Free State Post

Letter boxes in the UK (including Ireland) were green until 1874, when they were changed to red. After independence, the Irish (Free State) boxes were painted green and new boxes were cast without mention of the British monarch (Roaring Water). Royal Mail letter boxes in CNR areas have occasionally been painted in green-white-and-orange (Republican Mail | Tricoloured Post Box) as a political statement. The letter box shown above stands on the Ballymoney Road in Armoy.

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Men Of Iron

‘Men Of Iron’ is the name of a 1922 William Conor painting, showing shipyard workers in the shadow of a great ship (you can see it at ArtUK). The painter himself was rendered in bronze (by sculptor Holger Lönze) and stands on the Shankill at the corner with Northumberland Street.

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A Heart That Will Forgive

“In Deo speramus”. “Edgarstown Remembers” “our forty-two fallen sons who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their tomorrow for our today in the Great War 1914-1918.” “Dear Lord, I am just a soldier, a protector of our land/A servant called to battle when my country takes a stand./I pray for strength and courage and a heart that will forgive/For peace and understanding in a world for all to live./My family’s prayers are with me, no matter where I roam./Please listen when I’m lonely and return me safely home – Unknown”

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1st Shankill Somme Association

The Shankill Somme association (Fb) uses the Ulster Tower in Thiepval, France, as its emblem. The association celebrated its 20th anniversary last February (2020) with a parade (gallery of images).

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The Burning Bush

“To commemorate the establishment of Presbyterianism in Ireland through the formation of the first presbytery which met in Carrickfergus on 10th June 1642.” Presbyterianism began in Scotland circa 1560 under John Knox and spread to Ireland with the colonising settlers of the 1600s. (For more on the first presbytery, see Ancestry Ireland.) Although Presbyterians supported the Williamite campaign they were subsequently discriminated against as “dissenters” from Anglicanism.

The sculpture is at Joymount Presbyterian in Carrickfergus.

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Welcome To Carrick Hill

“Fáilte go Cnoc na Carraige” in the arch over the entrance to Carrick Hill, with a simplified United Irishmen symbol at the centre.

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Balmoral Showrooms

The fact that there are three memorials to the Balmoral Furniture bombing speaks to the shock felt at devastating bomb on a busy Shankill Road. The oldest is the small circular plaque: “Balmoral Furniture Showrooms bombed 12.25pm Saturday 11th December 1971. 2 adults & 2 babies killed”; then the Poppy Cross “in memory of the two men and two babies murdered at this spot by a no warning sectarian IRA bomb attack on the Balmoral Furniture shop on 11th December 1971.” and finally the traditional plaque, which names the victims: Colin Nicholl, Tracey Jane Munn, Harold King, Hugh Bruce.

On the side of the Shankill Leisure Centre.

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Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus

“Pro tanto quid retribuamus” [What shall we give in return for so much] is the motto of Belfast, included in the coat of arms shown above and newly appropriate in the coronavirus pandemic. “Thank you to all our NHS staff and essential workers from the local Orange family. Together fighting Covid-19.” The banner is on the Clifton Street hall; King William III bestrides his horse and the horse bestrides the building.

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Speak Friend And Open

A gate was installed in the Alexandra Park “peace” line in 2011 (see this image from that year) which is opened daily to allow pedestrian traffic between Mountcollyer and Newington. During the pandemic, however, the gate has been closed for weeks and there is confusion over the reason  – originally it was said to be due to staffing issues but anti-social behaviour has also been mentioned (Irish News).

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Fact And Myth Riveted Together

“Overlooked by the iconic Harland and Wolff cranes, Samson and Goliath, The Yardmen is a bronze sculpture depicting three shipyard workers returning home to East Belfast.” “At its peak 30,000 people were employed in the shipbuilding industry in Belfast. A high proportion of them lived in the terraced streets off the Newtownards Road. Not far away is one of the best preserved terraces of workers’ houses in Belfast – McMaster Street, begun in 1898. Most of the workforce was drawn from the countryside around Belfast, though many skilled workers were recruited in Britain. While shipbuilding was harsh and often dangerous work, the standard of living for workers was generally higher than that of shipyard employees in other British cities.”

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