The Lion And The Elk

The Northern Ireland government’s coat of arms was approved for use in 1924, three years after the government was established. Its “supporters” – the red lion of Scotland and an Irish elk, carrying (respectively) Irish harp and De Burgh flags, and standing on a grassy mound with flax plants – were added later.

This mural celebrating the centenary of Northern Ireland’s creation, in the Woodburn estate, Carrickfergus, accurately shows the Tudor crown on the arms, as was used at the time of creation and prior to the Edwardian crown (WP).

For a similar design, see Defending Freedom From Hate in Highfield.

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Comply With Your Country’s Demand

In September, 1914, six weeks after the Great War had begun, Edward Carson wrote to the Ulster Volunteers entreating “those who have not already responded” to “my call for Defenders of the Empire” to “enlist at once for the Ulster Division in Lord Kitchener’s Army”, fighting alongside “our fellow Britishers”: “Quit yourselves like men and comply with your country’s demand”. The impulse for the display of force shown here – two panels of hooded gunmen from the 1st East Antrim battalion of the UVF – is the other, original, motivation for the paramilitary force, which Carson describes as “to defend our citizenship in the United Kingdom” (Strachan & Nally).

For the RIR mural, see For Valour. The new panels shown here re-re-image the VC part of that previous mural.

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Maintain The Union

“Loyalist Woodburn celebrates 100th anniversary Northern Ireland”. Maintain the union of (left to right) England (St George’s Cross), Wales (The Red Dragon), Northern Ireland (Ulster Banner), Scotland (St Andrew’s Saltire). Along the fence we have the NI coat of arms, Ulster Grenadiers flute band (Fb) celebrating its 25th anniversary, King Billy at the Boyne, “Ulster Scots” (on an Independent Ulster flag?), Captain Sir Tom Moore, a Union Flag, Rangers 55, an Ulster Banner. The crown sits atop all.

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Sweet Way To Go Gay!

“Handily packed, delicious to eat, Spangles are the fruitiest sweet! Only 3d a packet. Made by Mars.” A 1952 magazine advertisement for Spangles in the window of a vintage shop in Carrickfergus, showing a street party, perhaps in anticipation of the coronation of Elizabeth II, 16 months after she became queen in February 1952. The boiled sweets were a staple of life until 1984 (WP).

Other early ads for Spangles, which were introduced in 1950, note the price is 3d “and only one point”, meaning that customers would have to use one of the 16 points for non-essential goods from their ration books; control of sweets did not end until February, 1953 (WP).

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The Liberties Of England

William III, statholder of Holland, landed at Torbay, England, in November, 1688 with 250+ ships and 30,000 men in order to overthrow the Catholic convert James II who had become king in 1685. As he came ashore he proclaimed “the liberties of England and the Protestant religion I will maintain.” As king of England, William was automatically made king of Ireland, but he and his forces had to go to Ireland to win the island from James and the forces loyal to him. Schomberg had already successfully besieged Carrickfergus in 1689 when William landed in June 1690 and moved south to join Schomberg at Dundalk.

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Rock Of Ages

Carrickfergus castle was founded by the Anglo-Norman knight John de Courcy in 1177 and it became the stronghold of power in the north of Ireland, leading to its besiegement over time by a litany of Scots, Irish, English – including under Schomberg in 1689 – and French forces (WP). In the present day, the flag of a Kingdom uniting England, Scotland, and (Northern) Ireland currently flies on Marine Highway next to the sculpture showing three Anglo-Norman knights defending the castle (unsuccessfully) against the forces of Edward Bruce of Scotland in 1315 (info plaque). The sculptor is unknown.

See also The Carrickfergus Knights, a painting of the statues on a shop’s shutters in the town.

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Below The Castle Walls

Carrickfergus castle was built in 1177 and has seen multiple battles in the intervening years, including the Battle Of Carrickfergus in 1597 in which the MacDonnells and O’Neills defeated the forces of Elizabeth I (WP). Its military history makes it a fitting spot for a remembrance of the dead of WWI from the 36th Division.

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The Burning Bush

“To commemorate the establishment of Presbyterianism in Ireland through the formation of the first presbytery which met in Carrickfergus on 10th June 1642.” Presbyterianism began in Scotland circa 1560 under John Knox and spread to Ireland with the colonising settlers of the 1600s. (For more on the first presbytery, see Ancestry Ireland.) Although Presbyterians supported the Williamite campaign they were subsequently discriminated against as “dissenters” from Anglicanism.

The sculpture is at Joymount Presbyterian in Carrickfergus.

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Stones Of Hope

“If you’re looking for a sign … this is it.” ‘Stones of hope’ in support of mental health at the sea wall in Carrickfergus.

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Don’t Let Anything Stop You From Coming To Carrickfergus

This is the second half of the Carrickfergus Timeline in Market Place, covering the history of the town from arrival of King William and General Schomberg to the modern day, including the last witch trial in Ireland and the construction of a railway allowing tourists sailing into Larne to reach the town easily: “Don’t let anything stop you from coming to Carrickfergus – if you cannot get on a train, hire a donkey cart”. The panels were written by Seth Linder.

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