Mary Ann McCracken lived to the age of 96 (1770-1866) and over the course of that long life used her family prosperity and the success of her own muslin business to support various causes: these included the United Irishmen and her brother Henry Joy McCracken – whose illegitimate daughter Maria was taken in by Mary Ann after he was executed – and a long list of ‘social justice’ causes, including the abolition of slavery, the protection of working children, education for young children both male and female, women’s rights, and care for the destitute in Belfast – her uncles Henry and Robert had founded the Belfast Charitable Society and built a poorhouse on Clifton Street and Mary Ann served on the Ladies Committee (WP | NICVA). This new bust of Mary Ann McCracken looks towards Clifton House from Stanhope Street in Carrick Hill. (The bust was designed by Anto Brennan (Irish News), who also did the No Pasarán bust in Writer’s Square.) In the other direction, as shown below, can be seen the Divis tower block.
Carrickfergus castle was founded by the Anglo-Norman knight John de Courcy in 1177 and it became the stronghold of power in the north of Ireland, leading to its besiegement over time by a litany of Scots, Irish, English – including under Schomberg in 1689 – and French forces (WP). In the present day, the flag of a Kingdom uniting England, Scotland, and (Northern) Ireland currently flies on Marine Highway next to the sculpture showing three Anglo-Norman knights defending the castle (unsuccessfully) against the forces of Edward Bruce of Scotland in 1315 (info plaque). The sculptor is unknown.
“Belfast thanks our NHS”. Northern Ireland entered a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown at midnight last night in response to recent increases in coronavirus hospitalisations that have taxed the health system (see previously Mother Of The Sick). These marionettes in NHS uniforms are on their bike heading for home, or for work, via the Duke Of York. “Come in soberly, drink moderately, depart quietly, and call again.”
Ross Wilson’s statue ‘Mother – Daughter – Sister’ was launched in 2015 (Art Council NI), two years after his King William mural which towers over it (see final image). “This sculpture celebrates the female cultural identity of Sandy Row and the generational contribution women have made to this community both in the family and workplace.” With a verse from the Doris Day song ‘Que Sera Sera’ from Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much.