Fáilte Go ACT

The Irish “Fáilte” is included among the many languages at the entrance to the ACT (Action For Community Transformation) visitor centre on the Shankill. See previously the signage at Boyd’s in the lower Shankill (which does not have a “Fáilte”) and the Coiste claim that All Flags Are Welcome (which does not have a Union Flag).

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Old Carrick Hill

In addition to fifteen printed boards, the collection of images of “Carrick Hill in the old days” now includes a mural, of two women talking in the street. The board in the second image shows Pepper Hill Steps before the turn of the twentieth century. The steps used to lead from Mustard Street (which was what Library Street used to be) towards Upper Library Street (now Carrick Hill, the street). Other boards (not shown) show street games, street parties, and Alton United football club, a team founded in 1921 that played in the Falls League and won the 1923 Free State Cup Final (Bohs Sporting Life).

At the corner of Stanhope Street and Regent Street in Carrick Hill.

Images courtesy of Paddy Duffy.

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Fáilte Roimh Chách

We have featured this ‘bookmark’-dimensioned mural on the so-called “International Wall” before (in 2018) but today include an image (the third one, below) of the replica cell inside the museum itself; a sharper image (and the source for the painting) can be seen on the home page of the Museum’s web site.

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My Da Was A Pigeon Man

Here are six pieces on the fence above the Townsend Street gates in the west Belfast “peace” line (seen previously Da War Is Not Over Yet and Mickey Marley’s Roundabout) depicting life in years gone by in the Townsend Street/Brown’s Square area. The six are (from left to right on the street/top to bottom on this page):

My Da Was A Pigeon Man – a tribute to the many pigeon lofts and clubs in Belfast. There is a pigeon-loft mural in east Belfast.

Messages – “Doing” or “running” “messages” means grocery shopping.

Half Moon – the “half moon” was the semi-circular area on the pavement outside a terraced house that would become shiny with repeated washing. Here are some descriptions and memories from Belfast Forum.

Born, Wed And Buried On Townsend St

Atlas & Soho: The Soho iron foundry in Townsend Street was owned and managed by Robert Shipboy McAdam and his brother James (Ricorso | Grace’s); the Atlas foundry was at 73 Townsend Street and owned by Victor C Taylor (Lennon Wylie).

Dog Walking Man

These appear to be prints or photographs on boards, rather than stone casts as on the CNR side of the gates: see The Oasis.

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The Oasis

According to a history of Brown’s Square, the area was known as “the oasis” during WWII on account of its 3 dance-halls and 22 pubs (Religion, Riots And Rebels). As with so much publicly-funded art (though we cannot find any provenance for this art) it depicts Belfast in the “good old days” – that is, before the Troubles, which produced the so-called “peace line” dividing west Belfast.

In this case of Brown’s Square, the area was further desolated in anticipation of a planned ring road (formally to be known as the Belfast Urban Motorway). the plan produced only the subterranean “Westlink” that cut Brown’s Square in half. The images in today’s post are in Townsend Street, (these are from below the security gates; there are others above it). Before the construction of the Westlink, which opened in 1981, Townsend Street was considered the western border, and part of Brown’s Square. John Gilbert’s photographs at the Belfast Archive Project show the area in the mid-seventies, when much of it had been abandoned but prior to construction.

The Boys Brigade are shown parading in front of Townsend Presbyterian which held its last service in September and is being handed over to the Ulster Orchestra (Belfast Media) (see previously On The Other Side for stained glass windows inside the church). The Brown’s Square school was at the junction of Brown’s Square (the street) and Melbourne Street.

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Those Lives Changed Forever

“The Woodvale Blitz occurred when German air raids took place during the spring of 1941. The first raid took place on April 7th/8th, the next raid came at Easter on April 15th/16th, the 3rd air raid would come on the May 4th/5th and the final air raid would take place May 5th/6th. These attacks on the city would result in over 1,000 civilians being killed and 1,5000 injured. This was the highest casualty rate of any air raids outside London during the Second World War. It was in these streets that the Woodvale area was indiscriminately attacked resulting in the total devastation of Heather Street, Ohio Street, Palmer Street and Disraeli Street resulting in the loss of many lives injuring 100’s more, most of those lives lost were families who had lived in the area for generations. The effects of the air raids and the devastation caused would last for many years to come.” The names of 79 victims are given on the right (see close-up below).

“The Woodvale Blitz April-May 1941. ‘But for the loyalty of Northern Ireland we should have been confronted with slavery and death and the light which now shines so strongly throughout the world would have been quenched’ – Prime Minister Winston Churchill 1945. We remember those who were killed, those who survived and those lives changed forever.”

The Women Through The Ages mural has disappeared from the adjacent wall.

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Because He Loves What Is Behind Him

The Shankill Somme Association’s garden of reflection has added a number of new boards.

The board shown above is JP Beadle’s painting “Battle of the Somme: Attack of the Ulster Division”, which hangs in Belfast City Hall (militaryprints.com). It replaces a painting of a soldier in a field of poppies, seen in The Great War.

To its left is John Singer Sargent’s painting “Gassed”, showing the “aftermath of an indiscriminate mustard gas attack on British forces during the Battle of Arras 21st August 1918” (which also forms a part of a memorial in east Belfast) with the GK Chesterton quote “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is front of him, but because he loves what is behind him”.

Also new – and somewhat out of place – is the Northern Ireland Centenary board featuring James Craig: “It would be rather interesting for historians of the future to compare a Catholic state launched in the south with a Protestant state launched in the north and to see which gets on the better and prospers the more”. There are other “floreat Ultona” boards/murals in the Village (focusing on the B Specials and UDR) and in Rathcoole (where “Ulster welcomes her King and Queen”).

There are also three insignia on the gates (compare with M05717), to the Royal Navy, the Ulster Volunteer Medical & Nursing Corps, and the Royal Flying Corp.

Previously (c. 2017), the undead soldiers of We Shall Not Sleep were replaced with an image of the Cross Of Sacrifice memorial – the original is in Ypres, Belgium but there is also one in the City Cemetery – see One In Design And Intention. At the same time, the poppy plaques for individual local soldiers and the image of the Menin Gate were also added.

The Flanders Field board appears to have survived since 2012 – see Somme Memorial.

The final image below shows the new stone surround for the main memorial. See (again) Somme Memorial and for a close-up of the frosted glass, Reflections On The Somme.

For the 20th anniversary electrical box on the footpath outside, see Shankill Somme Association.

With thanks to Paddy Duffy for the photographs.

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Unhappy Anniversary

Noah Donohoe would have been 17 last Friday (November 25th). The inquest had been due to start on the 28th, but after the Coroner Joe McCrisker ruled at the end of October that it should take place in front of a jury, a preliminary hearing will be held on December 9th at which a new date might be set (Belfast Media | Sunday World).

There are 23 other posts featuring Noah Donohoe on Extramural Activity. This mural is at the entrance to the Kashmir Bar on the Springfield Road; for the mural on the outside wall, see The Best Singers In The West.

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S Company, C Company

Joe Coggle and Paul McClelland were arrested as they sat with weapons in a car on the Falls Road in 1991; they were jailed for 18 years (Independent) but released under the Agreement. The Sunday World also report that the pair were involved in the killing of David Braniff in 1989. Both UVF men are said to be deceased; Coggle died in September.

Coggle had previously served 18 months for running over and killing Elizabeth Masterson in Beechmount in 1986 and her descendants objected to the mural (Irish News | BBC).

S Company was a predecessor to C Company, existing from 1969 to 1974, when C Company was formed (see M08105 for an older S Coy – C Coy mural in Ballygomartin). A previous UVF uzi can be seen in M01186.

Replaces Here Dead We Lie. For mural of five volunteers to the right (in the wide shot), see C Coy Street.

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Christmas Meat

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States, also commonly known as “turkey day”, and the orgy of eating is today followed by the orgy of spending – Black Friday. The terms are gradually creeping into local parlance, to mark an artificial beginning to the Christmas shopping season. One local petrol chain made headlines yesterday with its “Thanksgiving Thursday” promotion (BelTel | Belfast Live gallery), while one Woodvale butcher is encouraging people to “order your Christmas meat now”, using a saving club if necessary.

The mural underneath is Dan Kitchener’s Night Taxi.

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