An Orange parade to celebrate the centennial of Northern Ireland – postponed last year on account of the pandemic – will take place today, with roughly 130 bands marching from Stormont to Belfast city centre (Belfast Live). There is not much indication of the parade in posters or murals, perhaps because the anniversary itself has passed. If we read the community’s concerns from the displays in the window of this Shankill Road shop (just above the old Beresford St and the Mussen Cortège mural), they include the NI centenary and the murder of Lee Rigby (WP) (image above), PTSD (second image), the upcoming platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth (third) – we will have more jubilee photos over the coming week, and the centenary of the Ulster Tower WWI memorial (see e.g. Our Heritage In Your Hands).
“IRA 2, Liverpool 0, and one hit the bar.” This is 35 year-old graffiti that seems to be more durable than the paint that was used to white it out. In 1987 IRA gunmen burst into the Liverpool Bar & Lounge on Donegall Quay – named for the nearby ferry terminal to Liverpool (Belfast Forum) – and killed two off-duty RUC detectives – Michael Malone and Ernest (Stanley) Carson – and injured two others (AP). The case came back into the public eye In 2016 when a man was arrested in connection with the shooting (RTÉ | News Letter); he was later released (BBC).
While 17,000 people in red t-shirts – many of them young (see image below) – were marching for an Irish Language Act (Acht Gaeilge) (BBC | Belfast Live | BelTel | youtube video | organised by An Dream Dearg tw), a dozen grey-hairs were outside city hall protesting the 2022 meeting of the World Economic Forum (which ends tomorrow in Davos). Among the … hypotheses … presented: “Zi great rezet needs war” (a German-ised – and thus more sinister – version of The Great Reset (WEF video); “Pfizer knew their vaccine would kill” (a headline from The Light newspaper; a cashless society will mean a social credit score; devices on the internet of things will be hooked up to a “5G monitoring system”; UBI is “Austerity”; an end to privately-owned businesses; an end to single-family homes; a global government, currency, central bank, and military; an end to all privately-owned property (more threateningly put as “You will own nothing and you will be happy” (meme) at the barrel of a gun).
Today’s post is bookended by two images of the emblem of An Dream Dearg – a white ring or fáinne on a red background – flying over the top of the ‘Rock and on Sliabh Dubh.
There was plenty of support in Belfast for Scottish club Glasgow Rangers as they travelled to Seville last week to compete in the Europa League (previously the “UEFA Cup”) final – the initial images in today’s post show a huge number of banners outside the Berlin Bar on the Shankill (see previously Inter City Regiment), a scarf in the West Kirk Presbyterian (Fb) graveyard (see Who Went To War And Never Returned), and – on the Shore Road in north Belfast – the flag of the Netherlands pressed into service for its red, white, and blue.
Rangers lost on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt and attention now turns to Liverpool’s match against Real Madrid this Saturday in the Champions League final in the Stade De France in Paris. There is already some support for Liverpool on display in Belfast, as illustrated by the West Kirk graveyard (again) and a flag of the manger and stars à la Abbey Road in the Village (south Belfast) – the “Fab Four” are manager Jürgen Klopp of Germany, and players Virgil Van Dijk of The Netherlands, Sadio Mané of Senegal, and Mo Salah of Egypt. Here is a list of all the Liverpool supporters clubs in NI.
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.
“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.”
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.
Voters go to the polls today for the NI Assembly elections, with the potential for significant changes compared to previous years: a CNR party – Sinn Féin – is predicted to win the most seats and votes for the first time in the 100-year history of Northern Ireland (LucidTalk). Here is a third and final batch of electoral hoardings and placards (previously: What Did You Do In The Election? | Had Enough?). Above: SDLP hoping to “deliver” a Tiny Life “miracle baby”; second: UUP‘s “Northern Ireland deserves better” and Alliance‘s “Together we can”; third, (Lucozade,) SDLP “working” for west Belfast, IRSP “Demand better”, and Aontú “Life, unity, economic justice”. in CNR west Belfast; fourth, TUV‘s “Principle, integrity, strength”; fifth, the Socialist Party’s “We can’t live with capitalism” along with independent Elly Odhiambo (occasional columnist in Belfast Media publications) in south Belfast. Not included here are Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, the Green Party, the PUP and the DUP.
Two types of mourner at the grave of a fallen WWI soldier: on the left, comrades in arms; on the right, members of the family they left behind.
Work on the mural began in December, 2021, but progress seems to have stalled. One of the bayonets is in outline as is the giant poppy overheard. The effect is that the scene seems to be taking place under the stars.