The Portrush Flyer is a steam-engine train service operating (since 1973) between Belfast and Portrush on Sundays during the summer months. The mural, in Ards Park, Monkstown, replaces a UFF mural dating back to 2001. Shown is engine ‘No. 85’ (which is just one of the engines that have been used; for images of ‘No. 171’, ‘No. 4’, ‘No. 85’, and ‘No. 131’ dating back to the 1970s, see SteamTrainsIreland) passing under one of the “new” viaducts (for more info, see Geograph). For an image of the mural’s 2019 launch, see Newtownabbey Times.
The “Ulster’s Finest” mural in Monkstown was remarkable for its depiction of two female volunteers, carrying Uzis, the only depiction of female loyalist volunteers (see Rolston ‘Women on the walls’ in Crime Media Culture 14.3, 2018, p. 373). It was plastered over in 1996 because the gable is next to Hollybank primary. Some of the pebbledash wore away in January/February to reveal the mural – still in good condition – beneath (Vintage_UVF).
Ten years after ending its armed campaign, the Red Hand Commando in 2017 applied to be de-proscribed, on the basis that it had given up its arms in 2009 and transformed itself into an ‘old comrades association’ (see the emblem in the bottom left of the wide shot) (BBC | NewsLetter). According to this mural, however, B company is ready to reform in response to those who “play with peace”, fifty years later (or so – the mural claims the group was founded in 1970; other sources give 1972 (WP cites Peter Taylor).
“50 years has passed/We were forced to don our masks/Don’t play with peace/Or attack our land/We await in the shadows/B Coy Red Hand”
“Pretani” is the Brittonic version of the Greek term “Prettanoi”, possibly borrowed from the Gauls (WP), for the inhabitants of the two islands now known as Ireland and Britain, and “Cruthin” the Gaelic term. According to the eponymous web site, Dalaradia was “was a kingdom of the Cruthin in the north-east of Ireland and parts of Scotland in the first millennium” with the Cruthin being (more narrowly than above) a people in Antrim and Down with (in the middle of the mural) “the field of Crewe Hill, with the Ancient Crowning Stone of Ulster Kings” (REACH) in Glenavy (pretani.co.uk).
The WP page on the Cruthin notes, “The name Cruthin survives in the placenames Duncrun (Dún Cruithean, “fort of the Cruthin”) and Drumcroon (Droim Cruithean, “ridge of the Cruthin”) in County Londonderry, and Ballycrune (Bealach Cruithean, “pass of the Cruthin”) and Crown Mound (Áth Cruithean, “ford of the Cruthin”) in County Down. These placenames are believed to mark the edges of Cruthin territory.”
The towers of Rathcoole can be seen beneath the slogan “Respect, heritage, culture.”
Irish-language signage was in the news recently after Antrim & Newtownabbey council threatened an 85-year-old Randalstown pensioner with a fine of up to 2,500 pounds if she failed to remove a street sign erected by her granddaughter (Irish Central). So far, no action has been taken by the same council against the Glengormley graffitist who added Irish to the new ‘welcome’ sign on the bridge near the Bellevue Arms, though without translating the placename: “Fáilte go dtí (Gleann Ghormlaithe).” There is a matching sign at the other end of the area, on Sandyknowes roundabout.
The long wait for fans of the television series Game Of Thrones is over as season eight commences this week. Season seven ended in August 2017. Above is Daenyres of House Targaryen, seeking to reclaim the Iron Throne from her base in the Bawnmore estate. Previously: The Night King.
South East Antrim UDA, 1st battalion, mural, complete with assault rifle, next to the Youth & Community Centre at the Diamond in Rathcoole. Two men from the area were convicted in December (2018) for attempting to purchase Glock pistols from PSNI officers posing as ‘dark web’ sellers (BelTel). Fears of a feud continue (Belfast Live).
The ‘Liverpool No. 4 battalion’ UVF mural in Tynan Drive, Monkstown, (seen previously) has been replaced by a Dee Craig (Fb) mural to the soldiers of the Ulster Volunteers (see the ‘bleeding hand’ symbol in the apex) at the Somme. The small plaque on the fence to John Webster (a.k.a. Webber), Lee Irwin & Steven Cook, remains.