After Britain’s declaration of war against France in 1793, the United Irishmen – who hoped for French support for a rebellion in Ireland – could no longer meet openly. In Belfast, meetings were held at Dr [Benjamin] Franklin’s tavern, also called “Peggy Barclay’s” after its owner, under the guise of a social group called the Muddlers’ Club. The true nature of the group was betrayed to the authorities in 1796 by Isabella “Belle” Martin, a serving girl in the tavern (Romanticsm Anthology | Belfast Entries | Belfast Media | Joe Baker). As the text in the Peter Strain mural above concludes, “Half a dozen of them saw the inside of a Scottish prison as a result” and the club dissolved. (The text surrounding Martin’s profile is from Glenn Patterson’s book, A Mill For Grinding Old People Young – this was the name of Peggy Barclay’s inn when she left the city centre for the Buttermilk Loney (now Skegoniel Avenue) on the Shore Road in north Belfast. The mural is in Crown Entry.
The tavern, in Sugarhouse Entry, later become a hotel before eventually being destroyed in the WWII blitz. Sugarhouse Entry still exists but has been impassable since 1972 when it was closed off as part of the “ring of steel” securing Belfast city centre (DC Tours).
A new braille plaque bearing the now-iconic saying “You are now enterting Free Derry” was unveiled last Tuesday (January 24th) by the founder of Children In Crossfire Richard Moore (featured previously in The Derry Lama) who was blinded in 1972 when he was hit with a rubber bullet.
Various changes and additions have been made to the Ulster Volunteers/UVF mural in London Road, east Belfast, compared to the version that replaced a religious mural (Jesus Strong Man) in 2017. The ‘hooded gunman’ board seen in the image above previously replaced a Union Flag in London Road (see East Belfast Ulster Volunteers) but has now been moved to the main Our Lady’s Road: “Our British identity cannot & will not be sacrificed to appease the Irish Republic – East Belfast Battalion [UVF]”.
The side-wall has been modified, to include a UVF emblem and larger lettering for “East Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force”.
For close-ups of the WWI portion, painted by Mark Ervine, see Between The Crosses; for a close-up of the four portraits of volunteers Seymour, Long, Cordner, and Bennett, see Ulster’s Brave.
The stencil is in Mount Vernon, which is also home to a series of metalworks – see They Sleep Beyond Ulster’s Foam. That title, as well as the title of today’s post, comes from Binyon’s poem For The Fallen, the fourth stanza of which is often cited in memorial for the dead of the Great War: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; / Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. / At the going down of the sun and in the morning / We will remember them.”
The stencil is perhaps not only a memorial to the dead of WWI – the planes appear to be WWI models such as the Hurricane or Spitfire (as in A Miracle of Deliverance); most WWI planes were biplanes.
What’s most unusual here is the tree cross-section (or “tree disk”) (on the left) that has been decorated with a hooded gunman and the insignia of the (east Belfast) UVF and YCV – the final image shows a close-up.
“The uniform may have changed but the cause remains the same. Ulster Volunteer Force. Fallen, not forgotten.” There is a very close variant of this wording on a mural in Bowtown (Newtownards).
“We have given much, we have much to give”. Earlier murals on this wall in the Caw (2015 | 2011) were similarly divided into Ulster Volunteers/Ulster Division on the left and the modern UVF on the right. But this version shows a UVF “hooded gunman” whereas before on both sides there were graveside mourners. There is also a very rare (and possibly unique) reference to the H-Blocks, rather than the Long Kesh cages – a watchtower and walls are included above Carson’s portrait.
On the left are the Union Flag, Covenant, the Clyde Valley, graveside mourner in WWI, and Carson. On the right a UVF hooded gunman, the PUP emblem and slogan “Country Before Party”, and the flag of the UVF (Londonderry company).
The plaque, which has been retained from previously, reads “In proud memory of our fallen comrades from the Nelson Drive flute band. Glorious on the graves of heroes, kindly on all those who have suffered for the cause. Thus will shine the dawn. They gave their tomorrow for our today.”
This is an example of a paramilitary mural replacing a cultural one – for eight years there was a giant Union Flag on this Westwinds gable, but it has been turned into a giant hooded UVF gunman instead.