The Pride Of Whitehill

This UVF hooded gunman board (above the Pride Of Whitehill flute band (Fb) mural) was previously a memorial to the 36th (Ulster) Division (see They Sleep Side-By-Side) but has now become part of the East Belfast battalion’s markings in Bangor (see Always A Little Further).

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Undefeated

“We have given much, we have much to give”. Earlier murals on this wall in the Caw (2015 | 2011) were similarly divided into Ulster Volunteers/Ulster Division on the left and the modern UVF on the right. But this version shows a UVF “hooded gunman” whereas before on both sides there were graveside mourners. There is also a very rare (and possibly unique) reference to the H-Blocks, rather than the Long Kesh cages – a watchtower and walls are included above Carson’s portrait.

On the left are the Union Flag, Covenant, the Clyde Valley, graveside mourner in WWI, and Carson. On the right a UVF hooded gunman, the PUP emblem and slogan “Country Before Party”, and the flag of the UVF (Londonderry company).

The plaque, which has been retained from previously, reads “In proud memory of our fallen comrades from the Nelson Drive flute band. Glorious on the graves of heroes, kindly on all those who have suffered for the cause. Thus will shine the dawn. They gave their tomorrow for our today.”

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The People’s Queen Is Dead

Upon news of Queen Elizabeth’s death, the platinum jubilee mural at the bottom of Crimea Street became a memorial, with hundreds of bouquets being laid before it and a “wall of condolences” set up. (For the mural itself, see The People’s Monarch.) In addition, to the right-hand side has been added a small commemoration of her passing, with a quote from her son, the newly acceded King Charles:

“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world”; “Long live the king!”

The fifteen commonwealth “realms” (previously called “dominions”) share a monarch – formerly Elizabeth II and now Charles III – while the commonwealth comprises 41 additional nations, including some which are now republics: Barbados, for example, became a republic on November 30th last year (2021) but is still in the Commonwealth (WP). Additional countries might take the passing of Elizabeth as a suitable juncture at which to sever ties (Edinburgh News has a round-up | for the Bahamas see Caribbean National Weekly | for Canada see Toronto Star).

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At The Heart Of Bloomfield

The hooded UDA gunmen stare down at you in the green in the middle of Bloomfield (Bangor) estate. The new printed board replaces the similar North Down battalion mural seen in Always Remembered. (The plaque to Andrew McIlvenny and Roy Officer has been moved to the right-hand side.) There are smaller UDA boards – one on top of some old “UVF” graffiti (third image) – and one RHC board on the other gables around the green; not included here is the somewhat odd history of Bloomfield that only shows images from the Shankill in Belfast – see A Journey Through Time And Space.

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Welcome To Antiville

“Antiville” is perhaps derived from the Irish “an tigh bhile, “the house of/by the sacred tree” (rather than just “the house of the old tree”, as on the board below). The two boards shown here are at the Linn Road entrance to the estate: above is the UDA’s welcome, below is the welcome from the Bonfire committee and Antiville Partnership (Fb), showing a tree. The 2022 Antiville bonfire was torn down after the death of one of its builders, John Steele – see With Heart And Hand.

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On The Way To The Shops

There are nine gable walls along Clanmorris Avenue, Whitehill (Bangor) which – more importantly – can be seen from the South Circular Road approaching the Bloomfield shopping centre. On many of these walls “UVF reserved” has now appeared, even on the one that recently acquired a UDA board (see third image, below). Above: a small “UVF pilgrims” board; bottom: “RIP GFA“; in between: “The media is the virus”.

Previously: Booked | Reserved | A Message From The Board

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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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Republican Prisoners Still Exist!

“Foremost in my tortured mind is the thought that there can never be peace in Ireland until the foreign, oppressive British presence is removed, leaving all the Irish people as a unit to control their own affairs and determine their own destinies as a sovereign people, free in mind and body, separate and distinct physically, culturally and economically.” The quote is from day one of Bobby Sands’s hunger strike diary (March 1st, 1981) and the photograph is a 2007 image of a cell in the H-4 (Irish Times).

“Maghaberry – Portlaoise – Hydebank. Republican prisoners still exist!” IRPWA (web) board on Divis St, Belfast, replacing the Sands & Hughes mural – see Cairde Agus Comrádaithe.

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Bill Of Shame

A rally against the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy And Reconciliation) Bill takes place later today, congregating at City Hall after marching from three locations around the city (the McGurks Bar memorial in north Belfast), Divis tower in west Belfast, and Cromac Square near the Markets. The Bill passed the House Of Commons in July despite criticism from all sides, including the DUP, Alliance, and the SDLP – Colm Eastwood called it “shameful” and a “whitewash” (Breaking News). One criticism of the bill is that the body it would establish (the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery) must not place at risk the national security of the UK, which is taken to mean protection for UK government officials (Irish Central). It is also thought not to be compliant with the Human Rights Act (ITV
| BelTel).

The rally is organised by the Time For Truth campaign (web).

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Defund The Police

These are new IRSP (web) boards along the Falls Road, opposite the leisure centre and below the IRA memorial garden, highlighting two of the organisation’s most pressing concerns: the PSNI and housing.

“The deadly web of corruption: Funding Scams, Sectarianism, MI5 Special Branch, Internment by Remand, Diplock Non-Jury Courts, Political Policing, Public Interest Immunity Certificates, Collusion/Coverups”,” “Defund – disarm – disband”

“Drop the rents – west Belfast demands affordable housing and an end to landlord exploitation.”

“96% of Divis residents do no support the PSNI” was seen previously – see For A Socialist Republic – and “Divis ’81” replaces the 40th anniversary hunger strike board.

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