The Battle Of Ulfreksfjord

According to 13th century Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson, The Battle Of Latharna (now Larne) took place in 1018 between Irish warriors and Orkney vikings at Larne Lough or “Ulfreksfjord” which name eventually became “Olderfleet”, to the south of the harbour.

This is the contribution of artist Kim Montgomery (web) to a Larne Council project to add art to the city centre (BelTel). See previously, Dawn Aston’s Dire Wolf.

Main St, Larne

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This Bare And Tortured Land

The ‘bare and tortured land’ is Messines (now Mesen) in West Flanders, Belgium, where approximately 25,000 soldiers on both sides were killed or injured at the start of June, 1917, as Allied forces retook the ridge between Messines and Wytschaete.

The central figure is the 1922 bronze statue in Winchester, England, by John Tweed, depicting a soldier from the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, which does not appear to have fought at Messines, though both the 36th (Ulster) and 16th (Irish) divisions were there (WP) and this is the reason for a number of Messines murals that have been painted in recent years: see Messines 1917 and Brothers In Arms in Newtownards | Comrades In Arms in Londonderry. During the battle, Sopwith Pups (biplanes – the triplane was used by naval squadrons (Military History)) were ordered to fly low and strafe enemy targets (Key Aero | FirstWorldWar | Vintage Aviator).

The poetry – “When you and I are buried/With grasses overhead/The memory of our fights will stand/Above this bare and tortured land/We knew ere we were dead.” – appears to be original.

There is a “No ball games allowed” notice on the left-hand side.

By Dee Craig in Wellington Green, Larne

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Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines

Hotelier Henry McNeill, it is reported, brought the horseless carriage to Larne in 1899, in the form of a Daimler Wagonette that he used to ferry guests up and down the coast and in to scenic spots in the Glens Of Antrim – the mechanical future combined with of the timeless beauty of the natural world. Here is a photo of McNeill aloft in 1899; emic (ig) recasts the image as though he were at the helm of a flying machine.

For more emic hands, see: Nothing Is Lost, Everything Is Transformed | 35 | A Lifeboat From Despair | In Bloom

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The Central Antrim Regiment

As this plaque in the Factory area of Larne indicates, the 2nd battalion of the Central Antrim regiment (of the Antrim division) of the Ulster Volunteers was drawn from Larne. Edward Carson reviewed the entire regiment at Drumalis in Larne on July 11th, 1914, (here is a postcard depicting the review) where he was presented with the colours of the 2nd from a Lady Smiley of First Larne Presbyterian. (The colours of the 1st and 2nd battalions are included below; the colours of the 3rd (Carrickfergus) Battalion can be seen at Sam’s Flags.) In the Royal Irish Rifles of WWI, Central Antrim became the 12th battalion (War Time Memories Project); its members included Larne man Rifleman Robert King.

“The Clydevalley flute band [Fb] proudly remembers all who served in the [Antrim Division,] Central Antrim Regt, 2nd Larne Battalion, Ulster Volunteer Force. Lest we forget.”

The plaque is on the gun-running mural and next to a King Billy mural in Greenland Drive. Both murals were seen previously in 2016; see Amazing Night At Larne and Civil & Religious Liberty.

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Rifleman Robert King

The Military Medal (“MM”) “for gallantry in the field” was awarded to Rifleman Robert King of the 12th Royal Irish Rifles in the dispatches of July 12th for his actions on July 1st, the first day of the Battle Of The Somme. King was from Ronald Street in Larne (RIR 12th Fb; there is also a 12th batt RIR memorial association).

The reverse of the medal can be seen in the previous version of this mural.

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Is Your Home Worth Fighting For?

“… It will be too late to fight when the enemy is at your door.” In 1914, at the time of the Larne gun-running – see the mural in the second image and (previously) Amazing Night At Larne – the enemy was the threat of Home Rule and its enforcement by British Army forces and RIC that would remain under British control for at least three years after the commencement of home rule (Home Rule And Ulster’s Resistance p. 9). A bill to amend home rule by excluding some or all of the Ulster counties was introduced in July, 1914 (WP), but both Home Rule and the amendment were put aside when the Great War began; the enemy of Unionists then became the Central Powers. The contemporary enemy is the NI Protocol and Brexit, with the powers in Westminster again suggesting a separation of Britain and (Northern) Ireland.

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Friendship Across The Water

Walker Clubs – one of the associated clubs of the Apprentice Boys – are named for George Walker, joint Governor of Derry (with Lundy) during the siege, who died at the Boyne, on July 1st/12th, 1690 while going to the aid of the Duke Of Schomberg. In the centre is the crest of Londonderry: “Vita, veritas, victoria“.

This board in Larne’s ‘Factory’ districts shows, (clockwise from bottom left): the apprentice boys shutting the gates, the breaking of the boom to relieve the siege, Walker (who was also an Anglican priest) inciting the apprentice boys to shut the gates with a cry of “No surrender”, and, clasped hands signifying the connection between Larne Walker Club (Fb) and Maybole Walker Club in South Ayrshire, Scotland. A list of all the Walker Clubs can be found at ABOD.

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The Irish Dancer

One goal of the voluntary group Larne Renovation Generation (Fb) is to bring “Main Street alive with community spirit in the evenings”. To this end, they are supporting various murals along the street, with this Irish dancer providing a bookmark at the eastern end on the side of the Silver Lounge Café (Fb).

By Visual Waste (web | ig), based on a photograph by Bernie McAllister of a dancer perhaps from the Lisa Dempsey school (Fb).

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Play Spaces Should Be Safe Spaces

“Factory Residents’ Rights – How could any play park be worse than this?” The playground in the Factory area of Larne (Ferris Park) was closed in early 2021 because the surface was deemed unsafe. The local residents held a protest in April aimed at getting the attention of Mid- & East-Antrim council (Fb) and in October the council voted to build a new park some time in 2022 or 2023 if funding is available (NI World). As of mid-February, 2022, the playground is still in disrepair but – as can be seen from these images – it is being used by children.

For the murals on the long wall in the background of the second image, see Ad Vera Petenda.

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Ad Vera Petenda

Here are panels from the long Factory Community Forum mural along the Old Glenarm Road in Larne.

From left to right it features: Larne-born sports stars, footballer Gareth McAuley – who gained 80 caps with Northern Ireland (#GAWA)– and boxer Dave ‘Boy’ McAuley – IBF flyweight champion; scientist Albert Einstein (who does not seem to have any connection to Larne); ‘If you dream it, you can achieve it’; DJ Fergie from Larne; Peace begins with a smile (with a map of the counties of South Carolina, USA – Larne is twinned with Clover, SC); a tall ship and Chaine Memorial; the emblems of Larne High School (motto Ad Vera Petenda, which it translates as “we seek truth”) and Moyle Primary School flanking “Factory Community Forum” (Fb).

With support from the International Fund For Ireland.

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