Sailing On A Strange Boat

Valerie Armstrong died in July 2016 after being knocked down by a teen on a scrambler motorbike while walking in Colin Glen (BBC). The memorial plaque is on a disused dinghy at Mila’s Lake, near where she was struck.

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Unsung Heroes

“The young and the old rallied around/To help fight the forces of the British crown/Unsung heroes too many to name/Defended Unity flats and never sought fame”. Unity flats were built in 1968 to replace the old Carrick Hill but immediately came under repeated attack by loyalists from the nearby Peter’s Hill and Shankill; by 1987 their demolition had been approved but because of difficulty in rehousing residents (Hansard), the new Carrick Hill was not completed until 2009 (BelTel). The flats have a Facebook page, Growing Up In Unity Flats. The plaques shown today are on the side of the newsagents in the new Carrick Hill.

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Like The Eternal Flame

“Like the eternal flame your memory will never die.” “Unbowed, unbroken – this garden is dedicated to all our fallen dead from Ardoyne, Bone, and Ligoniel who lost their lives as a direct result of the conflict. We also honour all those people who played an active part in our struggle for Irish freedom. ‘It is not those who inflict the most, but those that endure the most, that shall prevail’ [Terence McSwiney]”. The central plaque shows the pediment and statues on “ard-oifig an phoist” (the GPO in Dublin, 1916) and the Maid Of Erin harp (of 1798). The celtic cross was previously in the memorial garden at the corner of Berwick Road – see Freedom Hath Arisen.

In the distance of the final image is the Sean Mac Diarmada mural.

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Legend

Tributes to Silverstream resident Reginald “Reggie” Richard Greenhill near the horseshoe bend (death notice). The closest Liverpool supporters club would be in Woodvale – “You’ll never walk alone“.

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A Place For Everyone

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“I loved it here, and still miss it. The characters that came into the shop … and I miss the craic!” The advertising hoardings at the corner of Ligoniel and Crumlin roads have been replaced with this community alcove with pavers and a space for “sharing positive stories together” at “the turn of the road” from Ballysillan towards Ligoniel village. The plaque to the UDA’s Bill Reynolds, which stood on the building where he was killed until the building was demolished (see the old plaque) and then replaced with a new plaque next to the hoarding, has been included.

“In loving memory [UDA] Lt. Col. Bill Reynolds murdered [by the IRA] 7-7-87. Always remembered by his family, friends and comrades. Quis separabit.”

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Their Blood Our Cause Has Sanctified

For the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike, portraits of the deceased ten (plus Frank Stagg and Michael Gaughan from the 1970s) were placed on the railings of the Ballymurphy memorial garden. There is a new (compared to 2006 and 2008) set of plaques, erected in 2017:

“A Letter To The 22: You have not gone away, you are in the hearts and on the lips of your people. The old speak of you with knowing tongue. The middle aged, as those who worked beside you. The young men and women with a passion not unlike your own. Your names can be heard on the wind taken from the mouths of men who tend their flocks on Slieve Gullion, Cnoc Phadraig, Glenshane. They echo in the small graveyards in Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo, Tyrone, Antrim, Derry and Armagh. They are heard among your people at the mass gate on Sunday in the crowd at the hurling game, around the hearth when the bottle is cracked and song is sung. Your image can be seen on the faces of happy smiling children for whose freedom you gave your all. You are in our prayers you have not gone away, you never will. Mise le meas Colm Mac Giolla Bhein 2006. This monument was erected by the Ballymurphy Ex POWs in memory of the 22 hunger strikers who died for the cause of Irish freedom. It was unveiled on the hundredth anniversary of Thomas Ash[e] who was the first republican to die on hunger strike in 1917. He died after five days while being force fed. Thomas Ash[e] an these 21 brave Irish men stood by their beliefs and refused to be criminalised. Fuair siad bás ar son shaoirse na hÉireann. I measc laochra na nGael go raibh siad.”

For the mural, with NHS board, see Pray For Us.

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The Leaders Of This People Cause Them To Err

“In loving memory of Ian “Big O” Ogle. “He who paid the ultimate sacrifice should never be forgotten” 27th January 2019. Unbowed, unbroken.”

The scripture cards within the wreath of poppies in Cluan Place – where Ogle lived and was killed – are directed at the east Belfast UVF; some of its members killed Ian Ogle (BelTel) and are alleged to still be active in the area (Belfast Live | BelTel).

II Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Isaiah 9:16 “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.”

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Boab Kerr

UVF Scottish Brigade Volunteer Scott “Boab” Kerr, from the Govan area of Glasgow and Sons Of The Somme FB (Fb) died in 2015 and is remembered with a plaque on the corner of Beechfield Street in east Belfast.

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Past And Present

The Castlereagh (4th battalion) UDA memorial garden behind the Bunch Of Grapes has changed over the years from painted murals (M | X) to spray-painted boards (We Forget Them Not) and now again to tarps within red frames. As far as content is concerned, the UFF, LPA (“We forget them not – past and present”) and UYM (“They shall not grow old etc”) remain but Tim Collins – a product of re-imaging – is out (see On That Journey) and Eddie The Trooper is in. The side wall of the pub has also been employed for the first time, with more hooded gunmen (see the third image, below). Two small plaques have been added to the outsides of the memorial wall.

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The Next In Line Is Me

Six weeks after the first four deaths, the 1981 hunger strike’s long summer of mourning resumed with the death of Joe McDonnell, who died on July 8th, 1981. The “H” (for “H Blocks”) is on the Falls Road, next to the D company IRA memorial garden.

For the plaque to the left, see The Death Of Sean McCartney. For the mural in the background to the far left, see Cry “Havoc”. For the long ‘mental health’ strips to the right, see Belfast Live.

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