My Da Was A Pigeon Man

Here are six pieces on the fence above the Townsend Street gates in the west Belfast “peace” line (seen previously Da War Is Not Over Yet and Mickey Marley’s Roundabout) depicting life in years gone by in the Townsend Street/Brown’s Square area. The six are (from left to right on the street/top to bottom on this page):

My Da Was A Pigeon Man – a tribute to the many pigeon lofts and clubs in Belfast. There is a pigeon-loft mural in east Belfast.

Messages – “Doing” or “running” “messages” means grocery shopping.

Half Moon – the “half moon” was the semi-circular area on the pavement outside a terraced house that would become shiny with repeated washing. Here are some descriptions and memories from Belfast Forum.

Born, Wed And Buried On Townsend St

Atlas & Soho: The Soho iron foundry in Townsend Street was owned and managed by Robert Shipboy McAdam and his brother James (Ricorso | Grace’s); the Atlas foundry was at 73 Townsend Street and owned by Victor C Taylor (Lennon Wylie).

Dog Walking Man

These appear to be prints or photographs on boards, rather than stone casts as on the CNR side of the gates: see The Oasis.

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Gertrude Street Defenders

Gertrude Street no longer exists – it was just east of where Wolff Close now is. But the Gertrude Street Defenders LOL 525 (Fb) brought back a former lodge (Lees Temperance/East Belfast Orange) March 2017, with former members of the Gertrude Star flute band (News Letter). For the five-flowered board on the right, see The Flax And The Lily. This pair of boards is on the courtyard fencing around the Westbourne Glentoran Supporters Club, off the Newtownards Road in the old Solway Street.

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The Dress Is Yellow And Black

“Geraldine Connon [web] – Geraldiine is a well renowned fashion designer based in Larne. She has created this piece inspired by the Games of Thrones and Larne’s Ulster Scots Heritage. Geraldine used Irish linen in the tasel [sic], mesh within the helmet, and created the neck cuff from black feathers representing a crow. Crows are iconic in the TV series. The yellow and black tartan skirt brings in the Ulster Scots element to the piece. The image was photographed by fashion photographer Mitchell Cahoon [ig].”

The official name of the outfit is “Valentine”. This is another of the Game Of Thrones-inspired pieces in Larne town centre – Lower Quay St in this case – sponsored by the Mid & East Antrim Council, with Larne Renovation Generation (Fb) and the Traders Forum (BelTel | News Desk | Fb video). See previously: Larne – The Original Tourist Resort | The Battle Of Ulfreksfjord | Dire Wolf.

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Peace If Possible, Truth At All Costs

“Londonderry west bank loyalists” are “still under siege”, at first from two decades of “Republican violence” – “Between 1971 and 1991 the Protestant population of the Cityside declined by 83.4% as a result of Republican violence (Shirlow et al. 2005)” – hence the boarded- and dressed-up windows – and now from the “PSNI”.

(The words “as a result of Republican violence” are not included in the Shirlow article).

Hawkin Street, in the Fountain, Londonderry.

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martin luther no surrender NI100 northern ireland centenary
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Sovereignty, Not Stormont

This is the scene on the green-spaces on Lecky Road, Derry. The area is heavily trafficked by tourists visiting around Free Derry Corner (Visual History of the front | rear), the People’s Gallery murals (Visual History), the Hunger Strike Memorial, and the Museum Of Free Derry (web). Anti-Agreement groups thus use the area to get their messages across. In today’s post we see “Sovereignty, not Stormont” from the 32CSM (web); an RNU (Fb) board in support of the “Craigavon 2”; “Stop the extradition of Liam Campbell”, probably from Republican Sin Féin (web) – contrary to the board beneath the one showing, Campbell was extradited to Lithuania but his case was dismissed in October on the grounds that the statute of limitations had passed (Sunday World); an IRA nail-up on a light-pole; a “Remember the ten” 40th anniversary commemoration of the 1918 hunger strike, from IRSP/IRSM (web); and an IRPWA (web) board supporting republican prisoners (previously included in British Gaols In Ireland).

Also on the green is an olive tree for unity.

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Heeding The Call

“Where so ever, how so ever or whenever we are called upon to make our exit, we will do as proud men.” This is quite a different message from the one produced within the Rathcoole estate for the 50th anniversary of the Red Hand Commandos, which stated that despite its venerable age, the four Rathcoole companies of the RHC “Await In The Shadows“. (That mural also depicted the kneeling men with sticks (on the left of today’s mural) and the linked post also contains the original photograph.)

It’s not clear who or what within loyalism might call upon the RHC to stand down; loyalist rhetoric at the moment is full of anger at the protocol and warnings/threats about of a return to violence (e.g. BelTel | BBC).

For the use of “Lamh Dear Abu” as the slogan, see Ulster Says “Tá”.

O’Neill Road, Newtownabbey.

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The Earth Writes Upon The Sky

Two Larne trees: above, the tree mosaic at the Town Hall steps created by artist Janet Crymble (see previously Sports We Love), with support from Larne Renovation Regeneration, Larne Trader’s Forum, and Mid & East Antrim Borough Council (NIWorld); below, the “Armada Tree” that is purported to have sprung from a chestnut or chestnut seeds in the pocket of a dead sailor in the Spanish Armada – the tree fell over after 432 years in 2020, a victim of root disease (anglican.org), but is remembered by the board depicting it in Upper Main Street, Larne.

“Local legend has it that when the Spanish Armada was passing these shores in 1588, a sailor was washed up at Ballygally village, no doubt from one of the ships blown off course by gales. Locals were said to have taken the body and buried it in the graveyard of the picturesque St Patrick’s Church at Cairncastle. The ancient tree beside the chuch grew from one of the chestnut seeds that the sailor had in his pocket when he was buried. The tree has been analysed and found to date back to the sixteenth century, adding credence to the story.”

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The Dead We Honour Here

“The dead we honour here made the noble sacrifice for a cause that should never be forgotten.” A new board has been added to the memorial to the Ulster Volunteers on the Newtownards Road at St Leonard’s Crescent (the old Newcastle Street) over the bricked-up windows of the Belvoir Bar (see previously Not For Sale). The annual parade of the Belvoir Somme Association took place at the end of September (youtube)

The portrait of Carson was previously on the corner of Welland Street. The UVF Band mural is to the right of the memorial: see The Great War and They Said We’d Never Last.

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Ulster’s VC Heroes david nelson ernest wright alexander william mcfadzean edmund de win richard annesley west hugh colvin james somers jams duffy robert morrow edward barry stewart bingham thomas hughes robert hill hanna robert quigg john spencer dunville eric norman frankland bell james crichton geoffrey st. george shillington cather james anson otho brooke john alexander sinton dedicated to the women of east belfast that served in wwi and wwii

The Great War And The Recent Conflict

“In remembrance of all those Ulster men and women from the greater Dunmurry area who died during the Great Wars 1914-18 and 1939-45. Also those men and women who died during the recent conflict. Lest we forget.” These are the same words as appeared on a plaque on the previous memorial, which included the Special Constabulary. In the background is a “Welcome to loyalist Seymour Hill” board with a 2021 tarp “Seymour Hill says no to the Irish Sea border” – both with flags and poppies.

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Those Lives Changed Forever

“The Woodvale Blitz occurred when German air raids took place during the spring of 1941. The first raid took place on April 7th/8th, the next raid came at Easter on April 15th/16th, the 3rd air raid would come on the May 4th/5th and the final air raid would take place May 5th/6th. These attacks on the city would result in over 1,000 civilians being killed and 1,5000 injured. This was the highest casualty rate of any air raids outside London during the Second World War. It was in these streets that the Woodvale area was indiscriminately attacked resulting in the total devastation of Heather Street, Ohio Street, Palmer Street and Disraeli Street resulting in the loss of many lives injuring 100’s more, most of those lives lost were families who had lived in the area for generations. The effects of the air raids and the devastation caused would last for many years to come.” The names of 79 victims are given on the right (see close-up below).

“The Woodvale Blitz April-May 1941. ‘But for the loyalty of Northern Ireland we should have been confronted with slavery and death and the light which now shines so strongly throughout the world would have been quenched’ – Prime Minister Winston Churchill 1945. We remember those who were killed, those who survived and those lives changed forever.”

The Women Through The Ages mural has disappeared from the adjacent wall.

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