The Gateway Is Love

William Swanston, with partner Thomas Bones, commissioned a new building for their linen collar and cuff concern, to be raised in 1890 at the corner of Queen and College streets. Arthur Chichester, flanked by the coats of arms of Belfast and Ulster, looks down over the now-unused doorway. (For more, see the excellent page at History Hub Ulster.) Swanston House is known to many in Belfast as the home of the Athletic Stores and the Educational Company; the facade was retained for its current incarnation ‘The Roost’, a student dormitory.

“‘Soul is deep, essence is beauty, the journey is freedom & the gateway is love’ – Beatrix.” 

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Rally Us Again

“Active service” on paramilitary plaques means death by a premature bomb explosion rather than at the hands of enemy forces. All three of the IRA volunteers named here died in this way: Paul Fox in King Street in 1975, Sean Bailey in nearby Nansen Street in 1976, and Paul Marlowe on the Ormeau Road later that same year (Sutton). The central plaque (shown below) has been in place since at least 2006 but was augmented last year with portraits. The fourth is Tony Campbell, also from the 2nd battalion, dead by natural causes in 1985.

“I ndíl chuimhne ar Óglach Paul Fox A-Coy 2 Batt Belfast Brigade, died on active service 1-12-1975, Óglach Sean Bailey A-Coy 2 Batt Belfast Brigade, died at this location on active service 13-2-1976, Óglach Paul Marlowe A-Coy 2 Batt Belfast Brigade, died on active service 16-10-1976, Óglach Tony Campbell died of natural causes 4-8-1985. I measc laochra na hÉireann atá siad. In every generation we have renewed the struggle and so it will be to the end. When England thinks she has trampled out our blood in battle, some brave men and women rise and rally us again.”

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Better Days Ahead

The weather hasn’t been great and coronavirus is till here too, but hope is the last thing to die and we might get one of the two. Better Days Bob replaces Clive The Whale – work by FGB (Francois Got Buffed | web | tw | ig) in Belfast city centre.

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Disobedience Is Man’s Original Virtue

“White lives matter!!!” Graffiti in racial (rather than nationality or class) terms, in the shadow of Teach Fhinn, New Lodge.

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There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

Glentoran FC. Pride of Ulster.” Two examples from the Glentoran sticker campaign in the early months of the year, before coronavirus put and end to the season and the players on furlough. See previously Le Coq Sportif.

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Rediscover The Power Of The Rosary

Hope for salvation from the coronavirus epidemic appears in Iveagh Street: “‘There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.’ – Sister Lucia [Lúcia], Fatima visionary. Rediscover the power of the Rosary at www.therosary.net

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Support The 5 Demands!

100+ politicians, academics, and signed a letter calling for the release of some ETA prisoners during the coronavirus epidemic. This is only the first of the five demands (recalling the Blanket protest here) in this 32CSM poster from King Street, Belfast: “Support Basque political prisoners! Support the 5 demands! 1. The freeing of vulnerable prisoners and those who are coming to the end of their sentences. 2. To receive family visits. 3. Access to materials to avoid being infected (gloves, sanitisers, etc.). 4. Carrying out of Covid-19 tests on prisoners and jailers. 5. In the event of the death of family member, the possibility of a prisoner going to the funeral home to pay their last respects. Stop the torture!”

See also Patxi Ruiz.

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Reading Between The Lines

Dominic Cummings, advisor to the ruling Conservative party in the UK government, was a source of controversy and widespread derision in May when he claimed that he had driven (during the coronavirus lockdown) from London to Durham in order to deliver his son to his grandparents and then to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight (WP). Protestations of disbelief and calls for his resignation were widespread, including the amendment to the east Belfast graffiti shown above: “We’re in this together – except for Cummings”. For the original, see Inspiring Belfast.

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Loyalist In Lockdown

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, people celebrating the Twelfth yesterday were encouraged to maintain physical distance from others by staying in their gardens as the bands marched by. Homeowners decorated their properties (perhaps using these Twelfth At Home packs in Lurgan). Here is video from the Belfast Telegraph of yesterday’s marches.

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Tour Of Clough

The Red Hand Defenders flute band will commence its march from the Clough (Co. Down) Orange hall at 12:30 and its route will take it under the Orange arch in Main Street, shown here, with King Billy flanked by portraits of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip (on the left) and soldiers from the 36th (Ulster) Division (on the right). It will visit the houses in Jordanstown, Church Grove, Church Court, and Claragh Court (PC).

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