Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines

Hotelier Henry McNeill, it is reported, brought the horseless carriage to Larne in 1899, in the form of a Daimler Wagonette that he used to ferry guests up and down the coast and in to scenic spots in the Glens Of Antrim – the mechanical future combined with of the timeless beauty of the natural world. Here is a photo of McNeill aloft in 1899; emic (ig) recasts the image as though he were at the helm of a flying machine.

For more emic hands, see: Nothing Is Lost, Everything Is Transformed | 35 | A Lifeboat From Despair | In Bloom

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Executed

On October 18th, 1922, the third Dáil/second Provisional Government Of Southern Ireland approved – in the absence of anti-Treaty members – a bill entitled the “Army Emergency Powers Resolution” which introduced martial law, including martial courts with the death penalty for anyone found in possession of an illegal firearm – “illegal” meaning not sanctioned by the nascent pro-Treaty Free State. Under these powers, seven IRA volunteers were executed on November 17th and 19th, followed on the 24th by Erskine Childers (a member of the team that negotiated the Treaty but subsequently against it). In response, the IRA declared that TDs who had voted for the bill were fair game, and on December 7th Seán Hales of Cork was shot and killed. In reprisal, the government ordered the execution of four more volunteers, one from each province: Liam Mellows, Joe McKelvey, Dick Barnett, Rory O’Connor. The four had been arrested five months earlier, on June 30th, 1922 at the start of the Civil War, after surrendering the Four Courts. By the end of the war, 81 executions had taken place. (An Phoblacht | Irish Times | The Irish Story | WP | WP)

For the left-hand side of the wall, on the shipyard clearings and the McMahon murders, see Belfast Butchery.

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Belfast Butchery

“Belfast Pogroms 1920-1922.” Against the backdrop of the first Dáil, the War Of Independence, and the debate in Westminster over the fourth Home Rule bill (it would be passed in November 1920), northern Protestants began to assert their de facto independence from the rest of Ireland – both in economic and in military terms.

On July 12th, 1920, Edward Carson spoke to a crowd in Derry and, addressing the government in Westminster, said “if you are yourself unable to protect us from the machinations of Sinn Féin, and you won’t take our help; well, then, we tell you we will take the matter into our own hands.” (Treason Felony). Nine days later, the “clearings” of Catholics from Belfast shipyards and mills began, with about 5,700 Catholics and 1,850 socialists (“rotten Prods“) being expelled from Workman Clark and Harland & Wolff yards, and in total 10,000 workers from yards and mills over the next two weeks (History Ireland). In combination with the straitened economic circumstances of the time (post WWI) thousands (23,140 according to this mural, which reproduces a flyer derived from the Irish News of October 6th, 1920 – via The Irish Story’s account of the start of the “Belfast Pogrom”) were on relief.

Militarily, in October, 1920, the Ulster Special Constabulary was established (drawing on members of the Ulster Volunteers, which had been reconstituted in June 1920, and the 21,000 members of the Ulster Imperial Guards (WP)) as an alternative to the Royal Irish Constabulary in fighting actions by the IRA in Belfast, Derry, and elsewhere in the north. On March 23rd, 1922, two officers of the Specials were killed in Belfast city centre by the IRA. In reprisal, two Catholic civilians were killed in the Short Strand, and in the early hours of March 24th, a party of five men, four dressed in RIC uniforms, burst into the home of Catholic businessman Owen McMahon and shot McMahon, his six sons, and one of his employees – only two of the sons survived. District Inspector John Nixon of the RIC was suspected of leading the attack on the McMahon household – see The RIC Murder Gang and Pat And Dan Duffin. (The headlines are from the Freeman’s Journal of March 25th, 1922 – see Joe Baker’s 80-page account of the murders of summer 1922; the photograph of the McMahon corpses that is reproduced in the mural can be seen at Slugger.)

This is the first half a new mural in Ascaill Ard Na bhFeá; the “1922” part will be presented tomorrow.

“Belfast Expelled Workers – How Carsonism has disgraced Belfast – Help from all quarters of the globe for victims of sh[a]meful pogrom – Drain on Ex[p]elled Workers[‘] Relief Fund. Total number of expelled workers registered – 8,104; Applications for registrations yesterday – 500; Average number of persons receiving relief daily – 23,140.”

“Belfast Butchery – Horrif[y]ing story of massacre of McMahon family – Dying man[‘]s declaration – Murderers dressed in police uniform and spoke with Belfast accents.”

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Have A Good Day

Two more by Nathan Bowen (ig | web store), in Donegall Street, Belfast – “Have a good day” and “Be inspired”.

See previously: Builders At Work | Covid-Era Canvasses

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For The Football

Before he died (in 2005), George Best asked that people “remember me for my football” and the phrase became the title of a Best retrospective. It is also inspired the life-size title of the statue of created by Tony Currie and funded by fans (Belfast Live) in front of Windsor Park (and the Glen Molly (ig) mural in Hill Street). When it was launched, the statue drew criticism for not looking like its subject (BBC | Newsletter). Soccer star sculptures are perhaps hard to do: here’s a list of ten questionable statues of soccer stars, including Maradona in Kolkata (Guardian) and Ronaldo in Madeira (BBC), but missing Mo Salah in Sharm al-Sheikh (BBC).

For an awkward painting of Best, see The Best A Man Can Get in Newtownards.

See also the new Best mural in Cregagh: Maradona Good, Pelé Better, George Best

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Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow

The city of (London)Derry takes its named from the Irish word “doire” meaning “oak wood” (and generically a “grove”) and the oak leaf is often used as a symbol of the city (here are 11 murals with oak leaves from the Peter Moloney Collection – Murals). In the mural above, in addition to the three leaves on the right-hand side, we also have some acorns.

The moniker “maiden city” is derived from the city’s resistance to sieges throughout its history, most famously in 1689 (again – a variety of images from Peter Moloney). The walls of the old city are shown above the river Foyle, with landmark buildings such as the Peace Bridge (see Waterside, Cityside, Quayside) behind them.

Mural by Inkie (ig) in Carlisle Road.

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The Central Antrim Regiment

As this plaque in the Factory area of Larne indicates, the 2nd battalion of the Central Antrim regiment (of the Antrim division) of the Ulster Volunteers was drawn from Larne. Edward Carson reviewed the entire regiment at Drumalis in Larne on July 11th, 1914, (here is a postcard depicting the review) where he was presented with the colours of the 2nd from a Lady Smiley of First Larne Presbyterian. (The colours of the 1st and 2nd battalions are included below; the colours of the 3rd (Carrickfergus) Battalion can be seen at Sam’s Flags.) In the Royal Irish Rifles of WWI, Central Antrim became the 12th battalion (War Time Memories Project); its members included Larne man Rifleman Robert King.

“The Clydevalley flute band [Fb] proudly remembers all who served in the [Antrim Division,] Central Antrim Regt, 2nd Larne Battalion, Ulster Volunteer Force. Lest we forget.”

The plaque is on the gun-running mural and next to a King Billy mural in Greenland Drive. Both murals were seen previously in 2016; see Amazing Night At Larne and Civil & Religious Liberty.

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Racism Energy

Here is a selection of graffiti art/wild-style writing from Belfast, including (above) “Racism is small dick energy” on the Cupar Way “peace” line and “Warehouse” in Warehouse Lane.

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The Cobwebs Of The Past

In his statement in response to the news of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement (11 April, 1998), John Hume said, “This process is not about the victory or defeat of nationalism or unionism. It is about something much greater. Today, as Fergal Keane said in relation to South Africa, we can take collective breath and begin to blow away the cobwebs of the past. We can begin to break the bondage of fear which has so damaged our people and our country, difficult and demanding though this will be in the coming days and weeks.” (CAIN)

Commissioned by the Grand Central bar (Derry Journal) in Great James Street (whose side-wall the mural is on) and painted by Peaball (ig) an art group (including Donal O’Doherty, formerly of UVArts – Belfast Live).

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Women’s Hall And Cost Price Restaurant

Eight-time hunger-striker Sylvia Pankhurst and the East London Federation Of The Suffragettes [ELFS] provided a cost-price restaurant to provide meals to the poor in the “Women’s Hall” at the back of the house at 400 Old Ford Road in response to the inflation in food prices at the onset of WWI (Inspiring City | East End Women’s Museum).

In the top left, with the “Votes For Women” sign, is Christabel Pankhurst, one of Sylvia’s sisters, a co-founder of the Women’s Social And Political Union – motto “Deeds, not words” – and editor of The Suffragette. (Charlotte Despard – featured previously – was also a member of the WSPU.)

(The third sister, Adela, was founder of the WSPU’s yet more radical sub-group the ‘Young Hot Bloods’ (WP). Their mother was Emmeline Pankhurst, who had founded the WSPU in 1903 (WP); she is featured in a mural on Belfast’s Donegall Road bridge – see Those Days Are Over.)

In the top right (shown in close-up in the third image), Sylvia speaks in 1912 from a small platform outside the WPSU office in Bow Road, before the WSPU and ELFS split in 1914.

The mural is by Ketones6000 (ig) in 2018 on the side of the Lord Morpeth pub which was frequented by Pankhurst and the east London suffragettes (web). The pub is at 402 Old Ford Road and the mural thus overlooks the site of the women’s hall.

Copyright © 2011 Peter Moloney
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