Nihil Nisi Optimi

Ballyclare Comrades football club – motto is ‘Nihil nisi optimi’ [nothing but the best] – was founded in 1919 by members of the local Great War ‘comrades’ association. That heritage is used here for the Ballyclare Protestant Boys flute band. In the centre, between images from WWI, the flowers of the four ‘home nations’ are joined by orange lilies, and in the shield are the lion and the unicorn from the coat of arms of the UK.

“To Flanders fields some men in our town were sent and along their way many would repent their priority goal to keep Ulster free that we may have freedom both you and me as part of Great Britain they fought and died and their names we will remember and remember with pride. Lest we forget. Comrades from Ballyclare. Nihil nisi optimi. The Comrades.” “Ballyclare Protestant Boys Est. 2004”

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Dumbest Ulster Prods

“Vote Dumbest Ulster Prods – Red Sky, RHI, Brexit & IRIS.” Red Sky was a maintenance company that, due to complaints from residents about shoddy work, caused a dispute between the DUP and the NIHE (WP). The RHI [Renewable Heat Initiative] was a scheme, overseen by the DUP’s Arlene Foster, to encourage the burning of eco-friendly pellets but in fact allowed users to make a profit outright (WP). Iris Robinson, DUP member representing Strangford at both Westminster and Stormont, sat on the committee that awarded her 19 year-old lover the franchise over a Castlereagh Borough restaurant and secured a 50,000 pound loan for him of which she then received 5,000 pounds (WP). The poster above (ironically) encourages a vote for the DUP in the December 2019 Westminster election; the DUP lost seats in Belfast North and Belfast South, and failed to capture North Down upon the retirement of independent unionist Sylvia Hermon.

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UDA Remembers

“[South East Antrim] UDA remembers. ‘They shall not grow old/As we that are left grow old/Age shall not wary them/Nor the years condemn/At the going down of the sun/And in the morning/We will remember them’ [The Fallen]” For the large mural, see The Men From Ballyclare & District. Charles Drive, Ballyclare.

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All Ulster’s Soldiers

“We support all Ulster’s soldiers.” The UDA and the UDR brought under the same umbrella of “Ulster’s defenders” in Charles Drive, Ballyclare. The UDR was established in 1970 to relieve the RUC and B Specials of military operations and was disbanded in 1992, in part because it was only 3% Catholic and 5-15% of members had links to loyalist paramilitaries (Irish News). 

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Better To Die On Your Feet

UDA volunteers in balaclavas stand ready to defend Erskine Park (Ballyclare) against forces from the south. “South East Antrim Brigade – “Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees in an Irish republic.” (A slogan from Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.)

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X06940 X06939 [X06938] X06937 John Stewart 

Ireland’s Brexit Solution

“Ireland’s Brexit solution: a united Ireland, a workers republic, a socialist Europe. Spoil your ballot – write Workers Republic! www.socialistdemocracy.org” Although it’s not clear from the poster above, the desired position is for a federal (“United States of”) Europe rather than EU membership in its current form. 

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Liberation

“Britain out of Ireland – Ireland out of the EU.” This Saoradh stencil is in Ardoyne, north Belfast. Saoradh does not stand candidates in elections; it also currently lacks a national on-line presence and is banned from Twitter and Facebook (in the wake of the death of Lyra McKee).

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Belfast – The Pogroms

2019 was the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Troubles and commemoration events were held in Ardoyne, Clonard, and Divis – the sites that saw the most fierce fighting during the summer. The programme board above is at the entrance to Brompton Park entrance of Ardoyne, next to the remains of Stad An Slad.

For other posts about the riots, see The Pogrom Of 1969 | Clonard Remembers | End Apartheid | Derry, Enniskillen, Aughrim, And Ardoyne.

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Argyle Street, Ulster

Argyle Street, Ulster, next to the locally-named Thiepval Street and Passchendaele Court.
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Ghosts Of The Supermarket

Earl Street and Sussex Street used to be sandwiched between wings of the largest tobacco factory in the world, Gallahers, which took up seven acres between York Street and North Queen Street. The factory was partially demolished in 1990 and became Yorkgate shopping centre and the two streets are roughly now the back and front entrances to the Tesco supermarket. These two plaques (both on North Queen Street) are to former residents. William Campbell, a H&W joiner, might have witnessed the construction of Gallahers (in 1897 – Look Again) before dying on Titanic in 1914. Francis Liggett, an IRA volunteer, was shot and killed by British forces during an attempted robbery of the Royal. (He is also remembered in a mural in St James’s near the site of his death and home – see Liggett & Brady.)
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X06907 X06908 “William Campbell, an Apprentic Joiner at Harland & Wolff, lived in Earl Street, a site now occupied by the shopping centre. He was a member of the company’s Guarantee Group for RMS Titanic and lost his life on the voyage.” “Francis died on 18th January 1973 on IRA active service on the grounds of RVH hospital. Francis was shot dead dead by undercover British soldiers after an exchange of gun fire. 27th January 1948 – 18th January 1973. Francis family home was close to this spot.”