Those Old Grey Walls Still Firmly Standing

The sights and sounds of Irish Street and Londonderry: (clockwise from right) a verse from Londonderry On The Foyle (youtube) in a frame of the walls of the city of Derry – “But once more I’m coming home aboard a steamship/On Lough Foyle once more I’m passing by Culmore/And I see those old grey walls still firmly standing/There ’round my city Londonderry on the Foyle”; East Bank (Irish Street) Protestant Boys (Fb) on parade; Carson and the signing of the 1912 Covenant; St Columb’s Cathedral; Irish Street FC (Fb).

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Northern Ireland Centennial

Here is a 12-part history of Northern Ireland (and specifically Londonderry) along the length of Sperrin Park in the Caw. After the title panel, the topics are: King George V opens Norther Ireland Parliament, 22nd June, 1921; Amelia Earhart crosses the Atlantic & lands in Londonderry 21st May, 1932; Operation Deadlight: surrender of German U-boats at Lisahally 14th May, 1945; Queen Elizabeth II visits Guildhall Sq. Londonderry 3rd July, 1951; opening of Altnagelvin hospital 1st February, 1960; the exodus of people from Londonderry’s Cityside 1970s; Northern Ireland reach the World Cup finals in Spain 1982; first Maiden City Festival takes place August, 1998; end of ‘Operation Banner’ 31st July, 2007; Londonderry named first UK City Of Culture 2013; Prince Philip the Duke Of Edinburgh 1921-2021.

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Legends Last Forever

“Trophies come and go but legends last forever.” Scott Harvey and Lee Findlay have taken over as the management team of Northern Amateur Football League premier division team East Belfast FC (Fb) (Belfast Live) due to sequestration in connection with the UVF show of strength in Pitt Park in February, 2021 (Belfast Live). The club’s home field is East Park where the mural above stands to former greats (from left to right) Billy Caskey, Billy Humphries, Sammy McCrory, Ian Lawther, Walter Bruce, Roy Coyle, Tom Casey, and Warren Feeney.

Previously at EB FC: The Back Of The Net | Give Sectarianism The Boot

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Nothing about us without us is for us est. 1929

James McClean

Soccer player James McClean grew up in Creggan and – while playing for a succession of English clubs – has been criticised for refusing to wear a poppy (while at Sunderland) and turning his back on the St George’s Cross as ‘God Save The Queen’ played (while at West Bromwich Albion). He also has a tattoo of Free Derry Corner flying a Tricolour on his thigh (Irish Times).

In the mural (by Dublin artist Aches (ig)) McClean is pictured here in an Ireland strip – McClean has 7 caps for the Northern Ireland under-21 squad but plays senior soccer for Ireland (WP).

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Competing In Europe

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.

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Lucky Fives

The slot machine last year came up with a 55 Scottish league title for Rangers and Rangers fans across Belfast celebrated with stickers and flags (Let Us Shout Joyfully | Order Restored | 55 | F*ck Your Ten In A Row | Blues Brothers | We’re Back | Legends Never Die) and also the stencilled electricity box from Berlin Street, west Belfast (above) and the furniture and barrel (below) from Sandy Row, south Belfast. This year is not looking so good, as they are six points down with three games to go (SkySports).

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Maradona Good, Pelé Better, George Best

From the age of two-and-a-half George Best lived in Cregagh and played football on the pitch at the centre of the estate, where Cregagh Boys played their home games. After playing for Lisnasharragh Secondary he went to Manchester United at age fifteen – in 1961 – and from there to international stardom. When he died in 2005, he was remembered in the estate by a mural (that replaced a UFF mural). It stood for about ten years and now been updated with the mural shown in today’s images, along with the family home that has been returned to a 1960’s appearance – complete with George Best memorabilia – and is available to rent on AirBnb. The home and playing fields are also the starting part of the George Best Trail.

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The Bould Bhoys

Carling last sponsored Celtic FC in the 2009-2010 season, which means that the heroes shown in this 2009 mural are another decade in the past. In the apex are Charlie Tully (of Belfast and Glasgow Celtic), Willie Maley (the first manager), Br. Walfrid (founder of the club in 1888), Billy McNeil lifting the European Cup in 1967, Jock Stein (player 1951-1957 and manager 1965-1978), while on the field are former players Henrik Larsson (1997-2004) and Jimmy Johnstone (1962-1965).

In the centre of the image, the team is “doing the huddle”, which is also practiced by Cliftonville.

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The Loyalty Of Northern Ireland

Two final pieces from Lower Waterloo Road, Larne: above, Winston Churchill, and below, Rangers. The Churchill quote comes from a letter to NI Prime Minister John Andrews when he stepped down in 1943. In full it reads “But for the loyalty of Northern Ireland [and its devotion to what has now become the cause of thirty Governments or nations,] we should have been confronted with slavery and death, and the light which now shines so strongly throughout the world would have been quenched.” Had the board been been erected more recently, it might have quoted another line from the letter: “During your Premiership the bonds of affection between Great Britain and the people of Northern Ireland have been tempered by fire, and are now, I firmly believe, unbreakable.”

Below is Walter Smith, two-time manager of Rangers, who died in 2021. See The Gaffer.

This post completes the set from Lower Waterloo Road in Larne – the wide shot shows Mephedrone to the far left; then Rangers, Duke Of Edinburth, NI Centenary, and Churchill; Women Are A Whole Community is out of shot to the right.

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The Flax And The Lily

The orange lily and the (pale blue) flax flower take their place around the Ulster Banner alongside the English rose and Scottish thistle, and the Irish shamrock is retained even in the presence of the lily. The flax is perhaps included because we are in the Factory area of Larne, near the site of a (former) linen mill. The Welsh daffodil is excluded. The detail above is part of a wider board “Boyne Square celebrates 100 years of Northern Ireland”; the flanking emblems of the Boyne Defenders (LOL 1297), Rangers Supporters club (Larne Branch) – which also uses the shamrock – Boyne Square Bonfire Forum, and Larne & District Great War Society and included below; the emblems of three flute bands can be seen in Norman Anderson and The Gunrunners.

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