The Men And Women Of Violence

“Saoradh salute the men and women of violence.” Namely the signatories to the 1916 Proclamation, the women of the 1970s IRA, and modern “dissidents” with home-made weapons. Soaradh currently (mid-late 2019, in the wake of the death of Lyra McKee) no longer has a web site or Twitter feed, and the Belfast and Derry section’s Facebook pages are non-existent (other section’s pages are still up, including Tyrone, Dublin, and Munster).

On the same wall as the Larry Marley plaque.

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The Shadow Of A Gunman

Lyra McKee was killed observing a riot in Creggan, Derry, in April. The (New) IRA apologised for the consequences of the gun attack on police but did not suggest an end to violence (Guardian). The (presumably unfinished) stencil to McKee’s memory on Ardoyne Avenue (below) is now in the shadow of the “IRA” and assault rifle cut-outs (shown above) on the lamp-pole opposite.

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Robbed Of His Life’s Blood

Garlands of flowers rest at the base of the (upper) mural to UVF volunteer Brian Robinson on the thirtieth anniversary of his death, on September 2nd, 1989, by a British Army undercover unit, moments after he had shot and killed a Catholic civilian named Patrick McKenna on the Crumlin Road (WP).

The other (lower) mural to Robinson in Disraeli Street is shown in the image below (and previously in Shankill Star). “1st batt, B coy, Vol Brian Robinson killed in action 2nd Sept 1989. For his country and people he took up the gun, a volunteer to the end, and a true Ulster son. Robbed of his life’s blood in Sept. 89, but the name Brian Robinson will live for all time.”

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What I Have Witnessed In Botanic Gardens

At 28 acres, Belfast’s Botanic Gardens are large enough to contain a variety of attractions, from the Ulster Museum, to two glass houses (the Palm House, designed by Charles Lanyon, and the Tropical Ravine, opened in 1889 under head gardener Charles McKimm (Ulster Biography) whose portrait appears at the centre of this board, below), to a large rose garden, to its large parklands, site of events such as the launch of Henry Coxwell’s hot air balloon on July 3rd, 1865 (“You won’t believe what I have witnessed in Botanic Gardens. A monstrous balloon was being launched into the sky.” – the balloon escaped: “She has gone across the sea, but it is not known whither.” concludes the account by the Sydney Empire) and the final public appearance of tightrope walker Charles Blondin in 1896. (“He went up and down and up again, all the way along the rope he did his different moves: handstands, cartwheels, running. He was just like a circus acrobat. Mssr Blondin was up there with another man on his back. Blondin was just walking about easily, the other man felt terrible.)

The statue to Belfast-born Lord Kelvin is at the Stranmillis entrance to the park.

This is the second part (up to WWI) of a 27m-long history of Botanic Gardens by artist Peter Strain and poet Emma Must (BelTel).

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Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen, And Ardoyne

Martin Meehan joined the IRA in 1966 and was one of a few IRA volunteers defending Catholics in Ardoyne (Ard Eoin) in August 1969. Rioting did not cease there until the 16th, when British troops were finally deployed to the Crumlin Road to block mobs coming from the Woodvale and Shankill. Meehan resigned after the failure of the IRA to defend Ardoyne, Clonard, and Divis. This Magill article from the time summarises the IRA’s actions as “late, amateur and uncertain”.(Meehan would later rejoin the IRA and PIRA.)

After a few years honoring Seán McCaughey (see Chains And Bonds Have No Part In Us), Martin Meehan’s image (along with an RNU phoenix) is back on the Ardoyne Avenue gable that bears his plaque. The title of today’s post is based on the song “The Night We Burnt Ardoyne“.

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Sydenham For Jesus

“This is a neighbourhood watch area”, says the small sign sandwiched between the UVF East Belfast battalion flag and the “Jesus is alive” placard.

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Clonard Remembers

“Is cuimhin linn.” Last week saw a series of events, organised by the Belfast 1969 Pogroms Commemoration Committee, in Clonard, Falls, and Ardoyne, including a photographic exhibition, documentary screenings, panel discussions, a play, a mass, and murals (Irish News), including The Pogrom Of August 1969 and the one above, in Bombay Street, which used to run between the Shankill and Falls but after the riots and burnings of August 1969 was split in two by a so-called “peace” line (see the wide shot, below).

“These are terrible days … but some good has already come from these attacks on our communities. You have young people and elderly people all closely knit together and that is a grand thing. We must not allow hatred to spring up in our hearts. For what we are aiming for now is justice. We demand justice. We are not begging for it – we are demanding it. It is our right and we will keep on demanding it until we get it. We don’t ask for anything more – just a fair deal … that we will soon have a community where everybody, irrespective of religious belief or irrespective of political ideology will be able to lead a normal life and will not be unjustly discriminated against.” – Fr Patrick Egan, sermon in Clonard Monastery, August 1969 (youtube).

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Kill Your Speed

A message from the students at Glenwood Primary School: “Kill your speed, not a child. Look at the road, not your phone.” With support from the Greater Shankill A[ction for] C[omunity] T[ransformation] Initiative (Fb). Although these are boards, they have been printed to look as though they are on brick. BelfastLive has a gallery of images from the 2016 launch. Shankill Road at the top of Lanark Way.

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The Loyal 36th

“Off to France our boys were sent. All gave some, some gave all – In memory of the loyal 36th.” The first phrase might come from the Rangers’ song ‘We’re Coming Down The Road‘. The second phrase dates not to WWI but the Korean War in the 1950s (Reference). Kitchener Drive, the Village.

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The Pogrom Of August 1969

This August marks the 50th anniversary of what are euphemistically called “The Troubles”. The Battle Of The Bogside (Derry) began on August 12th; in Belfast, fighting began on the night of August 14th and before dawn three people in the Divis Street area were dead: Protestant Herbert Roy and Catholics Patrick Rooney and Hugh McCabe, both shot in the Divis flats complex by the RUC’s Shorland armoured cars. (Two other Catholics were killed in rioting in Ardoyne.) This new board is on Divis tower, next to the plaque commemorating Rooney and McCabe.

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X05989 X05990 “Ar eagla go ndéanfadh muid dearmad” [for fear we would forget/lest we forget] “erected by the falls commemoration committee” ‘time for truth” “malone road fiddles”  “barricades stay until demands are met”