brexit Candidate), the UUP is fielding a candidate (Michael Henderson) which, along with the Alliance party, provides an option for liberal unionists. Henderson is against the current proposal for an Irish Sea economic border. The banner shown above refers to campaigning in North Belfast by Shankill bomber Sean Kelly (WP).
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Stephen Desmond McCrea

RHC volunteer Stevie McCrea (born 31.5.52, killed 18.2.89) was imprisoned for his role in the killing of 17 year-old Catholic James Kerr in a Lisburn Road garage, on the same day as the RHC bombed Benny’s Bar in Sailortown. He was killed in an IPLO attack on the Orange Cross (the Shankill Social Club). This Village mural is the second tribute to McCrea this year – see also A True Soldier Of Ulster in the lower Shankill, near the former location of the Orange Cross in Craven Street.

“Stevie was raised in The Village Area of South Belfast. He was just a young man when The Troubles started but without hesitation answered the call by joi[ni]ng the Village RHC. He soon started making a name for himself by putting himself on the front line with his brothers in arms in the RHC. These men where [sic] one of the most active units in Ulster by taking the fight the republicans. In 1972 at the height of The Troubles Stevie was sentenced to life for his part in a retaliation shooting and was imprisoned in Long Kesh. After serving 15 years with dignity and courage he was released. On the 16th February 1989 just after receiving his last pay cheque [from a transitional work scheme] he decided to join a few friends in The Orange Cross Club in the Shankill area. This would be his last drink as republican scum decided to target the Loyalist club. Stevie sacrificed himself to protect his friend by throwing himself in front of a hail of bullets. Stevie died 2 days later from his injuries in the Royal Victoria Hospital.”

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Concerned Unionists

“Public meeting. Concerned unionists of south Belfast. Wednesday 6th November 7.15 pm Sandy Row Orange Hall. Stop the #BetrayalAct”. Tonight will see a meeting in south Belfast (and another at the same time in Antrim) discussing the current Conservative Brexit plan that would allow some cross-border economic activity to continue – see The Betrayal Act. “VTOT” is “Village Team On Tour“.

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The Betrayal Act

Is Brexit more important than the Union? Conservative party leader Boris Johnson, whose current plan involves a border in the Irish Sea, is depicted as betraying the sacrifice of the Ulster Volunteers, formed in 1912 to resist the threat of Home Rule. In response, meetings are being held in different unionist areas: November 1st saw meetings in north Belfast and on the Shankill; meetings are scheduled in Sandy Row and the Steeple (Antrim) for Wednesday the 6th. Rallies and civil disobedience are being contemplated but also that the DUP would join Remainers in order to stop Brexit entirely. “Ulster says “No” to an economic united Ireland”.

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Barack O’Bama

Former US President Barack Obama with a Tricolour lei. Spotted in an upstairs window in Ireton Street.

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What I Have Witnessed In Botanic Gardens

At 28 acres, Belfast’s Botanic Gardens are large enough to contain a variety of attractions, from the Ulster Museum, to two glass houses (the Palm House, designed by Charles Lanyon, and the Tropical Ravine, opened in 1889 under head gardener Charles McKimm (Ulster Biography) whose portrait appears at the centre of this board, below), to a large rose garden, to its large parklands, site of events such as the launch of Henry Coxwell’s hot air balloon on July 3rd, 1865 (“You won’t believe what I have witnessed in Botanic Gardens. A monstrous balloon was being launched into the sky.” – the balloon escaped: “She has gone across the sea, but it is not known whither.” concludes the account by the Sydney Empire) and the final public appearance of tightrope walker Charles Blondin in 1896. (“He went up and down and up again, all the way along the rope he did his different moves: handstands, cartwheels, running. He was just like a circus acrobat. Mssr Blondin was up there with another man on his back. Blondin was just walking about easily, the other man felt terrible.)

The statue to Belfast-born Lord Kelvin is at the Stranmillis entrance to the park.

This is the second part (up to WWI) of a 27m-long history of Botanic Gardens by artist Peter Strain and poet Emma Must (BelTel).

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Bella’s Bench

“In loving memory of Isobel Bamford 18.09.1954 – 03.02.2014 from family and friends in Kirkintillock LOL 206, KRSC [Kirkintillock Rangers Supporters Club], City of Glasgow ABOD and POTNFB [Pride Of The North Flute Band].” Kirkintillock is eight miles outside Glasgow, Scotland. This memorial bench to Bella Bamford is in the pocket park just above the King William III mural on Sandy Row.

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