“#ItsOKToTalk” “This art project was completed as part of Alternative – Safer Areas For Everyone (SAFE) project. The young people involved identified mental health as the theme for their art project and incorporated positive mental health messages & support numbers to highlight the issue. The group also identified the “Steps” area as the location for the art work, to help brighten up the area which had become unsightly, neglected and a focus for anti-social behaviour. This project also engaged with the residents through door to door surveys, provided information leaflets on support services and organised community clean ups to help improve community pride & spirit in the area. Special thanks to Jamie, Dylan, Kyle, Corey and Mason who showed positive leadership in their community, to street artist Emic & Sam from Signlink for the art work & graphics and to the local residents and young people who were involved in the clean ups. SAFE Shankill is supported by the The Executive Office through Communities In Transition programme.”
Five steps to mental health – give, connect, be active, take notice, keep learning – and affirmations to live by – “This is me”, “You’re a superstar”, “I am what I am”, and “Simply the best“. Part of the Shankill SAFE (Safer Areas For Everyone) project in the Woodvale, with support from Alternatives and the Communities In Transition programme.
Garlands of flowers rest at the base of the (upper) mural to UVF volunteer Brian Robinson on the thirtieth anniversary of his death, on September 2nd, 1989, by a British Army undercover unit, moments after he had shot and killed a Catholic civilian named Patrick McKenna on the Crumlin Road (WP).
The other (lower) mural to Robinson in Disraeli Street is shown in the image below (and previously in Shankill Star). “1st batt, B coy, Vol Brian Robinson killed in action 2nd Sept 1989. For his country and people he took up the gun, a volunteer to the end, and a true Ulster son. Robbed of his life’s blood in Sept. 89, but the name Brian Robinson will live for all time.”
The Battle Of Assaye (India) took place on September 23rd, 1803, and the 74th regiment of the Royal Highland Fusiliers became known as the Assaye regiment in recognition of their performance (WP). By the time of WWI, the regiment had been merged into the Highland Light Infantry, whose 2nd battalion fought at the Somme in 1916 alongside the 36th (Ulster) Division (WP). The Highlanders’ emblem (which still includes the word “Assaye”) is on the right, the Ulster Volunteers’ on the left. In the apex are the flags of the UVF and YCV (14th battalion Royal Irish Rifles). This new mural commemorates the UVF volunteers of both WWI and the Scottish brigade: J. Rankin, Br. Creer, B. Wilson, B. Creer, A. Steele.
“Ulster and Scotland did answer the call/Together in battle they bled and fall/Shoulder to shoulder their lives they did give/It’s to them we give thanks/For the lives that we live.”
“We are the dead. Short days ago/We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow/Loved and were loved/And now we lie/In Flanders Fields.”
The memorial to Brian “Herbie” McCallum at the top of Ainsworth Avenue received a major upgrade late last year, with two new plaques and a mural (shown above) along with a side wall that will be featured in a separate post. The long plaque reads: “June 1993 brought extreme Republican violence and agitation surrounding the annual Orange Whiterock parade, which was travelling its traditional route past this very spot and onto the Springfield Road. The threat being so severe to this community, the 1st Belfast Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force deployed several armed active service units. Herbie being Herbie was first to volunteer for duty. Realising the grenade he had been issued with had malfunctioned and giving absolutely no consideration for his own safety, he carried the device to a safe location, away from men, women and children. This one selfless act costs Herbie his life when the grenade detonated prematurely. Volunteer Brian “Herbie” McCallum died 29th June 1993. Sadly missed by his family friends and comrades. Rest easy soldier your duty is done. For God and Ulster.” McCallum died three days after the explosion.
“There is discipline in a volunteer/You can see it when he walks/There is honour in a volunteer,/You can hear it when he talks/There is courage in a volunteer,/You can see it in his eyes/There is loyalty in a volunteer/That he will not compromise.”
“We will remember him. The officers and members of Sweeney’s ‘A’ Company 1st Belfast Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force.”
“When the name is called by the one above/Their troubles at once did cease/Like the people who went there before them/I prey they will rest in peace.” The words of Shankill man Albert Haslett are used on a Daniella Balmaverde mosaic commemorating the dead buried in Shankill graveyard. The full poem can be found at Belfast Experience, which claims that the number of burials is about half a million. NVTv has a interview program with Haslett, who died in January of last year (2017) – photos and remembrance at Shankill Area Social History group.
Here’s the left-hand side of the UDA mural in Disraeli Street being launched today (June 3rd, 2017). As can be seen most clearly in the final, sideways-on, image, both pieces are a combination of printed poster and attached boards. Lines from Laurence Binyon’s poem For The Fallen of WWI are used: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old/Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun/And in the morning we shall remember them.”
Here is the main part of a new printed mural in the Woodvale area of west Belfast (to be officially launched on Saturday, June 3rd, when we’ll feature the smaller part). It celebrates the creation of the Woodvale Defence Association as “Defenders of our community since 1969” which in 1971 merged with other associations to form the UDA, whose youth wing is the UYM (lower middle, “terrae filius” = “sons of the soil”) and which uses “UFF” (upper left, “feriens ego” = “attack to defend”) as a cover for military operation. The final emblem is of the LPA (Loyalist Prisoners’ Association, “quis separabit” = “none shall separate us”). The mural replaced by this one is in the bottom left, while the bottom right contains an image of Long Kesh in 1979. The main photograph is of a 1972 march on the Shankill.
More “peace” line images today (after yesterday’s repainting of the Cliftonville “peace” line in Blue Sky Thinking): at the end of February work began taking down a section of the 8 foot high wall on the Ardoyne side of the Crumlin Road, separating Ardoyne from the Woodvale area, though the section close to Woodvale and the wall on the Woodvale side remain for now.
The houses on the north side of the road will now be able to see the road and the doors of Holy Cross church (shown above).
The vintage piece of Free Brendan Lillis graffiti shown in the final image survives, just out of picture to the left in the wide shot below.