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Welcome to Brilliant Belfast - Part Two

It was a humble beginning — a cluster of rather basic dwellings on a sandbank — but over the past 400 years Belfast rose to make its mark on the world. On April 27, 1613, it was granted its first charter by James I, marking its birth as a city. Now, four centuries later, it is home to almost 300,000 people and is the commercial and political hub of Northern Ireland. It has also built an amazing history. Some of its past has been painful but it has also been home to industrial revolution, great inventions and artistic endeavour. It’s a city we can all take pride in, as this second Brilliant Belfast supplement will underline.

Editor: GAIL WALKER Design Editor: HEATHER BYRNE Editorial: LAURENCE WHITE, MATTHEW McCREARY, JANE HARDY, MICHAEL CONAGHAN, STEPHANIE BELL, UNA BRANKIN, JUDITH COLE Pictures: PAUL CARSON Design & Production: ROBERT DOHERTY With thanks to: Belfast 400: People, Place and History by SJ Connolly. Published by Liverpool University Press, £14.95


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At one time there were three underground toilets in central Belfast. One, in Queen’s Square, has been replaced by a coin-operated structure. Another, situated inconveniently in the middle of the road, in front of the City Hall, has been filled in. The third, in Shaftesbury Square, is closed. Proposals were aired and an offer made to buy the structure for conversion into a nightclub. The necessities of a fire exit and disabled access were never mentioned.


We may not have the sunshine of Cannes, the pomp and ceremony of London or Berlin or the avant garde edge of Venice, but Belfast’s reputation for putting on a good party has made the film festival one of the highlights of the annual arts calendar. Of course, local talent is always to the fore and among the premieres to have been held in the city are Belfast-shot hits such as the rockingly great Good Vibrations and Killing Bono, among others. It’s all a far cry from when filmmakers shot (excuse the pun) nothing but bombs ‘n’ bullets tragedy tales about NI — and often did so in a craftily disguised city that wasn’t Belfast.


The colourful Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes have a tongue-in-cheek motto ‘Nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit’ — ‘Nobody is wise all of the time’. Commonly known as the 'Buffs', the order is closely linked to the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. They have a Rule Book, Manual of Instruction and Ceremony Lectures issued and revised by the Grand Lodge of England based at Harrogate in England. The earliest known traceable date of a Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes is the "Phoenix Lodge No.1" in 1822 at the Harp Tavern, Great Russell Street near Drury Lane Theatre, London, which was created by stage hands and theatre technicians who had been denied a long held privilege extended to them by the actors and artists of the day. The RAOB organisation aids members, their families, those left behind by deceased brethren (widows/orphans) and other charitable organisations. During the 19th century, via the British Empire, the Order spread throughout the British Commonwealth and Lodges now exist in Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Middle East, India, Africa, Gibraltar and Cyprus, as well as here in Northern Ireland.


Culturlann McAdam O Fiaich, based in a former Presbyterian church on the Falls Road, is an arts and cultural centre with a focus on Irish language and culture. The centre offers, through its arts programme, theatre, music, visual arts, poetry, literary events, workshops and classes. The building has been used in a number of ways during its often troubled history. Today, Culturlann also has a restaurant, book and gift shop and tourist information.

THE ENTRY POINT The atmospheric Entries lie “where Belfast began and developed into the city is today,” according to former Social Development Minister David Hanson. When the old town was first laid out, these narrow alleyways in the High Street and Ann Street vicinity serviced dense residential and commercial development. The surviving examples retain pockets of historic development including many Victorian and pre-Victorian period pubs, some of which remain open for business to this day. Dating back to at least — and most probably earlier than — 1630, these entries are the oldest parts of Belfast city. Pottinger's Entry connects Ann Street with High Street in almost a straight line. The principal attraction is a Victorian pub, The Morning Star. The arched entrance from Ann Street is also Victorian and was retained when the original building was demolished in the 1990s. The small Winecellar Entry just off Lombard Street is home to White's Tavern. Crown Entry is medium-sized and connects Ann Street to High Street. Joy's Entry is particularly narrow and connects Ann Street to High Street. It has several pubs, such as McCrackens Cafe Bar.


The Belfast Blitz of 1941 is commemorated on one of the city’s famous buildings. On the corner of the Belfast Telegraph, on Royal Avenue, a small section of pockmarked stone bears a plaque which tells how the newspaper published ‘without interruption’ during the fighting. More than 100 German Luftwaffe planes bombarded Belfast on April 15, killing 900 people and injuring 2,500.

THE SEARCHERS Royal Avenue has been the commercial hub of Belfast since it was established in 1881 but its position of economic importance and the presence of the Army barracks at the former Grand Central Hotel in Royal Avenue made it a target for the IRA throughout the Troubles. Consequently, he barracks was bombed many times during the 1970s despite heavy security measures — the barracks itself was surrounded by metal mesh, and security gates at the junction of Royal Avenue and Donegall Place were closed every day at 6pm. There were also gates at streets leading into Royal Avenue. Shoppers became used to being searched every time they passed through the gates.

Wilson's Court is an Entry just off Ann Street. Castle Arcade, although a historic route, now lacks character due to the modern buildings on either side. It cuts diagonally from Cornmarket/High Street to Castle Lane. Several large historical photographs of the Entry are permanently displayed on the walls. Sugar House Entry runs parallel to Bridge Street from north side of High Street, now nothing more than a service access.


What do Julian Simmons, pianist Barry Douglas, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson, actor James Ellis, poet John Hewitt and the late Caron Keating have in common? They’re all past pupils of Methody, or Methodist College Belfast, to give it its proper title. Well regarded for its high academic standards and entrants to Oxford and Cambridge universities, the college was founded in 1868 — very nearly in Portadown. However, several prominent Belfast Methodists began a campaign to have the school built in Belfast. The present site of the college, near Queen’s University at Malone Road was purchased by James Carlisle and site covered 15 acres. The school originally had a dual foundation as a school and a theological college and was designed with this in mind. The architects firm Joseph Fogerty & Son of Dublin won with their bid to design the school. The foundation stone for the main building was laid in 1865, and in 1868 the College was ceremonially opened.

STEPHEN REA Born: 1946 Who? Actor

The son of a Belfast bus driver, Stephen Rea grew up in a staunchly loyalist area of north Belfast and started his acting career with Dublin’s renowned Abbey Theatre after graduating from Queen’s University with a degree in English. He went on to co-found the Field Day Theatre in 1980 and appeared on stage and TV many times in Ireland before coming to the attention of Hollywood after his incredible performance in The Crying Game. Rea’s international career took off after he was nominated for an Academy

Award for Best Actor for playing an IRA gunman who falls for the fiancee of his victim. He also starred in V for Vendetta and Interview with the Vampire. From 1983 until 2000 he was married to Dolours Price, a former Provisional IRA bomber and hunger striker. They had two sons. Rea carried his late wife’s coffin when she passed away in January of this year.



Symbol of Belfast’s pride, the handsome ceremonial mace (borne before the mayor on official processions) was made with seal in 1639 and was carried before the mayor when he was on official business. The mace and seal cost £26 at the time, with Henry le Squire, Constable of the Castle, contributing £6. Belfast seems to have become a two mace city by 1659 as an account of the funeral of the sovereign — or mayor — William Leathes, who held the role in 1657 to 1659, refers to “two maces of the corporation” being carried in the procession.


The great water crisis of Christmas 2010 exposed the risk of relying on an antiquated water system when icy conditions followed by a thaw caused pipes to burst in many Belfast homes. The crisis started on December 24 and some residents were without water for weeks, having to collect domestic water from standpipes and manually flush WCs. The city council responded after a week by providing emergency water supplies at Avoniel, Olympia and Whiterock. There was, however, a limit of 20 litres per person. Free showers were on offer at leisure centres although initially Andersonstown and Avoniel were without mains supplies.


Gresham Street in the Smithfield area, a kind of miniSoho, is home to a number of sex shops. These emporiums are forbidden by law from displaying their wares in shop windows although lingerie can be shown. In 2007, a Belfast sex shop was denied a license by the city council. The shop appealed and won, but this was overturned by the House of Lords.

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WHAT A LOT THEY’VE GOT Auctioneer Henry Aldridge and Sons hit the headlines recently when they produced the violin of the Titanic's band leader Wallace Hartley. But this has been disputed by the Titanic Historical Society in the US, and by the curator of a small museum in Hartley's home town of Colne in Lancashire, which insists the Titanic's band leader was never found with his violin. But the auctioneer says it has proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that the instrument was strapped to his chest in a leather case when his body was plucked from the sea. It is due to go on display at Belfast City Hall next month. Bloomfield Auctions, on the Beersbridge Road, trades from the impressive Owen O’Cork Mill, built in the 1850s as a linen mill. It handles a wide variety of items from general household goods to antique furniture, jewellery, silver, porcelain and art. Around 60 lots every week are reserved for ephemera, particularly of Irish origin, including stamps, postcards and coins. John Ross & Co. Auctioneers and Valuers, on Montgomery Street, just a short distance from the City Hall, have been operating in the heart of the city for 75 years. Thursday is sale day with sales operating downstairs at 10am for more

Dame Mary Elizabeth Peters, DBE, LL (born July 6, 1939) is an adopted Northern Irishwoman. Born in Lancashire, she moved to Ballymena (and later Belfast) at age 11 when her father's job was relocated to Northern Ireland. Her father encouraged her athletic career by building her home practice facilities as birthday gifts. At one stage the family moved to Portadown where she attended Portadown College. The head, Donald Woodman, and PE teacher, Kenneth McClelland, introduced her to athletics with Mr McClelland her first coach. In Belfast she was coached by Buster McShane and her greatest triumph came

Before the advent of the Odyssey, there was really only one place capable of hosting the stadium acts that came to prominence in the Eighties. Designed by the Glasgow firm Leitch and Co, and opened in May 1934, the King's Hall was the largest exhibition space in Northern Ireland. Always multi-purpose, it has hosted the annual Balmoral show, and now boasts the largest Christian festival in Ireland called Summer Madness.

East Belfast only merged with the rest of Belfast because the municipal boundary was extended in 1853 to take in the old townland of Ballymacarrett on the Co Down bank of the River Lagan. However, Ballymacarrett had been part of Belfast in all but name since its inclusion in the Chichester estates in 1787. From the start, it made an important contribution to the industrial success of the city with a glassworks, foundry and ropeworks before becoming the real powerhouse of the city with the growth of the shipyards. These produced a uniquely close knit community. Thousands of households were linked by the fact their men (and women) worked in what was at one stage in the late 1800s the world’s largest single shipyard, Harland & Wolff. Community identity remains strong and east Belfast has absorbed the villages of Sydenham, Strandtown and Knock.



in the 1972 summer Olympics, where she competed for Great Britain and Northern Ireland and won the gold medal in the women's pentathlon. She'd finished fourth in 1964 and 9th in 1968. To win the gold medal, she narrowly beat local favourite Heide Rosendahl, by 10 points, setting a world record score. To mark her triumph the Mary Peters track was built at Shaws Bridge and it has recently been upgraded.

HOOKE’S PORTRAITS George Benn (1801-82), Belfast’s most famous historian of the city, was painted by Richard Hooke (1820-1908) one of the city’s foremost portrait painters. Hooke was originally a carpenter and partly self-taught but he estab-




Born: 1939 Who? Olympics gold medalist

general goods and upstairs at 11am for their better quality antiques and art. Morgans Auctioneers and Valuers, on Duncrue Crescent, deal in antique furniture, porcelain, silver, jewellery, art and general household items. They also undertake valuations for insurance and probate, and house clearances.


lished himself as one of the city’s main artists, recording Belfast’s aspirations in confident, noble records of its notable citizens.

Noted academic, author and Christian Clive Staples Lewis who wrote the bestselling Narnia chronicles as well as Surprised by Joy, a “partial autobiography” that details his marriage to, American Joy Davidman, was an east Belfast boy. A blue plaque records that Lewis was born at Ballyhackamore House, no 47 Dundela Avenue (now a block of flats) on November 29, 1898. C S Lewis died in 1963 and there's a statue of him, called The Searcher, created by Ulster sculptor Ross Wilson,outside Holywood Arches Library in the east of the city,with the famous wardrobe from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. His other titles include A Grief Observed, his account of grief after Joy died, and The Screwtape Letters, advice from an old devil to a younger devil on how to best ensnare Christians.

.The city puts on some wonderful shows at theatres and other venues, but there is one spectacular that you can see for free. Indeed, this mesmerising wildlife display routinely attracts crowds to the Albert Bridge. Those lucky enough to live in the apartments alongside the river also enjoy the nightly show. Flocks of starlings, known as murmurations, gather noisily together at dusk before sweeping across the sky in a dark cloud of synchronised flight. Each year the numbers are boosted by starlings arriving from continental Europe to spend the winter here, and it is these large numbers of birds that create such an impressive spectacle.

THIS ONE WILL RUN AND RUN Belfast is one of 500 or so cities worldwide to host a marathon and each May hundreds run 26 miles and 385 yards across the city. The city’s marathon was first held in 1982, with a controversial route change in 2005 — this was a flatter course but took athletes along routes like the Sydenham bypass which were often devoid of spectators. The following year the original route, which traverses both the Shankill and the Falls, was reinstated. This year 20,000 runners are expected to participate in the 31st Belfast marathon whose official charity is Cancer Focus NI. Everybody starts at the City Hall and there are team relay events and wheelchair races. One of the original Olympic events in 1896, Belfast's 2012 marathon had 2,277 male and 605 female finishers. The male winner completed in 2 hours 13 minutes, 41 seconds with the female fastest runner coming in at 2 hours, 39 minutes and one second.


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Forty metres below Duncrue Street an innovative piece of engineering was carried out in 2008 on the city’s Victorian sewers to help secure the system. A key section of Belfast’s deepest tunnel, nearly a mile long, was completed as a massive tunnel boring machine made its breakthrough. Capable of holding vast overflows of storm water — up to four million gallons —- it was installed to reduce the risk of sewer flooding in the greater Belfast area.


THE CASTLE THAT MOVED LOCATION The original Belfast Castle, built by the Normans, was based near High Street and Castle Place. The building was burnt down in 1708, forcing the Chichesters to choose a new location on the picturesque slopes of Cavehill. The building that stands there today was built


from1811-70 in suitably Gothic, Scottish baronial style by the third Marquis of Donegall. It was designed in the Scottish baronial style by Charles Lanyon and his son, of the architectural firm Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon. After Donegall's death and the family's financial

demise, the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury completed the house and his son, the 9th earl of Shaftesbury, presented it as a gift to the city in 1934.After extensive refurbishment, it was opened to the public in 1988, where it has become a regular venue for weddings.


d to Winetavern Street use The delightfully named tury cen h 18t the in e becaus be known as Pipe Street akers including e-m pip of ber num a it was the location of Ulster Pipe ding for a while as the the Hamilton family (tra il the 0 clay pipes from 185 unt Works) which produced , it’s ugh tho 3, 181 By ily. gham fam 1930s, and the Cunnin s Denvir who Mr a 0 188 In et. Stre n listed as Winetaver Wineg as a “mangler”. The lived there made her livin ithfield Flax Sm the as wn kno r late tavern Street Mill, Ltd started life as John Spinning & Weaving Co cotton mill here in rey sto five Milford & Co's to spinning flax 1805, but it diversified by 1840.

There has been a Friday market on the St George’s site since 1604. The present St. George’s Market, where you can pick up anything from fresh fish to a book on David Hockney at the Friday, Saturday and Sunday general market sessions, was built between 1890-1896, and is one of Belfast’s oldest attractions. Since its £4.5m refurbishment in 1997, this charming Victorian building has also hosted gigs and was voted one of the top five UK markets in 2006, according to the National Association of British Market Authorities.

Belfast has very few remaining Georgian properties in comparison with cities like Dublin. There are, however, some nice examples of architecture of this period in and around Donegall Place. This was initially a residential area, where the wealthy residents of Belfast retreated in the 18th to the early 19th century from the increasingly congested centre. From the 19th century, these homes were turned into offices and warehouses to serve the expanding commercial centre. Numbers 7-11 Chichester Street, for example, a terrace dating from 1804, is an isolated survival of Belfast’s lost Georgian heritage.


The noted Scottish optimist and author of some of the first ever self-help books (one was actually called Self Help, 1855), Samuel Smiles, did indeed smile on Belfast. In Men of Invention and Industry (1884), he opined that the city’s “wonderfully rapid rise ... originating in the enterprise of individuals and developed by the earnest and anxious industry of the inhabits of Ulster” showed that the rest of Ireland could take a leaf out of our book and copy the city’s “energy and industry”.


Otto Jaffe (1846-1929) was Belfast’s first Jewish Lord Mayor. His family moved from Hamburg in 1952 and set up a linen exporting business. After living and working in New York he returned to Belfast in 1877 to take over the family business and built it up to be the largest linen exporter in Ireland. Otto Jaffe was life-president of the Belfast Hebrew Congregation and paid most of the £4,000 required for the building of the synagogue in Annesley Street. In 1907 he and his wife established the Jaffe School for the Jewish Children of Belfast on the Cliftonville Road. He was a member of the Irish Unionist Party.


Fourteen miles of piping were required for the new fangled gas lamps that in the 19th century replaced the whale oil lamps that had lit the Belfast streets. The gasworks, built by a private company under contract to the Police Board

stood proudly on the Ormeau Road, housed in an elegant red brick building that summed up the importance of industry. A local journalist excitedly reported the first lighting of the new lamps on August 30, 1823, writing that instead

of the “gloomy twilight or rather darkness visible, which formerly issued from our dull and sombrous globes”, there was “a mild radiance ... the very shadows were defined ... and each man could see his neighbour”.

Queen Victoria’s statue in front of Belfast City Hall attracted some mild criticism, mainly because of its position blocking the view of the grand front facade. Sir Thomas Brock’s marble portrait shows the monarch looking slightly less than amused and The Irish Builder noted after it was unveiled in June 1920 that she looked as if she’d just stepped out of a mausoleum that wasn’t to her liking.


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Belfast was as affected by the First World War as other cities in Britain and on July 1, 1916, at the Somme the 36th Ulster Division suffered 5,500 casualties — 2,069 of whom were killed. Of the nine Victoria Crosses awarded on the day, three went to the Ulster Division — two of them posthumously. The effects of this massive bereavement were keenly felt and one historian noted: "In house after house blinds were drawn down until it seemed that every family in the city had been bereaved."


The University of Ulster's Belfast campus came into being in 1849, when the School of Art and Design was inaugurated in the city. The university, which has actor James Nesbitt as its chancellor, incorporated its four campuses in 1984 under the University of Ulster banner. The art college (School of Art and Design) is situated in York Street and a major redevelopment was completed in 2008. The annual student shows are well attended and art school graduates include children's book illustrator Oliver Jeffers, author of The Incredible Book Eating Boy, and famous artist Willie Doherty.


Clearly a Victorian pub, the Deer’s Head period slogans tell a proud tale. Established in 1885 on the corner of North Street and Garfield Street this is one of the few remaining Victorian bars in the city centre. Renowned for its beer, it still offers a decent pint and a sense of the past.

CONQUERING THE SKIES Short Brothers became the first aircraft production firm in the world in 1908 when it won the contract to produce six planes for the Wright Brothers. The company was founded in London by brothers, Eustace, Oswald and Horace Short, and later moved to Rochester in Kent, but was established in Belfast in 1936 as Short and Harland – owned equally by shipbuilders Harland & Wolff and Short Brothers. The first planes to roll off the production line were 50 BristolBm-

bays and 150 Handley-Page Hereford bombers. After the Rochester plant was bombed in the Battle of Britain, Belfast became an important centre of production. It opened a runway at Sydenham, which is now City of Belfast Airport, in 1937 and during this period developed the Sunderland flying boat, a very successful anti-submarine patrol bomber. One of the company’s most iconic aircraft was the Skyvan, a box-like plane, which became a

WOOD YOU BELIEVE IT? Belfast's water was piped through massive wooden pipes and in the 1920s, workmen discovered these pipes when digging up part of Chichester Street. They relate to the earliest history of Belfast. Originally, the open river running down the High Street, plus the mill dams and various springs and wells provided the residents'

water supply. Eventually, however, the supply became polluted and in 1678 George McCartney, who was Sovereign (an early type of mayor) paid £250 to bring clean water into town via vast wooden pipes. Belfastmen and women had to go to three designated points to collect the water, then transport it into their homes.


Jack and Sophie were the Christian names of choice in Belfast in 2011. Jack has held top spot since 2003 and Sophie has had top female spot since 2010. James and Grace came in second place and Emily climbed from fourth to third position. But individuality hasn't lost out totally and one local baby was recently christened Maggie May.


Born in Sydenham on October 20, 1941, Stewart Parker brought both poetry and an interest in the emerging pop culture of the Sixties and Seventies to his dramatic portrayal of Northern Ireland in crisis. A spell teaching in the US during the late Sixties introduced him to the civil rights movement, and he brought that perspective to plays, such as Catchpenny Twist, where the characters struggle to do the decent thing in the face of violence. As a teenager he lost a leg to bone cancer, and he died, aged 47, on Nov 2, 1988. . His legacy is the Stewart Parker prize, awarded annually to the best debut Irish Play. Past winners include Connor McPherson, for The Good Thief, produced in 1994.


s, h century was tuberculosi The great killer in the 19t com er oth the all as ny deaths orTB, which caused as ma n 1,000 a year. tha re mo — er eth tog municable diseases put than in the TB in Ireland was higher The mortality rate from n other areas in tha rse wo s wa fast Bel rest of the British isles. men aged 25h death rate among wo one detail — the very hig working in linen of ard haz al tion upa 44, a result of the occ enforceemployers opposed the mills and factories. Belfast dangerous off ce fen to m the ng ment of laws requiri had the linen manufacturers machinery and in 1855 al Associaion Nat d r-le este nch affliated to the Ma a body dubbed the tion of Factory Occupiers, ing Operangl Ma for on "Associati s. Dic tives" by Charles ken

freight carrying workhorse in many countries around the world. In 1989 the company was sold to Canadian planemakers, Bombardier for £30m with £390 of debt written off by the government. It is now Belfast’s largest manufacturing plant making components for Bombardier’s range of regional jets.


On a dark, cold night in February, 1753, three notorious murders took place in an isolated farmhouse on Black Mountain. They're known as the Hatchet Field Murders. A cattle drover called William Cole, his young daughter and a female visitor were discovered brutally murdered, killed with an axe or hatchet. The person responsible didn't steal anything but simply set fire to the house before making their escape. Strangely, nobody was ever charged or convicted of the heinous offence. According to Rushlight magazine, local people in Hannahstown speculated that the motive for the awful crime was jealousy or even a crime of passion committed by a scorned lover. The Hatchet Field sits awkwardly at the top of the Ballygomartin Road and is some people say it forms the strange shape of the hatchet, being visible for miles from vantage points including the M1 motorway at Broadway.

A FESTIVAL OF ENTERTAINMENT Michael Emmerson, an enterprising student at Queen's University, started the Belfast Festival at Queen’s, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, on campus. After 10 years, the Festival had grown and was already attracting names like Ravi Shankar, Laurence Olivier, Dizzy Gillespie and even Jimi Hendrix who played the '67 Festival on his 25th birthday. In fact, the Hendrix Experience gig here was their only concert in Ireland as their lead man died in 1970. By the Eighties former history don Michael Barnes was running the show, now a fortnight long arts extravaganza. Billy Con-

nolly and Rowan Atkinson were old Belfast Festival hands who enjoyed returning and Michael Palin vowed never to take his one man show anywhere else. Local talent was always well represented with figures like Seamus Heaney, Paul Mudoon, Van Morrison and Marie Jones welcomed early in their careers.


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Part of the battle of maintaining public health in Belfast as the Victorian city burgeoned involved dealing with waste, and not just human but animal waste as residents kept livestock around their properties. As well as the waste from the horses that provided the main means of transport, there were 800 dairies listed in Belfast in 1896 and one small yard in Percy Street contained 60 pigs and 30 cows, with the sewage going through a wall into the street. At the time, cowsheds and dairies were subject to regulation and inspection by the Corporation —- the numerous stables weren't so the Tramway company, whose horses were for a long time stabled in Wellington Street, was never brought to account.


If any street in Belfast spells Victorian prosperity, it’s this one which stretches from the red brick glories of the Belfast Telegraph building and Central Library, crossing North Street, and ends with a flourish at Donegall Place which runs on to the front of the City Hall. Originally known as John Street at its tops end and Hercules Street at the bottom, it was given its current name in 1881. Belfast Corporation was determined to develop Royal Avenue “a splendid business thoroughfare”. In 1882, The Irish Builder reported that the Corporation was racing towards its objective, asking high rents, leasing sites and set-

ting strict conditions on the rental of land for construction, so that for example, all buildings had to be completed within 12 months “and must not be less than four storeys in height”. All shop fronts had to be at least 15ft in height. A film taken from a tram in 1901 shows the street bustling with shoppers, workers, trams, carts, bicycles and wagons. It soons developed as the city’s principal shopping area, a reputation that was enhanced in the Eighties with the building of CastleCourt shopping centre. During the 1941 Blitz the street suffered some damage.


Socialist and writer Thomas Carnduff was born in working class Little May Street in 1886. He was a shipyard labourer who became a poet and dramatist and was known as the “shipyard playwright”. He’s best remembered, though, for his first poetry book, Songs from the Shipyard (1924). His poem Men of Belfast expresses local pride at living in this industrial powerhouse, and the first verse runs: “O city of sound and motion! O city of endless stir! From a dawn of a misty morning To the fall of the evening air; From the night of moving shadows To the sound of the shipyard horn; We hail thee, Queen of the Northland, We who are Belfast born.”

Poet John Milton denounced our territory as a “barbarous nook of Ireland” in a 1649 statement written in response to the Presbytery of Belfast , which joined in the universal condemnation of the English parliament’s execution of Charles I. Milton poured scorn on “a generation of highland thieves and redshanks” permitted “by the courtesy of England” to establish themselves in the aforementioned barbarous nook.


A large cemetery straddling Prince Charles Way, Carnmoney Cemetery sits on the slopes of Carnmoney Hill, which also contains a woodland nature reserve. The poet Derek Mahon mentions Carnmoney Cemetery in My Wicked Uncle which opens ‘It was my first funeral/Some loss of status as a nephew since / Dictates that I recall / My numbness ..." The cemetery contains a number of Great War graves, including a headstone that reads In Memory of Private R BEAUMONT/3236, "A" Coy. 3rd Bn., Royal Irish Regiment who died age 20 on 29 June 1919 Son of Thomas and the late Elizabeth Beaumont.’

MAY STREET PRESBYTERIAN May Street Presbyterian Church was built for the Presbyterian reforming minister Rev Henry Cooke — the gentleman depicted in the Black Man statue in front of Inst— and is located behind the City Hall travelling along May Street towards the markets. Opened in 1829 in Georgian Belfast, the church was originally on the edge of the city surrounded by green fields. It was built in the Greek Revival style on land originally occupied by Cromac Paper mill at Joy's Dam. Today, this busy church has an Urban Soul cafe, is often used for musical and theatrical events including soul and gospel concerts during the Belfast Festival at Queen's where the likes of performer Duke Special raise the attractive Victorian roof.




1) ODD MAN OUT (1947) With scenes shot in a recreation of the famous The Crown Bar, James Mason stars as a terrorist killer on the run. 2) GOOD VIBRATIONS (2013) Gaining plaudits worldwide, this is a biopic of punk godfather Terri Hooley and how music bridged the divide during the Troubles. 3) SHADOW DANCER (2012) Acclaimed story of 'the dirty war' of informants and betrayal based on a novel by ITV correspondent Tom Bradby 4) DIVORCING JACK (1997) Colin Bateman's blackest of black comedies made an ideal counterfoil to pieties about 'new Belfast'. 5) THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE (1987) Based on Brian Moore's novel of a middleaged spinster’s quiet desperation, the film was set in Belfast but filmed in Dublin. Among the top notch cast is Maggie Smith and Bob Hoskins

6) THE BILLY PLAYS — GRAHAM REID Kenneth Branagh and Jimmy Ellis star in this series about a working class Protestant family set against the backdrop of 1980s Belfast. 7) CATCHPENNY TWIST — STEWART PARKER (1977) Surreal and tragic, Parker's play eerily features the Irish obsession with the Eurovision Song Contest 8) HARRY'S GAME — GERALD SEYMOUR (1982) Undercover soldier chases IRA leader, most noted for its haunting music by Irish folk group, Clannad 9) GIVE MY HEAD PEACE (1998) Satirical sitcom by The Hole in the Wall Gang poking fun at the republican and loyalist mantras of the day 10) EUREKA STREET — ROBERT McLIAM WILSON (1999} Underrated TV drama showing the city's painful transition from Troubles to postTroubles.

Norman Whiteside, born in 1965, was the youngest player ever to play in a World Cup at the age of 17. He grew up in the Shankill Road area and began his career at Manchester United, scoring 68 goals in 278 league and cup appearances for the club over seven years. He was part of the team that won the FA Cup in 1983 and 1985. He moved to Everton in 1989 but retired two years later at 26 due to a knee injury. Whiteside is the youngest player to score inLeague Cup and FA Cup finals and the youngest player to score a senior goal for Manchester United.


"Bare feet are rare, even among the lower orders.". Madame de Bovet's 1890 comment on the shod state of the peopleof Belfast was meant as a compliment on its wealth. But this protection didn't apply to women linen workers, especially flax spinners whose bare feet on the damp floors were a health hazard. Opinions differed among doctors as to the seriousness of conditions and it was another 15 years before it was made compulsory for linen mills to make sure floors were drained.


Builtin1888asachanceforthe mainly working class families of the district to get what would be denied them at home, ie a hot water bath, this distinctive building was designed by Robert Watts and contained two public pools and 35 private baths. The private baths being more expensive, the public pools were constantly occupied. Though refurbished in the Fifties the rise of central heating and leisure centres led to a decline in its use. The building was eventually sold in 1990 and became one of the city’s most acclaimed art spaces as the Ormeau Baths Gallery. Despite hosting exhibitions from artists as distinctive as Gilbert and George and Yoko Ono, it was closed in 2011.


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Philip Hammond’s Requiem for the Lost Souls of the Titanic, written to commemorate the 1,517 passengers and crew who lost their lives on the great ship on April 14, 1912, was performed in Belfast’s two great cathedrals, Catholic St Peter’s Cathedral and Protestant St Anne’s, during Titanic centenary year 2012. A beautiful piece which uses a choir and contains a sequence near the end where percussive bells shimmer to denote the souls of the dead ascending to a better place, it won wide acclaim for Dr Hammond, a Queen’s University graduate, composer and music critic.


The legendary Sir Robert Baird (1855-1934) was owner of the Belfast Telegraph newspaper for 48 years. A revered member of the Masonic Lodge, he was born in Belfast and educated at Model School and Royal Belfast Academical Institution. In 1869, he entered the firm of W. & G. Baird, Arthur Street, Belfast, and was present at the first publication of the Telegraph, on September 1, 1870. Baird served as managing director of W & G Baird from 1886 until his death in 1934. He founded and owned a series of newspapers, including: the Belfast Weekly Telegraph (1873), Ballymena Weekly Telegraph (1887), Ireland’s Saturday Night (1894), Belfast Telegraph (1904), Irish Daily Telegraph (1904) and The Larne Times.


Set in an eight-acre site in Titanic Quarter, the Paint Hall film studio and purpose-built sound stages have brought the glamour of Hollywood to Belfast and a vital boost to the local economy. It was used in 2007 by Universal Pictures for the children’s sc-fi adventure film City of Ember and in 2009 for medieval comedy Your Highness. It was also home to Seasons 1-3 of Game of Thrones.


Floral Hall on the outskirts of north Belfast is remembered as a place of entertainment and romance. Designed by DW Boyd, it was built in the mid-1930s and furnished by the firm J & R Taggart, at a cost of £14,520. The dance hall was attended by people from all over Northern Ireland and was the place to be, and be seen, in the

Undoubtedly the funniest man ever to come out of the city, Frank Carson was regarded as a “one-off” and leading TV presenter Eamonn Holmes remarked at his funeral last year: “We will never see his like again.” The son of a binman, Frank was born in 1926 to a family of Italian descent and grew up in the Little Italy area of the city. He worked as a plasterer and electrician before joining the Parachute Regiment. He served for three years in the Middle East in the Fifties, before his attention turned to showbusiness. Famous for the catchphrase, “It’s the way I tell ‘em”, he rose to fame in the Sixties after winning talent show Opportunity Knocks three times. He went on to appear alongside

A Belfast cultural institution, the Queen’s Film Theatre opened 40 years ago. The first film it screened, Louis Malle's Viva Maria, laid down a marker, being new wave, in a foreign language, with a couple of famous foreign female stars, Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau. For the first 30 years of its existence the theatre, grafted onto two University lecture theatres, was fairly spartan, with the ticket machine being wheeled out into a broomsized office for each performance. Today the

QFT is part of the University’s drama and film centre and features two auditoria, one with state-of-the-art digital projection equipment. Part of the culture of QFT has been to bring film makers to the building to engage with fans and explore their work. Never afraid of controversy, QFT planned to show the sexually explicit Last Tango in Paris in 1973 but it was banned by the City Council. Ironically the film is part of this year’s programme. Has its time finally arrived, 40 years on?

LORD MAYOR’S PARADE f e l l o w comics Charlie Williams, Bernard Manning, Mike Reid and Jim Bowen in the Seventies TV series, The Comedians. A familiar face on TV for the next two decades, his other shows included Who Do You Do? and variety show The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club. In 1987, Pope John Paul II knighted Carson into the order of St Gregory at a private audience in Rome, in recognition of his charity work in Northern Ireland. He died on February 22, 2012.

YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST Often described as one of the greatest rock songs of all time, Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven was first played live in the Ulster Hall on March 5, 1971. More than 40 years later, the song continues to top radio play lists and on the 20th anniversary of the original release, it was

north of the city over four decades. In later years the band Pink Floyd played there and it was also the venue for roller discos. Situated in the grounds of Belfast Zoo, Floral Hall was shut in the 1970s and has fallen into disrepair. Last year a Facebook campaign ‘Save and Restore the Floral Hall at Belfast Zoo’ was set up.



Born: November 6, 1926 Who? Comedian

Alexander ‘Buck Alec’ Robinson was character known for street fighting and for being seen walking his pet lions on a chain. Born in 1901 he was also a boxer, loyalist paramilitary and Ulster Special Constabulary reservist. Born in York Street, he was only 12 when he was first arrested for larceny and his criminal convictions continued until the Second World War. Around this time he acquired three toothless lions which he kept at home and Belfast folklore tells of him walking them on the streets of Sailortown. He continued to be known as a streetfighter into his 50s and died in 1995 at the ripe old age of 94.

announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays — back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.

The annual Lord Mayor's Parade in Belfast was a colourful highlight in the city’s cultural calendar for more than half a century. Last year however its £80,000 funding was used for a carnival forming part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, and there’s been no mention of it since. The annual event was always billed as a celebration of community inclusion and diversity, with hundreds dressed in themed costumes coming out to party on the streets. Partygoers enjoyed huge neon floats, stilt walkers, giant ‘animals’ and hundreds of dancers that set the pleasant tone of the parade. Some of the more imaginative and unusual floats made the parade a truly unique event, including robotic creatures that appeared to be stealing cars.


Belfast is home to some of the best schools in Northern Ireland and the oldest in the city is Belfast Royal Academy, commonly known as BRA. Founded in 1785 in Academy Street, it transferred to its present site on the Cliftonville Road in north Belfast in the 19th century and is now a large, co-educational, non-denominational day grammar school with strong academic, musical and sporting traditions. In 1888, Queen Victoria granted the school permission to style itself Belfast Royal Academy and its name was officially changed from Belfast Academy. The school crest includes the rose, the thistle and the shamrock. It has 400 pupils, with another 165 at Ben Madigan, the prep feeder school located on the Antrim Road close to Belfast Castle.

TREATING WOMEN AS EQUAL CLASS Queen’s University is a pioneer in social equality issues. The University’s Charter of 1908 guaranteed women equal eligibility to hold any office and enjoy any advantage of Queen’s – 12 years before women were admitted to Oxford and a full decade before they were given the vote. Full rights for women students had already been granted in the 1880s. The 1908 Charter, which consolidated the principle of non-denominational teaching, also made trailblazing provision for student representation on the Senate, the governing body of the university.


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The CastleCourt shopping centre was Belfast's first major shopping centre. Based at Royal Avenue it’s on the site where the old Smithfield Market, the General Post Office, the Grand Central Hotel, and other well-known establishments were once located. Built by John Laing, it opened in 1990 and was a target for paramilitaries. It was attacked a number of times during construction and after it opened became famous for bomb scares. Today it contains around 350,000 sq ft of retail space and competes with Victoria Square for custom. It has approximately 16 million visits every year to its 80 stores, 15 food places and multistorey car park.

... was the bloodiest year of the Troubles. After Bloody Sunday in January of that year when 13 civil rights demonstrators were shot dead by the Army in Londonderry, direct rule was imposed from London,starting in March. A secret meeting between the IRA and government officials later that year went badly. At around 1pm, on the afternoon of Friday, July 21, 1972, the bomb

disposal team in Belfast got their first call of the day to say explosives had been found underneath the Albert Bridge. Bomb disposal expert Colin Tennant said later: “While we were trying to clear it up, the radio started to really crackle...we started to get these calls in from brigade saying here’s another incident, another and another.” In all, the IRA had planted 23


re ich has made travel mo The pneumatic tyre wh torists and cyclists mo of s tion era gen for comfortable his son’s . It was while watching was invented in the city streets of d ble cob the on ycle discomfort riding his tric e up with n John Boyd Dunlop cam Belfast that Scottish bor 7 and it 186 in fast Bel 0 he moved to his invention. Born in 184 nlop realised the Du t tha son his ing tch was in 1888, while wa the bumpy bike were to blame for solid rubber tyres of the in thin ycle tric 's son his eels of ride. He wrapped the wh glued together at the n the he ich wh ber sheets of rub es ll pump to inflate the tub edges. He used a footba d surroa the en we bet air and create a cushion of s the pneumatic tyre wa face and the wheel and ion in 1888 ent inv his ed ent pat He born. ut producand in 1889, he set abo nt in pla tyre t firs tion at his Belfast.

bombs in and around Belfast, killing nine, injuring 130. Philip Gault, aged 9, was shopping with his mother that day. Philip leaned against a vehicle where a bomb was concealed. He was blown 10 feet into the air by the blast. He said: “All of a sudden you’re sitting on the ground looking at a pool of blood and seeing the aftermath.”

TITANIC DOCK AND PUMP HOUSE Located in the Northern Ireland Science Park, Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House offers a unique opportunity to explore the site where Titanic last rested on dry ground. You can still see the remnants of the engineering brilliance that brought Titanic into being. The Pump House was once the beating heart of Harland & Wolff’s operation during the construction of the great White Star liners. Today the Pump House is home to a Visitors’ Centre and cafe with daily guided tours. The Thompson Dock itself is the footprint of Titanic and provides an amazing representation of the scale of the ship.


A popular site for abseilers, the skyscraping Obel Tower cost £60m and measures 85 metres (279 ft) in height, dominating the Belfast skyline. On completion, it overtook the previous tallest skyscraper in Ireland, Windsor House (80 m). Standing majestically on Donegall Quay, the tower contains 233 apartments priced off-plans from £100,000 to £475,000 in 2005. In April 2011 it was announced that London law firm Allen & Overy was to rent all of the available office space at the Obel. A year later local catering firm Mount Charles opened a second ‘Fed and Watered’ branded cafe in one of the retail units on the ground floor but on Friday 30 November 2012 administrators were appointed to Obel Ltd.


The tragic deaths of three children in Belfast in August 1976 spawned a mass movement for peace. A car driven by an IRA man was being chased by the British Army when it crashed, killing three children and ultimately leading to the children’s mother, Anne Maguire, committing

suicide a few years later. Anne's sister, Mairead Corrigan, made a griefstricken appeal on TV for peace. Her appeal struck a chord. Within three days, the Peace People was born, led by Mairead and Betty Williams. They were awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for their efforts.


James Joseph Magennis, born in 1919, from the Falls Road, was the only person from Northern Ireland to receive the Victoria Cross for Second World War heroics. The VC is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. In July 1945 he was serving on a submarine HMS XE3 during Operation Struggle. During an attack on the Japanese cruiser Takao in Singapore, Magennis showed extraordinary valour and bravery by leaving the submarine for a second time in order to free some explosive charges that had got caught. His commanding officer Lieutenant Ian Fraser was also awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 31 July 1945 during the Operation. Magennis died in 1986.


Sinclair Seaman’s Church on Corporation Square — Belfast’s dedicated maritime place of worship — was officially opened in October 1857. The interior of this Venetian style harbourside church was refurbished on a maritime theme and it has continued as a gleaming tribute to the city’s seafaring traditions led by a friendly congregation. Outstanding features include the stained glass, the bell from HMS Hood and the lifeboat shape collection boxes. Shipyard workers, dockers and sailors at the time of Titanic would have felt at home in its ship-like interior, with its pulpit shaped as a ship’s prow flanked by navigation lights, ship’s binnacle font and the tolling bell which callsworshippers to service.


The Protestant Day of Action in protest at the signing of the Anglo Irish Agreement in 1985 saw one of the largest mass protests ever staged in Belfast when around 100,000 gathered at Belfast City Hall. The treaty gave the Irish government an advisory role in Northern Ireland’s government. The rally was addressed by DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley with his iconic “Never, never speech.” The day after the rally a MORI opinion poll found that 75% of Protestants would vote ‘No’ if a referendum was held on the Agreement, with 65% of Catholics saying they would vote ‘Yes’.


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In 1884, a largely female audience packed the Linen Hall to hear Oscar Wilde praise Messrs Richardson Sons and Owden's building which is now home to Marks & Spencer. He said it was “beautiful in colour and very beautiful in design”. Designed by WH Lynn and built in 1868-9 it was initially a linen warehouse and later the offices of the Water Commissioners before serving as a shop.


A world class tourist attraction which in the first six months of opening last year smashed all visitor forecasts, the Titanic Centre has transformed the Belfast docklands as well as making a significant contribution to tourism in Northern Ireland as a whole. The £100m attraction uses the latest technology to bring the

tragic story of the famous doomed liner to life with CGI animation, 3D imagery, recreated cabins and a ride in suspended carts. In just six months last year the centre welcomed 500,000 visitors — more than what was expected for its entire first year — from 111 countries around the world including Canada, America, the United Arab Emirates, Nepal and Korea.

ON THE FARM... IN THE CITY No longer will the annual Balmoral Show be the time when “country came to town”. The agri-food show was first held at the Balmoral showgrounds in south Belfast on June 17-19, 1896, but after 116 years is moving to a new venue. After a vote by members last year, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) event will now take place at the new Balmoral Park showgrounds on the former Maze Prison site, marking a new chapter in the society's 159 year history. Organisers say the new site encompasses all the much loved features of its former home along with new attractions. Over the years notable visitors to the Balmoral show have included King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra and Grand National winner Red Rum. In 2009 sculptures of the First and Deputy First Ministers — Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness — were made from cheese as part of Dale Farm’s Dromona exhibit.

Younger brother of football legend Danny Blanchflower, Jackie was one of the Busby Babes who survived the Manchester United Munich air crash. The centre-half made his debut for Northern Ireland in 1954 alongside his brother and during his career won 12 caps. He joined Manchester United as an amateur in May, 1949, and turned professional a year later. His career was cut short by the 1958 Munich disaster, when United's plane crashed on take-off, killing eight of the legendary Busby Babes. Jackie was badly injured in the crash, which claimed a total of 23 lives, and was unable to continue playing. He retired in June 1959 to become an accountant. He was also a popular after-dinner speaker. He died in 1998, aged 65 after a long fight against cancer.


JOHN WATSON Born: Belfast, 1946 Who? Racing driver

Formula 1’s John Watson MBE was a huge star in British racing winning five Grand Prix and also competing in the World Sportscar Championship. Born in Belfast in 1946, his Formula 1 career began in 1972 and just a year later he scored his first point in Monte Carlo for Goldie Hexagon Racing. He won a total of five races during his Formula 1 career and in 1979 moved to McLaren, where he gave them their first victory in over three years by winning the 1981 British Grand Prix and also securing the first victory for a carbon fibre composite


Built in 1897 by the the Naughton brothers of Randalstown, Clonard Monastery was designed in early French Gothic style by Ludwig Oppenheimer. Home to the Redemptorist Order, which was founded in Italy in 1732, the vision of this beautiful monastery located just off the Falls Road is a centre of welcome and outreach, of faith and wisdom, where people,


especially the broken, can find the freedom to discover the plentiful Redemption of Jesus. Clonard is not a parish church, which is the reason why it does not have baptisms, marriages and funerals, something people find hard to understand. Each year it holds a Solemn Novena — nine days ofprayer, attended by people of many denominations.

monocoque F1 car, the McLaren MP4/1. His most successful year was 1982, when he finished third in the drivers' championship, winning two Grand Prix. After retiring from active racing, he worked as a television commentator, ran a race school at Silverstone and managed a racetrack. He also became the first man to ever test a Jordan Formula One car in 1990.


Queen’s Students’ Union is the representative body of all Queen’s University Belfast students. Its origins can be traced to the late 19th century and it's been based on University Road, directly opposite the University's main Lanyon building since the Sixties. The current President is Jason O'Neill. The Union boasts a total of seven elected student officers, a management team and a range of both full-time and part-time staff. Student officers are elected each year in March and every Queen’s student is encouraged to put him or herself forward for a role and also to vote. A not-for-profit organisation, it ploughs every penny spent in any of its shops, bars or entertainments venues straight back into providing advice on everything from finance to bullying, running campaigns and improving the building. The Union also contains a relaxation and study area called The Space, a bank, coffee shops, a food court and meeting rooms. The Union acts as an umbrella body for more than 170 clubs and societies, ranging from origami to clay pigeon shooting and trampolining.

Tucked away in a small courtyard off Winecellar Entry, White’s is Belfast’s oldest tavern, open for business since 1630. White’s is truly a part of Northern Irish history: it is said that Henry Joy McCracken, a founder of the revolutionary United Irishmen, had his last drink here before being hanged in 1798. By then the tavern – originally named Hugh White & Co — was already more than 150 years old. It was renamed White’s Tavern in the early Sixtes. Badly damaged by a bomb in the Eighties, it’s been almost totally rebuilt but retains its historical character.


John Joseph ‘Rinty’ Monaghan became the world flyweight boxing champion at the Kings Hall, Belfast in 1948. He retired in 1950 at the end of a 16 year professional boxing career in which he fought 66 contests, winning 51, drawing six others and being beaten only nine times. Born in 1918 in Lancaster Street he was just 11 when he began taking part in street boxing contests earning a fish and chip supper when he won. By the time he was 14 he was picking up purses of a few shillings for victories and training in a tumbledown gym in Hardinge Street.


It is in the old Poor House burial ground in Clifton Street that most of the 1798 radicals are buried, as well as the remains of Doctor William Drennan, Thomas McCabe and Mary-Ann McCracken — Henry Joy's faithful sister who has earned her own place in history as a feminist, philanthropist and social reformer.


Forbidden Planet in Ann Street — the go-to destination for comics and fantasy games — was founded in the Sixties. It stocks more than 1,000 comics and enough games-related material to keep the average dragon engrossed in whatever dungeon he happens to find himself in.


APRIL 23 2013


In 1884, a largely female audience packed the Linen Hall to hear Oscar Wilde praise Messrs Richardson Sons and Owden's building which is now home to Marks & Spencer. He said it was “beautiful in colour and very beautiful in design”. Designed by WH Lynn and built in 1868-9 it was initially a linen warehouse and later the offices of the Water Commissioners before serving as a shop.


A world class tourist attraction which in the first six months of opening last year smashed all visitor forecasts, the Titanic Centre has transformed the Belfast docklands as well as making a significant contribution to tourism in Northern Ireland as a whole. The £100m attraction uses the latest technology to bring the

tragic story of the famous doomed liner to life with CGI animation, 3D imagery, recreated cabins and a ride in suspended carts. In just six months last year the centre welcomed 500,000 visitors — more than what was expected for its entire first year — from 111 countries around the world including Canada, America, the United Arab Emirates, Nepal and Korea.

ON THE FARM... IN THE CITY No longer will the annual Balmoral Show be the time when “country came to town”. The agri-food show was first held at the Balmoral showgrounds in south Belfast on June 17-19, 1896, but after 116 years is moving to a new venue. After a vote by members last year, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) event will now take place at the new Balmoral Park showgrounds on the former Maze Prison site, marking a new chapter in the society's 159 year history. Organisers say the new site encompasses all the much loved features of its former home along with new attractions. Over the years notable visitors to the Balmoral show have included King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra and Grand National winner Red Rum. In 2009 sculptures of the First and Deputy First Ministers — Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness — were made from cheese as part of Dale Farm’s Dromona exhibit.

Younger brother of football legend Danny Blanchflower, Jackie was one of the Busby Babes who survived the Manchester United Munich air crash. The centre-half made his debut for Northern Ireland in 1954 alongside his brother and during his career won 12 caps. He joined Manchester United as an amateur in May, 1949, and turned professional a year later. His career was cut short by the 1958 Munich disaster, when United's plane crashed on take-off, killing eight of the legendary Busby Babes. Jackie was badly injured in the crash, which claimed a total of 23 lives, and was unable to continue playing. He retired in June 1959 to become an accountant. He was also a popular after-dinner speaker. He died in 1998, aged 65 after a long fight against cancer.


JOHN WATSON Born: Belfast, 1946 Who? Racing driver

Formula 1’s John Watson MBE was a huge star in British racing winning five Grand Prix and also competing in the World Sportscar Championship. Born in Belfast in 1946, his Formula 1 career began in 1972 and just a year later he scored his first point in Monte Carlo for Goldie Hexagon Racing. He won a total of five races during his Formula 1 career and in 1979 moved to McLaren, where he gave them their first victory in over three years by winning the 1981 British Grand Prix and also securing the first victory for a carbon fibre composite


Built in 1897 by the the Naughton brothers of Randalstown, Clonard Monastery was designed in early French Gothic style by Ludwig Oppenheimer. Home to the Redemptorist Order, which was founded in Italy in 1732, the vision of this beautiful monastery located just off the Falls Road is a centre of welcome and outreach, of faith and wisdom, where people,


especially the broken, can find the freedom to discover the plentiful Redemption of Jesus. Clonard is not a parish church, which is the reason why it does not have baptisms, marriages and funerals, something people find hard to understand. Each year it holds a Solemn Novena — nine days ofprayer, attended by people of many denominations.

monocoque F1 car, the McLaren MP4/1. His most successful year was 1982, when he finished third in the drivers' championship, winning two Grand Prix. After retiring from active racing, he worked as a television commentator, ran a race school at Silverstone and managed a racetrack. He also became the first man to ever test a Jordan Formula One car in 1990.


Queen’s Students’ Union is the representative body of all Queen’s University Belfast students. Its origins can be traced to the late 19th century and it's been based on University Road, directly opposite the University's main Lanyon building since the Sixties. The current President is Jason O'Neill. The Union boasts a total of seven elected student officers, a management team and a range of both full-time and part-time staff. Student officers are elected each year in March and every Queen’s student is encouraged to put him or herself forward for a role and also to vote. A not-for-profit organisation, it ploughs every penny spent in any of its shops, bars or entertainments venues straight back into providing advice on everything from finance to bullying, running campaigns and improving the building. The Union also contains a relaxation and study area called The Space, a bank, coffee shops, a food court and meeting rooms. The Union acts as an umbrella body for more than 170 clubs and societies, ranging from origami to clay pigeon shooting and trampolining.

Tucked away in a small courtyard off Winecellar Entry, White’s is Belfast’s oldest tavern, open for business since 1630. White’s is truly a part of Northern Irish history: it is said that Henry Joy McCracken, a founder of the revolutionary United Irishmen, had his last drink here before being hanged in 1798. By then the tavern – originally named Hugh White & Co — was already more than 150 years old. It was renamed White’s Tavern in the early Sixtes. Badly damaged by a bomb in the Eighties, it’s been almost totally rebuilt but retains its historical character.


John Joseph ‘Rinty’ Monaghan became the world flyweight boxing champion at the Kings Hall, Belfast in 1948. He retired in 1950 at the end of a 16 year professional boxing career in which he fought 66 contests, winning 51, drawing six others and being beaten only nine times. Born in 1918 in Lancaster Street he was just 11 when he began taking part in street boxing contests earning a fish and chip supper when he won. By the time he was 14 he was picking up purses of a few shillings for victories and training in a tumbledown gym in Hardinge Street.


It is in the old Poor House burial ground in Clifton Street that most of the 1798 radicals are buried, as well as the remains of Doctor William Drennan, Thomas McCabe and Mary-Ann McCracken — Henry Joy's faithful sister who has earned her own place in history as a feminist, philanthropist and social reformer.


Forbidden Planet in Ann Street — the go-to destination for comics and fantasy games — was founded in the Sixties. It stocks more than 1,000 comics and enough games-related material to keep the average dragon engrossed in whatever dungeon he happens to find himself in.



From 1787 to about 1806, a large pottery firm operated on the Ravenhill Road in south Belfast. Built by three businessmen, chief of whom was Thomas Greg, it produced beautiful creamware in the style of Wedgwood. However, the first proof of that only came in 1993 when the pottery site was excavated. Due to Wedgwood’s influence within the ceramics industry, creamware made in Belfast was produced using different materials. It was named the Downshire Pottery in 1791 in honour of the Marquis of Downshire. The pottery flourished until Greg’s death in 1796 and was later re-opened for a few years from 1800.


Belfast Central Library in Royal Avenue was opened in 1888 and was one of the first major public library buildings in Ireland. A competition for the design was won by architect WH Lynn in 1883; it was built by H & J Martin builders. Designed to reflect the ambitions of the growing city, its architecture is a fine example of public-service building in the Victorian age. On a black granite base, the Dumfries red sandstone exterior with a slightly Italianate feel, houses a three-floor interior with a sweeping staircase, a pillared foyer, and a fine domed first-floor reading room. The top floor originally included a museum and art gallery. The building survived undamaged through the Blitz and the Troubles.


In 1896 a special committee, arranged to look at Belfast's high death rate, was informed by the Sanitary Officer there were 20,000 houses out of 70,000 without lavatory facilities. Until the 1890s it wasn't that uncommon to see the contents of privies and ashpits left lying in the streets. In the old slum areas off Belfast's city centre, conditions were worst and the only sanitation at the time in St James' Square — a court of six houses between York and Corporation Streets where the entrance was too narrow to admit a wheelbarrow — was a common pit in front of the dwellings. "You couldn't walk through the little narrow passsage between the pit and the houses without going over your shoe mouth in human excrement" reported disgusted of Belfast.


The nurses at Musgrave Heart Hospital were said to be all a flutter when the US army arrived to construct Nissen Huts there during the Second World War. A temporary base for soldiers preparing to take part in the Normandy landings, they have since housed various hospital departments in their 44-year history and have only recently been demolished to make way for the new Regional Acquired Brain Injury Unit. Musgrave hospital also played its part in the history of The Troubles. On Monday December 15, 1980, Sean McKenna, one of the original seven hunger strikers was moved to Musgrave Park Hospital and in November 1991, a bomb planted by the IRA exploded in the Military Wing. Two soldiers were killed and 11 other people were injured, among them a five-year-old girl and a baby of four months. when the bomb exploded in the Military Wing's social club.

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Back in the Eighties the Delta in Donegall Place and The Plaza in Donegall Lane were a mecca for alternative Belfast. Originally targeted at the gay community, they became the haunt of punks, goths, mods, psychobillies and bohemian types. From the Clash and the Cure to the Cramps, The Blow Monkeys to Bauhaus, all tastes were catered for. Those attending were able to bring their own ‘refreshments’ and young fans waited until the older

patrons left the scene before enjoying their own music. It was a vital safety valve for teenagers growing up in the Troubles and although both clubs eventually shut, the glory days were celebrated in 2012 with a reunion party at the Oh Yeah Music Centre and via the Facebook page, My Jeans Got Bogging at the Delta and then at the Plaza. Although this was a tough time for clubs, with one club manager having his throat cut during an assault, ex-members relived the days when girls (and boys) just wanted to have uncomplicated fun.


When the Queen and Prince Phillip came to Belfast in 1966, 17-year-old John Morgan, an apprentice heating engineer, threw a breeze block at them from scaffolding on Chamber of Commerce House, then under construction on Great Victoria Street on the site of the Europa. As their glass-topped Rolls Royce approached from Howard Street, Morgan aimed and threw the brick from the sixth floor level and watched it hit the front left of the car with a huge thump. The royal car sped off in a cloud of dust while the RUC rushed across the road into the building and arrested Morgan. He was charged the following day, as the royal party was flying out of

Aldergrove, under the archaic Treason Act 1842, Section 32. At his trial on September 26 he took the witness stand and stated that he had acted alone, on the spur of the moment, as a political protest. He was sentenced to four years in prison.


Construction on Belfast Gasworks began in 1822. At first gas was used to light streetlights, but it became widely used for cooking and lighting in 1903 when coin meters, a cooking ring and lamp bracket were supplied free to households. The City Hall was built largely from the profits of the gasworks. Production ceased in 1988 when rising oil prices pushed up the cost of production and since then the site has been redeveloped for housing and commercial properties.


Formed in 1924, the Northern Ireland Labour Party drew its support largely from Belfast working class districts, and had a strong electoral base, gaining three seats in the 1925 Northern Ireland General Election. In 1943 it gained its only Westminster seat, when Jack Beattie won the Belfast West seat, and retained it until 1949. The party, having originally decided not to have a policy on the “border” question, in the same year voted to support the union. This decision immediately led to a haemorrhage of support among working class Catholics, and with the arrival of the Troubles, the party foundered as the working class vote split on sectarian lines. But perhaps now their initial policy not to have a policy on the border makes sense. Time for a comeback?


Before reinventing itself as a performing arts centre, in the Belfast manner, the Crumlin Road prison preferred it if its inmates didn't leave before the end of their desired term. Some however, made good their escape. Among the most notorious were the ‘Crumlin Kangaroos'. During a football match on the November 17, 1971, nine prisoners using improvised rope ladders, hopped over the wall into two waiting cars. Two of the nine, Christy Keenan and Danny Mullan, were recaptured the next day, when the security forces saw through their disguise as Cistercian monks. The breakout inspired a song for republican band The Wolfhounds which proved popular with the Irish diaspora.

DANNY BLANCHFLOWER Born: February 10, 1926 Who? NI football captain

Described as the greatest player in the history of Spurs, football legend Danny Blanchflower who died in 1993 aged 77 is remembered as one of the great tacticians in the history of the game. Renowned for passing and as an outstanding right-half he enjoyed an illustrious career as a Northern Ireland international player and manager and captained Tottenham Hotspurs during its double-winning season of 1961. Between 1949 and 1963, he earned 56 caps for Northern Ireland, often playing alongside his brother Jackie and in 1958 captained Northern Ireland

when they reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup. He finally announced his retirement as a player on April 5, 1964 at the age of 38, having played nearly 400 games in all competitions for Spurs and captained them to four major trophies.



Renowned Belfast artist Gerald Dillon was born on April 20, 1916, at Lower Clonard Street. He left school at the age of 14 and for seven years worked as a painter and decorator, mostly in London before finally discovering his true calling. Born in 1916, he was 20 before he started out as an artist, almost entirely self-taught, though he attended art classes in Belfast for a short period. His early works featured simple depictions of the life and people around him and he later became known for his stunning Connemara landscapes and unusual use of colour. In 1958 he had the double honour of representing Ireland at the Guggenheim International, and Great Britain at the Pittsburg International Exhibition. He travelled widely in Europe and taught for brief periods in the London art schools. He died in 1971.


The Twelfth is a yearly Protestant celebration held on July 12. Belfast hosts the largest demonstration with members of the Orange Order and bands walking from Clifton Street to the Field at Edenderry. The Twelfth celebrates the Glorious Revolution in 1688 and, in 1690, the victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne. Orangefest has tried to broaden the day’s appeal by explaining Orange culture.


Best selling science fiction writer Bob Shaw was born in Belfast in 1931 and worked in engineering, aircraft design and journalism before becoming a full time writer in 1975. Among his novels are Orbitsville, A Wreath of Stars, The Ragged Astronauts and his bestknown work, Other Days, Other Eyes, based on the Nebula Award-nominated Light of Other Days, the story that made his reputation. Although his novels were for the most part serious, he was known for his sense of humour.

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A LITTLE BLUE BOOK Within the last year or two, Belfast has definitely shaken off its slightly repressed image. Ulster no longer says no to naughtiness but seems to want to talk dirty. In 2012 Leesa Harker from the Shore Road area of north Belfast started a blog, producing her localised parody of EL James’ mega successful slice of erotic fiction, Fifty Shades of Grey. She quickly gained a load of followers and local publisher Blackstaff spotted an opportunity. Fifty Shades of Red, White and Blue appeared in book form autumn 2012 and was quickly followed by a stage show which played to

packed houses, around 75% female, at the MAC. The show is now moving on Dublin and Scotland before returning to Belfast’s Grand Opera House. Leesa has since published a second book Dirty Dancin in le Shebeen.


At one time Belfast's Smithfield Market housed more than 20 public houses, plus auctioneers, theatres and a handball alley. It was described in 1852 as “the rendezvous of a gang of youthful miscreants — candidates for the hulks and the gallows — who find a market there for their booty and the eye and hand of justice”. It was open to the elements until the Belfast Corporation created a square roofed building during the late 19th century. Smithfield was destroyed by fire in 1974, rebuilt with prefabs in 1976, and a new brick building was opened in 1986.The market was immortalised in song by the late comedian James Young, on one of his popular comedy albums. A famous Smithfield tenant selling second hand goods was Joe "I Buy Anything" Kavanagh. The mar-


ROY WALKER Born: 31 July, 1940 Who? Comedian

Best known as host of the original TV game show Catchphrase, which has just been brought back to our screens with a new presenter, Roy Walker remains one of Belfast and Northern Ireland’s most loved comedians and personalities. Born in 1940, Walker performed in the Francis Longford Choir as a teenager, then worked as a riveter in Harland & Wolff. Unusually he was also the Northern Ireland champion hammer thrower for three years, and represented the province internationally. He spent a short time as a comedy partner of fellow comic James Young

before serving seven years in Army. Walker came to fame in 1977 when he won the ITV talent show New Faces, receiving the highest mark ever given to a comedian. He was also one of the big stars of the stand-up comedy showcase The Comedians. He continues to appear regularly on TV and on stage.

WE NAME THIS PARK ... Woodvale Park became Belfast’s fourth public park when it opened in 1888. The land was bought by Belfast Corporation from Reverend Glover. He had lived in a house called Woodville that once stood in the park. The park was due to be called Shankill Park, but the name was changed to Woodvale at the last minute. The

ket as we know it today is based at Winetavern Street and West Street. It contains a range of shops, selling everything from collectibles and souvenirs to camping equipment and jewellery.There is also a range of services available including dressmaking and watch repairs, plus places to get a snack.

opening was set for 3pm on Saturday, August 18, 1888. By 3.35pm the dignitaries had not turned up and so one of the rangers took the key to admit the large crowd. Cricket was first played in the park in1894, although the authorities were wary of possible injury to other park users.

In the history of British medicine Harold Shipman is the only doctor ever to have been found guilty of murdering his patients but there was another doctor born in Belfast believed to have had more victims than Shipman. John Bodkin Adams, born in Belfast in 1899 and who lived until the age of 84, was a GP, convicted fraudster and suspected serial killer. Between 1946 and 1956, more than 160 of his patients died in suspicious circumstances. Of these, 132 left him money or items in their wills. He was tried and acquitted for the murder of one patient in 1957. Another count of murder was withdrawn by the prosecution in what was later described as "an abuse of process" by the presiding judge causing questions to be asked in parliament about the prosecution's handling of events. Adams was found guilty in a subsequent trial of 13 offences of prescription fraud, lying on cremation forms, obstructing a police search and failing to keep a dangerous drugs register. He was removed from the Medical Register in 1957 and reinstated in 1961 after two failed applications.


The prolific Belfast artist Markey Robinson (February 7, 1918-January 28, 1999) had a distinctive naïve expressionist painting style. He also produced sculptures, and designed some stained glass panels. A house painter, boxer and a merchant sailor in his youth, his first exhibitions were in Belfast during World War II. He became better known through his exhibitions at the Oriel Gallery in Dublin where over 20 exhibitions were held as well as a steady stream of sales of individual pictures. Toward the end of his life Markey painted many of the same paintings again and again as he was guaranteed good prices from them. Many of his best works were painted around the 1960s. He never kept any of his paintings. His daughter Annie is also a popular artist and her works are often inspired by Markey. It is estimated that he produced over 10,000 works of art. More than 400 Markey Robinson works can be seen in the online archive catalogues of Whytes Irish Art Auctions.


The Ulster Covenant was signed by just under half a million men and women from Ulster in protest against the Third Home Rule Bill. Signed on the days around September 28, 1912, Sir Edward Carson was the first person to sign the Covenant at the Belfast City Hall with a silver pen, followed by Lord Londonderry and representatives of the Protestant Churches. Also known as the Solemn League and Covenant, its signing along with the creation of the Ulster Volunteers, laid the foundation for the partition of Ireland. All 471,414 signatories were against the establishment of a Home Rule parliament in Dublin. The Ulster Covenant is immortalised in Rudyard Kipling’s poem Ulster 1912. In January 1913, the Ulster Volunteers aimed to recruit 100,000 men aged from 17 to 65 who had signed the Covenant.


Belfast’s largest piece of public art was completed in September 2011 at the Broadway roundabout where the M1 meets the city. Standing at 123ft tall and 98ft wide it features two steel globes, the smaller one inside the other. Its official name is Rise and it was designed to represent the rising of a new sun and a new dawn in the history of Belfast. Because of its shape and location it very quickly earned the moniker ‘Balls on the Falls.


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CONWAY MILL: Once known as Linenopolis, Belfast was the world’s largest linen producer and many of the famous mills still stand across the city. One of the most famous of the original mill buildings is Conway Mill, in Conway Street which was named after the Conway family, a noted generous family in the Clonard area. Dating back to 1842, it was originally a flax spinning mill and now houses a community enterprise of small businesses, art studios, retail space and education floor. YORK STREET MILL: One of the biggest mills in Belfast (pictured right) the York Street Mill, founded by Alexander Mullholland in 1830, was a huge company. It was both the largest spinning and weaving mill in the world, and by the 1930`s, employed over 4,000 workers. JENNYMOUNT MILL: One of the few mills that is still standing is the Jennymount Mill, just off the York Road. The building, renamed the Lanyon Building after its architect Charles Lanyon, was reopened as an office block in 2002. The earliest buildings on the site date from 1856, but in 1864 the offices, engine house and chimney were constructed with John Lanyon as architect and are adorned with


carved heads of Wordsworth, Galileo and others from the workshop of the Fitzpatrick stone carvers. The classically proportioned spinning mill runs parallel to the railway, but the most impressive building on the site is the Italiante palazzo building of 1891 also by Lanyon. BROOKEFIELD MILL: Brookfield Mill in Ardoyne is one of the last remaining historic

linen mills. Built in 1850 it is now the location for a sculpture which celebrates the contribution of female mill workers to Belfast’s growth, prosperity and success. The cast bronze statue, The Mill Worker, commissioned by the City Council and created by Northern Ireland sculptor Ross Wilson, was inspired by Belfast artist William Conor`s loving depiction of the `shawlies` and stands outside the mill.

Silver McKee was one of many who made their mark on local folklore during the Fifties and Sixties. Silver “Paddy” McKee from the Markets was a cattle drover who herded the cattle down to Allam’s cattle market ready for shipment. Known as a hardman he was often seen brawling with another character nicknamed, Stormy Weather, from the Shankill Road.


The infamous Ulster Female Penitentiary — on York Lane, off Donegall Street, and later at Brunswick Street — was set up along with the Magdalene Laundries to rehabilitate women prisoners. Many of the inmates were prostitutes — at the start of the 19th century there were around 59 brothels and 236 prostitutes in Belfast. One well-known grave in the city cemetery is the plot of the Ulster Female Penitentiary. Seven prostitutes are buried in this double grave, which is marked with a small cast-iron shield bearing the name of the Penitentiary


tuniversity life was sha The carefree bustle of ar Graham, widely Edg ist ion Un ter Uls tered when and r of both legal studies perceived as a rising sta are on Squ y rsit ive Un on d Unionism, was shot dea of the Main the IRA. The fine facade December 7, 1983, by ls a quiet, cea con , Charles Lanyon Building, designed by l Queens College: ina orig the s wa s Thi restful quadrangle. immediate anded throughout the the University has exp are and the Squ y rsit ive Un houses on area, including all the lding. The Bui yon Lan left of the imposing terrace to the ll as selling Univerwe as s ion ibit exh t visitors centre hos home to the Queen’s Film sity memorabilia. It is l Friel Theatre and severa Theatre and the Brian the law school. ing lud inc , nts me art QUB dep 1872 it is Built between 1849 and st terfine the of arguably one races in Belfast.

Standing proud in the grounds of Belfast City Hall, the 1920 stone sculpture known as the Titanic statue features a female figure of Thane looking down on two sea-nymphs lifting a drowned sailor from the sea. The statue faces east toward the Harland & Wolff shipyard where Titanic was built. Moved to its current location on March 24, 1960, this memorial was originally unveiled on June 26, 1920 in Donegall Square North. It is the work of acclaimed sculptor Thomas Brock who died two years after its unveil-

ing. The inscription reads: "Erected to the imperishable memory of those gallant Belfast men whose names are here inscribed and who lost their lives on the 15th April 1912, by the foundering of the Belfast built R.M.S. Titanic, through collision with an iceberg, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York."


Winston Churchill, King Leopold of Belgium, Billy Graham, Al Jolson and Mario Lanza were but a few of the distinguished guests who enjoyed the hospitality of Belfast’s


famous luxury hotel, the Grand Central. As well as its famous visitors, in its heyday the GC as it affectionately became known also welcomed the cream of Ulster society and

hosted the most prestigious of formal functions. The hotel opened for business on Royal Avenue on Thursday June 1, 1893. It was built by John Robb, from Downpatrick, who went on to create one of the most prestigious department stores in Belfast around the corner in Castle Place, trading as John Robb & Co. With more than 200 bedrooms and suites extending to five floors, the GC soon became the social hub of Belfast and was acknowledged as the finest hotel in Ireland. Its owners said it boasted every wonder of the age, with electricity generated in the basement to illuminate the magnificent chandeliers hanging in the ballroom, and hydraulic lifts which would take guests "without exertion" to every floor. It operated as an hotel until 1972 when it was taken over by the Army as a city centre base.


Belfast can boast an international class ice hockey star. Owen Liam Nolan was born in the city in February 1972 and emigrated with his parents to Canada when he was seven months old. During his 18 year NHL career he played for a number of teams as well as gaining international caps for Canada. He was chosen as a NHL All Star in five seasons.


Legendary boxer John Caldwell was just 18 when he came home from the Olympics in Melbourne in 1956 with a bronze medal in the flyweight division. Born in CyprusStreetin1938,hewasconsideredasasupreme fighter but sadly lost a battle against cancer in 2009 at the age of 71. He enjoyed a magnificent career as an amateur and professional in which he contested 275 bouts, winning on all but 10 occasions.


The original Hebrew inscription on the gate of the Jewish burial ground in Belfast City Cemetery, translates as “the house of life” or “house of the living”. Allocated in 1871 near Fox Lodge on Whiterock Road, the burial ground has a separate entrance and was extended in 1916, to allow for 116 new graves. The site contained a small Tahara, similar to a synagogue, which was destroyed by vandals in the 1970s. The first burial in the Jewish section was of a stillborn child named Herschman, on February 2, 1873. In 1884, cemetery officials banned headstones for those buried in the Jewish poor ground. The decision was reversed in 1929 after pressure from a rabbi. In 1931, a memorial stone was erected by the Belfast Chevra Kadisha (burial society), commemorating those buried in the poor ground. The last burial in this section took place on June 11,1964. Around 295 people are buried in the Jewish plot, including the remains of 152 children.


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She was the most graceful and beautiful plane to ever take to the skies and before she was retired Concorde made a final farewell visit to Belfast on October 21, 2003. First flown in 1969, the supersonic jet entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years. Shen was retired after the aircraft’s only crash in Paris 2000 and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. This newspaper ran a reader competition for a flight to Paris on the jet in 1983.


Playwright Sam Thompson (1916-1965) was encouraged to begin writing for radio in 1955, aged 39, by novelist and radio producer Sam Hanna Bell, who overheard him telling stories of shipyard life in a pub. Best known for his play Over the Bridge, which exposes sectarianism, Thompson was born in working-class Ballymacarrett, the seventh of eight children of a lamp-lighter and part-time sexton of St Clement's Church. He spent most of his working life as a painter in the shipyards, starting aged 14 at Harland & Wolff and working for Belfast Corporation after the Second World War. A lifelong trade unionist, he became a shop steward at the Belfast Corporation, where his opposition to sectarian discrimination was to cost him his job. He stood unsuccessfully for parliament as Labour party candidate for the South Down constituency in 1964 and married May Thompson in 1947. He suffered a heart attack in June 1961, dying suddenly from a second heart attack in 1965.


Grosvenor Grammar School is now based in Marina Park and was founded in 1945. Recently seen on Songs of Praise where its choir reached the final of the Choir of the Year competition, this grammar started life as Grosvenor High School. It was founded by the Belfast Corporation to cope with the increase in demand for grammarschool education in the area and sited in Roden Street, off the Grosvenor Road. In 1958 it moved to Cameronian Drive in the east of the city, then in 2010 moved to Marina Park. The area from which the school draws its pupils has expanded enormously to include greater Belfast and north and mid-Down. In order to avoid confusion with non-grammar 'high schools', it changed itsname in 1993 to Grosvenor Grammar School.


Known as ‘Mackies’, James Mackie and Sons was once the world’s largest manufacturer of textile machinery. It exported linen and jute machinery and once covered a staggering 133 acres in west Belfast. James Mackie arrived in Ireland from humble beginnings in Dumfries, Scotland in the 1840s. He began working in a Belfast iron foundry on Albert Street and 10 years later owned the place, providing jobs for thousands. Bill Clinton visited the site, paying tribute to how Mackies dominated the textile manufacturing world. Mackies eventually went into administration in 1999.

WORLD’S FIRST BUILDING WITH AIR CONDITIONING The internationally renowned Royal Victoria Hospital was the first building in the world to have air conditioning but it was born of very humble origins in 1792, as a dispensary in the old Poor House in Clifton Street, providing only out-patient care. It later developed into the basic six-bed Belfast Fever Hospital in Factory Row, now Berry Street, off Royal Avenue, financed by donations, charity sermons and wealthy benefactors, a system that prevailed until the advent

of the National Health Service. In 1954 the heroic Dr Frank Pantridge introduced cardiac catheterisation and later the implanted pacemaker, portable defibrillator and cardiac ambulance to the hospital. Open-heart surgery really only got going successfully with the appointment in 1968 of Mr Pat Molloy. General surgery flourished in the Sixties and the Austen-Boyd Outpatients block in 1969 added handsomely to the skyline of the hospital. The A & E unit of the ground


BIRTH OF A PRESIDENT When Mary McAleese was growing up in Ardoyne, her family priest told her that she could not be a lawyer because she was a girl. Her mother got so angry, she reportedly pulled the chair out from under him, ordered him out and told Mary to ignore him. The future Irish President was born Mary Leneghan on June 27, 1951, and as she grew up witnessed her father’s shop hit by machine-gun fire and her brother beaten in a sectarian attack. She was appointed Professor of Law at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland 1975. She married Martin McAleese, a dentist, in 1976. They have three children, Emma, and twins Saramai and Justin. In 1979 she left Trinity College to be a journalist and worked in RTE. She came back to


law in 1987 when she was appointed Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at QUB. On November 11, 1997, McAleese became the eighth President of Ireland, serving two successful terms. Mary McAleese and her husband Martin were announced as winner of the Tipperary Peace Prize in January 2012. She is currently pursuing a Licentiate of Canon Law (JCL) at Rome's Pontifical Greg o r i a n University.

’s family was of Italian Comedian Frank Carson hailing from Sicily. Little er oth ndm descent; his gra by as Belfast’s ‘Little Italy’; wn kno Patrick Street was once co, Fus ni, rco Ma — s ilie to Italian fam the 1880s it was home o and Morelli. itan Cap ti, gat Ver , nio Rossi, Forte, Notaranto ing from their ice cream shops, dat The latter are famed for d and han by am relli made ice cre 1911 when Antonio Mo ir first chip the up set ily fam a foll Caf sold it from a cart. The 1940s. The anded to Belfast in the shops in Dublin but exp stly poor farmers mo re we fast Bel to e Italians who cam many Cassalattico is home to from southern Italy and of e mm gra pro a rld War II, Irish Italians. After Wo ny Italian ma and ce pla k too nt redevelopme lves spread out families found themse around the city.

floor of this building immediately came into its own with the start of the Troubles and over the years civil violence taxed all aspects of surgery. The Royal Victoria Hospital Group became part of a wider Trust in 1993 and has since expanded further. The main part of the hospital was rebuilt at the end of the 20th century and the new block opened in 2003, a hundred years after the opening of the original RVH on the Grosvenor Road site.

William Conor OBE (18811968) was a Belfast-born artist noted for his sympathetic portrayals of working class life

in the province. Born in the Old Lodge Road, the son of a wroughtiron worker, his artistic talents were recognised at the early age of 10 when a teacher of music, Louis Mantell, noticed the merit of his chalk drawings and arranged for him to attend the College of Art. He initially worked as a commercial artist, before being commissioned during the First World War by the British government to produce official records of soldiers and munitions workers. He moved to London in 1920, where he socialised with artists such as Sir John Lavery and Augustus John. More than 50 of his works in crayon and watercolour are in the permanent collections of the Ulster Museum.


The Royal Courts of Justice was the target of one of the highest value private finance initiatives in Northern Ireland, amounting to £30m. A defining landmark, it was built on Chichester Street between 1928 and 1933 by James Grey West. The building was opened in 1933 by the Governor of Northern Ireland, the Duke of Abercorn. It suffered from bomb damage in 1990 but has since been beautifully restored.


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The actress Geraldine Hughes was born in west Belfast in 1970 and lived in Divis Flats for a time. She attended St Louise’s Comprehensive and after winning a private scholarship to the University of California in Los Angeles she attained a BA from the School of Theatre, Film and TV. She has had a successful acting career in film, television and on stage, and is best known for her role as Little Marie alongside Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa (2006). She has also appeared in ER and Profiler, and played Clint Eastwood’s daughter-in-law in Gran Torino. She wrote and performed in a one-woman show, Belfast Blues, in New York City.

THEESTATEWE’REIN Stormont estate was established as the result of an advantageous marriage and reputedly ill-gotten gains by the Rev John Cleland in the early 19th century. Just after it was built, the 1830s house (‘Storm Mount’) was described as a 'large plain house with very little planting about it'. In 1858 it assumed the grand name of ‘Stormont Castle’ when the exterior was redesigned to the fashionable Scottish Baronial style by the local architect Thomas Turner. The house was also extended to include an entrance tower and waiting room. New



Andrews’ Milling feed mill at Northern Road and Percy Street is one of the last manufacturing businesses in the heart of what is now a commercial area in the city, occupied by offices and a large shopping complex. The Andrews family have been in the flour business since 1722 when they built their first flour mill in Comber, Co Down. By 1883 two Andrews mills were operating in Belfast, one of which was sold in 1895 to Thomas Gallaher for his tobacco factory. The Percy Street mill has been the home of Andrews Flour since 1895 following the closure of the original building in Comber. Constant improvements have been made and today the mill produces more than 1,000 tonnes of flour every week.

Voted one of the top 10 museums in the UK in 2010, the W5 — which stands for WhoWhatWhenWhereWhy — has more than 160 interactive exhibits on permanent display, covering subjects as diverse as motor racing, lasers and bridge-building. Located in Belfast’s Odyssey leisure complex, the venue was developed as part of the landmark millennium project and has attracted more than 2.5 million visitors from around the world. With more than 250 amazing interactive exhibits in four incredible exhibition areas, W5 provides a unique experience as well as fantastic fun for visitors of all ages. In addition to permanent exhibits, W5 also presents a changing programme of large and small scale tempo-

A WOMAN’S WORK The Monument to the Unknown Worker is located outside the Great Northern Centre on Great Victoria Street. The artist Louise Walsh created two bronze female figures, one 210cm in height and the other 195cm, to highlight the low paid jobs and

unpaid housework which woman undertook. The theme is shown by the use of objects and utensils indicative of women’s work such as shopping baskets and cash registers.


Born: December 8, 1939 Who? Virtuoso flute player

Known as the Man with the Golden Flute, Sir James Galway OBE is famous throughout the world as a soloist virtuoso flute player. Born in north Belfast Sir James studied in London and Paris before embarking on his orchestral career in such prestigious orchestras such as the Sadlers Wells & Royal Covent Garden Operas, The BBC, Royal Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra. He then took up the coveted position of solo flautist with the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan. Since launching his successful career as a soloist in 1975, his busy touring schedule sees him performing with the world’s leading orchestras and most prestigious conductors

apartments were also added as well as a terraced garden, including a complex lay-out of flower beds. A fine (and surviving) lean-to glasshouse was backed by bothies, offices and a stove house. The walled kitchen garden has now gone, but the stables remain. The Cleland family left in 1893, preferring to live abroad. The demesne was let out but the tenant left and initial efforts to sell failed. However, the newly-formed Northern Ireland Parliament was seeking a site for Parliament Buildings and it purchased the estate and its 235 acres for £21,000 in 1921.

With over 30 million albums sold and his frequent international television appearances, Sir James has endeared himself to millions worldwide and is a tireless promoter of the arts. In June 2008, Galway was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.

rary exhibitions and events. They have a daily programme of live science demonstrations and shows throughout the day.

Belfast Celtic Football Club, founded in 1891,was one of the most successful teams in Ireland until forced to withdraw from the Irish League in 1949. It produced some of the greatest players of their generation and at one stage had five international goalkeepers in their squad. The team was affectionately referred to as The Mighty Belfast Celtic by its support. The famous Charlie Tully, a legend at Celtic, learned how to play the gamewith Belfast Celtic. The end came on Boxing Day 1948 at the annual Linfield versus Celtic game at Windsor Park. Celtic was winning for most of the match but Linfield equalised in the last minute. Linfield fans invaded the pitch and attacked several Celtic players including centre-forward Jimmy Jones who suffered a broken leg. Soon after the club decided to withdraw from the league.


At one stage there were 2,000 men working in Belfast's docks handling trade coming in and out of the port as the city grew into a major industrial centre, and the Dockers Club in Sailortown was one of the popular venues in town. It was the scene of one of the last gun attacks of the Troubles in September 1992 when three were injured when loyalist gunmen opened fire through the doors of the then mainly Catholic club. A charity event was taking place and a prize ceremony was under way when the shooting started. The club and the surrounding Harbour area feature prominently in Belfast writer Catriona King’s popular crime novels.


Belfast’s infamous bodysnatchers hailed from the poverty-stricken, disease-ridden tenement blocks behind St Anne’s Cathedral. The 'resurrection men', as they were known, dug up corpses from Clifton Street Cemetery and shipped them out to medical schools in Edinburgh. A single cadaver could earn the criminals the equivalent of three years’ wages. As medical science began to flourish in the early 19th century, the demand for cadavers rose sharply, but at the same time the legal supply failed to keep pace. One of the main sources — the bodies of executed criminals — had begun to dry up owing to a reduction in the number of executions in the early 19th century. The situation of too few corpses available to doctors for demonstrating anatomical dissection to growing numbers of students attracted criminal elements willing to obtain specimens by any means. As at similar institutions, doctors teaching at the Edinburgh Medical School which was universally renowned for medical sciences, relied increasingly on bodysnatchers for a steady supply of "anatomical subjects". The activities of these resurrection men gave rise to particular public fear and revulsion, but, such were the financial inducements, the illegal trade continued to grow.

Spiritualism in Northern Ireland started amid the furore of religious and political activity surrounding the covenant of 1912 and the Belfast Spiritualist Churches on the Malone and the Lisburn Road are still going strong today, holding weekly services, ‘healings’ and gatherings of mediums, both amateur and professional. In the summer of 1969, spiritualism in Northern Ireland had its first fully established church when recognition was granted by the Registrar Office and the Church was solemnised as a place of worship in which marriages could take place. Since 1969 the Church has gone from strength to strength, with numerous marriage ceremonies, as well as naming, burial and cremation services have taken place. Unlike here, Spiritualism is not recognised in the Republic of Ireland.


Sailortown native John Campbell has published poems about the area and two of his books, Corner Kingdom and The Disinherited, are set in the Docks. The Disinherited is based on the corrupt system which existed in the Docks around the time of the outbreak of the Second World War. Men known as Blue Button Men were given preference in being hired over the Red Button Men who could only obtain work if they had fathers or brothers who were themselves employed as dockers. Sailortown has also been vividly portrayed in playwright Martin Lynch's 1981 play Dockers.



Milltown cemetery in west Belfast, between the Falls Road and M1 motorway, was opened in 1869 and is now the site of about 200,000 graves. There are three large sections of open space, referred to as ‘poor ground’, where 80,000 people are buried. Many of these people died in the flu pandemic of 1919. Many well-known IRA members are buried at the cemetery including Bobby Sands. In 1988 the loyalist paramilitary, Michael Stone, targeted the funeral of three IRA volunteers at the republican plot, and killed three mourners.

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A MOST PECULIAR RING The Giant’s Ring is a henge monument (Neolithic earthwork featuring a ring bank and ditch) at Ballynahatty near Shaw’s Bridge. Originally preserved by Viscount Dungannon, its importance is reflected in its status as a State Care Historic Monument. It also has ASAI (Area of Significant Archaeological Interest) status. The site consists of a circular enclosure, 180 m (590 ft) in diameter and 2.8

hectares (6.9 acres) in area, surrounded by a circular earthwork bank 3.5 m (11 ft) high. At least three of the five irregularly spaced gaps in the bank are intentional and thought to be original. East of the centre of the enclosure is a small passage tomb with a vestigial passage facing west. A ritual site adjacent to the henge was excavated in the early 1990s by Barrie Hartwell of Queen’s University.


Belfast’s most expensive avenue, Malone Park, runs between the Malone and Lisburn Roads and is a conservation area. Most of the houses are Victorian and are set in large grounds. Traffic cannot enter the avenue at the Lisburn Road end or via Balmoral. It is only via the Malone Road end that vehicles can gain access. With a gate lodge at each end of the Park, there are lime trees lining the avenue. Known as Belfast’s most exclusive street, it has been reported that at the height of the property boom a sixbedroom house was sold for some £3.5m, which was the most expensive property in the local market at the time.


The ghost of Smithfield Market, Biddy Farrelly, is said to haunt the area around Gresham Street, directly behind CastleCourt Shopping Centre. The legend of Biddy Farrelly is a tragic tale. It is thought that she was an ex-lover of businessman Luke White, who owned a bookstall in the market. When he moved to Dublin she plunged into despair and turned to drink which eventually killed her.

STORE HAS RUN ITS RACE It was reported last year that the Athletics Stores building in Queen Street is to be demolished. The Planning Department has given permission for the complete redevelopment of the site, replacing the existing building with new retail and residential premises. It was stated that decorative aspects of the building are to be saved, but Environment Minister Alex Atwood said the decision to go ahead with demolition was based on “the risky state of the



Born: October 28, 1907 Who? Poet

John Harold Hewitt was the most significant Irish poet to emerge before the 1960s generation of poets that included Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon and Michael Longley. In 1976 he became the first writer in residence at Queen’s University. His collections include The Day of the Corncrake (1969) and Out of My Time: Poems 1969 to 1974 (1974). He also had an active political life, describing himself as "a man of the left", and was involved in the British Labour Party, the Fabian Society and the Belfast Peace League. His life and work are celebrated in two prominent ways — the annual John Hewitt

International Summer School and he also had a Belfast pub is named after him — the John Hewitt Bar and Restaurant in Donegall Street. The bar was named after him as he officially opened the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre, which owns the establishment. It is a popular meeting place for local writers, musicians, journalists, students and artists. He died in 1987.

STAN AND OLLY SIGN IN The Midlands Hotel, on York Street in Sailortown, in the Docks area of Belfast just north of the city centre, was once known as one of Belfast's most prestigious hotels. Famous guests included Laurel and Hardy and 1960s singer PJ Proby. The hotel was damaged in

building, the unhealthy state of the property market and the disproportionate and uneconomic costs to even save the facade". Conservationists, in particular the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, were extremely disappointed with the decision, saying that the Victorian-era linen cuff and collar makers' warehouse, which is in a conservation area, should be preserved for future generations.

Luftwaffe raids on Belfast during the Second World War. Widespread demolition in the area to make way for an elevated motorway meant that the hotel became separated from the rest of Belfast. It was later converted to offices.

The McCooeys comedy drama serial, written by Joseph Tomelty, (below) became the most popular radio programme in Northern Ireland after its first airing on the BBC in 1949. Its success was put down to Tomelty’s capturing of the warmth of Northern Irish people, and listeners could relate to their problems and daily lives. The series lasted for some seven years and Tomelty wrote 6,000 words for each weekly episode.


Queen Victoria visited Belfast in 1849 and was greeted warmly by the masses. Many street names were then named after her. At that time, however, Belfast was only a town and much smaller than it is today. In 1888 Queen Victoria granted Belfast city status and many other important buildings and landmarks were named after her including a hospital, university and man-made island. The population of Belfast grew quickly to 300,000 due to the effects of the Industrial Revolution.


Casement Park, on the Andersonstown Road, west Belfast, is the main Gaelic games stadium in the city and home to the Antrim football and hurling teams. It is named after the republican activist Sir Roger Casement (18641916). Casement Park opened in 1953 and has a capacity of 32,600. In 2000 the stadium had a major upgrade and a few years later further improvement was made with the addition of floodlights. In February this year a £76.4m — £61.4m from the NI Executive and £15m from the GAA — redevelopment scheme to turn it into a 38,000 all-seated stadium was unveiled. Work is expected to be completed by 2016.


Founded in 1859, the North of Ireland Cricket Club was based on the Ormeau Road from 1866 to 2001 and hosted many famous clubs and cricketers. After the 2001 season it, along with its sister rugby club, merged with Collegians RFC, Collegians Hockey Club and Belfast Bowling Club to form Belfast Harlequins, based at Deramore. The club left its Ormeau home which had suffered a series of sectarian arson attacks. However the cricket aspect of Belfast Harlequins later closed and the club merged in 2005 with Civil Service to form the Civil Service & North of Ireland Cricket Club.


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Born in January 1906, John Luke and best known for his murals in City Hall, Belfast-born John Luke was a quiet, withdrawn figure who led an extremely spartan and fastidious life. The fifth of seven sons and one daughter of James Luke and his wife Sarah, he was originally from Ahoghill. He worked as a riveter at the Workman, Clark shipyard while attending evening classes at the Belfast College of Art, where he won a scholarship for the Slade School of Art in London. After Slade he began to exhibit his work to critical acclaim but by 1933 he was driven back to Belfast by the economic depressression. He remained in Belfast for the rest of his life, apart from a spell during the Second World War when he lived in Killylea, Co Armagh. In 1946 he held his first one-man exhibition at the Belfast Museum and Art

Gallery and in 1950, to celebrate the Festival of Britain the following year, he was commissioned to paint in the City Hall, Belfast, a mural representing the history of the city, a work which brought his name to the attention of a wider audience.


may have destroyed the A violent storm in 1937 Lagan but its towering the on rks Wo cco famous Siro was growing rapidly in ry ust Ind on. s industrial legacy live n Smylie started workJoh r nde fou the city when Sirocco’s in 1786. By 1788 he tles bot of glass ing on the production glass, becoming dow nufacturing win had expanded into ma Britain and Ireland. at Gre in r ure act nuf the largest glass ma 0 and in 1881 glass production in 180 Smylie and Co. ceased , producing site the on hed establis the Sirocco Works was tilation sysven , ery - drying machin most of the world’s tea conditioning sysair t firs The . lers pel tems and ship pro al e and fitted in the Roy tem was developed her ylie Sm the of s ain rem Victoria Hospital.” The uncovered by archaeoglasshouse have been logical excavation.

Malone House is a beautiful late Georgian mansion dating from the 1820s and located in Barnett Demesne in south Belfast. It was built for William Wallace Legge, a wealthy Belfast merchant who had inherited the land. The picturesque grounds are largely due to his love of gardening, for they remain relatively unchanged since he worked on them. Following his death Malone House was acquired by the Harberton family — they lived there until 1920 and the last owner was William Barnett who presented the property to Belfast in 1946. Malone House was leased to the National Trust in the 1970s and today houses a restaurant and is a popular venue for weddings, conferences and functions.



Belfast man Gerry Armstrong attained hero status when he scored a goal in the 1982 World Cup to defeat tournament’s hosts, Spain, in a surprise 1-0 win. Armstrong played for several clubs during the 1970s and 1980s, including for Spurs for whom he made 84 league appearances and scored 10 goals.

JOHN McNALLY John McNally's place among the immortals of Northern Irish sport was assured on August 2, 1952. That was when the Belfast man claimed the bantamweight silver medal at the Helsinki Olympics and became the first man from Northern Ireland to win an Olympic medal. He was also the first pugilist from the island of Ireland to win a boxing medal at a modern day Olympic Games. McNally's feat would inspire a further eight Belfast boxers to claim Olympic medals. Born in 1932, in Cinnamond Street in Belfast's Pound Loney area, McNally first acquired a taste for boxing as a juvenile with the Immaculata Club. The Pound Loney district contained a myriad mill streets off the lower Falls Road, which has now virtually disappeared from the city’s landscape. Its

In later years, other commissions followed for murals in the Masonic Hall, Rosemary Street, 1956, and the College of Technology at Millfield in the 1960s. John Luke died in Belfast on February 4 1975, just a month into his 69th year.

toughness and community spirit were renowned. By 1951 McNally had claimed the Ulster and Irish junior flyweight crowns which put him in the running for a place in the Irish Olympic team. For a young man with ambitions to escape Belfast and travel across Europe, the Olympic Games represented a glimpse of another world away from the hardships of post-war Belfast, a city still recovering from the Blitz. Fortune was on McNally's side that afternoon as he was awarded a bye in the opening round of the bantamweight competition. In his first bout, he was a unanimous winner over Alejandro Ortuosto from the Philippines. Eventually, McNally won through the rounds and claimed his glittering prize.

Bog Meadows, a 47-acre site at the end of the M1 motorway on the outskirts of west Belfast, consisting of wetland, grassland and woodland, is the largest area of natural wild land left in urban Belfast. There are more than 3km of paths for the public to walk along. In the summer Bog Meadows welcomes African birds including sedge, willow and grasshopper-warblers, sand martins and swallows, and in the autumn waders are attracted to the ponds when water levels are low. There are ducks, geese and swans to see during the winter. It is an UNESCO award winning site.


Dunvilles & Co distillery, which produced pure pot still whiskey and import tea, was established by John Dumvill in the early 19th century. Its name was changed to Dunville and in 1825 became Dunville & Co. The Royal Irish Distilleries were built by Dunville in 1869. However, American business fell away due to prohibition and shortly after the last heir and chairman of Dunville, Robert Lambart died in 1931, Dunville & Co was liquidated.


Eileen Percy, who was born in August 1900, was a Belfastborn silent movie star. She acted in 68 films between 1917 and 1933. Percy secured her first role at the age of just 17 in Down to Earth and featured in many 1920s movies including The Third Eye (1920), Why Trust Your Husband (1921), Let’s Go (1923) and Tongues of Flame (1924). Eileen’s sister Thelma was also in the film business, appearing in four films in 1920 and 1921. Eileen did not make the transition from silent movies to talkies successfully and retired after appearing in The Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood (1932). She was married to the songwriter Harry Ruby and died of cancer in Beverly Hills, California, at the age of 72.


Supermac was Northern Ireland’s first supermarket when it opened in 1964 and it planned major development of its site, where Forestside now exists. However planning permission was granted in 1996 for Sainsbury’s to build a store on the site and Supermac was later demolished. As Forestside shopping centre expanded it exceeded all expectations in terms of financial success ... and traffic congestion.


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Belfast has many alleyways, and the gates at the end of the passageways are erected as a deterrent to punishment attacks and shootings, and to reduce antisocial behaviour, burglaries and fear of crime. Belfast City Council, under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, is able to make gating orders which allows it to install alleygates anywhere in the city. The Council is committed to spending £700,000 on alleygates as part of its Investment Programme.


A former worker at the old Belfast Flaxworks mill in the Markets area, near St George’s Market, is rumoured to haunt the mill. Helena Blunden was a talented singer but tragically died in 1912 when she tripped over a mop and fell down a flight of stairs in the mill. It is said that her screams can still be heard in a print shop which now stands on the site of the old mill.


Belfast’s Golden Mile has lost its lustre of late, with celebrity chef Paul Rankin pointing to its neglect as one of the reasons behind the closure of his restaurant Cayenne. The mile stretches from Queen’s University to Shaftesbury Square, down the Dublin Road and along Great Victoria Street to the city centre. It hosts about 80% of the city's most popular night spots, including internet cafes, bars, clubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres. Throughout the Troubles, the Golden Mile was the busiest spot in the city and it flourished with peace-time investment. The highlights of the famous Golden Mile Pub Crawl remain the more traditional bars — Lavery's, the Crown and Robinsons.


The truly uplifting Belfast Community Gospel Choir (BCGC) is Northern Ireland’s first and only multicultural gospel choir. It is much sought-after due to its dynamic performances, which are charged with joy, passion and energy. The choir performs at concerts, civic and charitable events, festivals and weddings. Although based in Belfast, choir members come from all parts of the province. BCGC is comprised of 97 auditioned singers who perform in various-sized ensembles. They take great pride in the fact that their community is multicultural and cross-community. Following decades of violence, division and political upheaval in Northern Ireland, they are committed to performing music “that carries the message of love, joy and peace and to promoting a positive image of our country.”


There are eight 16.2m high copper structures in Donegall Place, each named after a White Star Line ship built in Belfast, among them Olympic, Britannic, Nomadic and Titanic. The masts feature large-scale banners, information panels at each base and at night they are beautifully lit up.


With 1,330 pupils, St Louise's is one of the largest girls’ schools in Western Europe. Founded in 1958, it has been a cornerstone of the community in west Belfast for more than 50 years, delivering high quality education to generations of girls during sometimes difficult years. St Louise’s collaborates with 13 other schools in the area to deliver a wide range of both academic and vocational courses to girls at Key Stage 4 and post-16 levels. A non-selective school, it performs strongly each year in public examinations and offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities through its role as

the lead school in the Greater Falls Extended Schools Cluster, providing pastoral advice and support to young people on serious issues such as suicide, self-harm and drugs awareness. The school’s first Principal was Sister Ita Polley, who was succeeded by Sister Genevieve O’Farrell in 1963. On Sister Genevieve’s retirement in1988, she was succeeded by Sister Rosaleen MacMahon, who in turn was succeeded by the school's present Principal and first non-nun, Mrs Carmel McCartan, in 2005 . In 1978, 20 years after the school’s foundation, a major new extension was opened. This


Capturing the character of the now closed Old Museum Arts Centre in a new building was always going to be a challenge — remember the punters queuing patiently on the stairs for the doors to open, the vertigoinducing tiers of wobbly folding chairs, the in-your-face proximity to the performers? So, wisely enough, its new incarnation hasn’t tried. Instead what Belfast got was something fresh and new architecturally and the space and sophistication to handle performances of all levels. A wander round the new MAC is an exploration of sorts — from the spacious foyer, to the nooks and crannies spread across its numerous levels, often leading to who-


knows-where. While many sneered at the idea of yet another theatre for Belfast opening in recession-hit times, the venue has proven its worth since it opened a year ago, hosting original and adapted work to great acclaim.

Road ed by Lanyon, Crumlin When originally design s were ion cut exe the and s gallow Gaol did not contain a cution exe an en wh w until 1901, carried out in public vie C-wing and used of end the at d cte chamber was constru 17 prisoners gings in 1961.In total until the last of the han uld live in wo ned dem con prison, The in as were executed in the live to rds gua ugh for two a large cell — large eno a they were livide no had ly bab pro well. The accused by a s, which were concealed ing next to the gallow ed cut exe the of ies bod moveable bookcase. The in unconsecraton pris the de insi ied were bur ves were marked ed ground and the gra and year of ials init ir only with the execution on the prison wall.

extension, more than twice the size of the original school building, is now referred to as the Senior School, since it accommodates all classes from year 10 upwards as well as most of the school’s practical classrooms. The excellence of St Louise’s was recognised by the Jerwood Foundation in1989, by the Schools Curriculum Award in 1992, 1997 and 2002 and also by the Lighthouse Schools Project in 2000. The school celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1998 with a series of events including an orchestral concert at the Waterfront Hall attended by President Mary McAleese.


Hillary Rodham Clinton never forgot Joyce McCartan. Years after they met at Joyce’s unique coffee shop in 1995, she urged politicians here to follow in the footsteps of the Belfast woman and sort out their troubles over "lots of tea." Joyce, who lost 11 members of her extended family to violence in Northern Ireland, founded her Lamplighter cafe to encourage Protestant and Catholic women to socialise together. She died just months after meeting Hillary Clinton in 1995. Mrs Clinton later said: "I stand in awe of women like Joyce McCartan — women who endured their own personal tragedies and find the strength to go on — but more than that, to reach out and try to prevent the conditions from occurring that caused them such heartbreak."


The Royal Ulster Rifles (formerly the Royal Irish Rifles) originated in 1881 when the 83rd and 86th regiments of the British Army were joined into a single regiment. The Royal Irish Rifles was the county regiment of Antrim, Down, Belfast and Louth and its depot was in Belfast. The regiment saw service in the Second Boer War, the First and Second World Wars and

the Korean War. In 1968 The Royal Ulster Rifles joined with the Royal Inniskilling Fusilliers and the Royal Irish Fusiliers to form the Royal Irish Rangers. In 1992 another amalgamation was made with the Ulster Defence Regiment to form the Royal Irish Regiment. The Royal Ulster Rifles Museum is located in Waring Street, Belfast.


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Where else in the world can you see a top-class act and get a free feed into the bargain? And all for a mere fiver? Like its older brother, the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Out to Lunch began life somewhat modestly in the confines of a lorry trailer parked right across the road from St Anne’s Cathedral. Such was the unexpected popularity of the event, though, that organisers took little convincing to make it an annual fixture every January. Now in its seventh year, the festival has found a new home in the Black Box venue, where it continues to bring nourishment of the artistic and the literal kind to what is usually one of the dullest times of the year.

In the bad old days of the Troubles, Belfast would have been lucky to see a handful of big name international acts brave enough to bring their tour bus to town in a year. And even for those who did, the choice of venues was usually pretty limited, ranging from either the acoustically dreadful King’s Hall or the rundown Ulster Hall to the iconic, but tiny Limelight. All that changed when promoters here began to take a chance on replicating the model favoured by their counterparts across the Irish Sea, of booking out a wide open space and a few zeitgestencompassing acts and letting the punters roll in. To that end Belson-

ROBERT HARBINSON One of the most powerful accounts of a Protestant working class childhood in the Thirties in Belfast comes from Belfast author Robert Harbinson. Born Robin Bryans in 1928, just off the Newtownards Road, his family moved shortly afterwards to Donegall Avenue. Before becoming a professional writer, he had a variety of jobs including shipyard worker and cabin boy on a dredger. He was later to study at Barry Religious College in Wales and went to Canada as a missionary. Later, he lived as a trapper there Memories of his boyhood — grinding poverty, mission halls, theatres, along with the desperate accident to his father which changed the life of the small family, became the subject matter of four remarkable volumes of autobiography: No Surrender, Song of Erne, Up Spake the Cabin Boy and The Protégé In later life, Harbinson was dramatically involved in sensational and sometimes scandalous events among Britain’s political aristocracy. A riveting account of these can be read in his last three books The Dust Has Never Settled, Let the Petals Falls and Checkmate, all under his own name of Robin Bryans. He died in 2005.

ic has become of the success stories of recent years, utilising the newlyregenerated Custom House Square to bring such top turns as Paul Weller, Primal Scream and The Killers to town. Pity those poor residents who live right beside it, though ...

Did you ever wonder why there are so many references to the Duke of Wellington in Belfast? For example, there is Wellington Place and Wellesley Avenue— Wellesley was the duke's surname. It’s because the duke's mother lived for a time at Anna's Dale — present day Annadale and site of Wellington College. The duke spent part of his childhood in Belfast.

the ship home, the Department for Social Development purchased the Nomadic for €250,001 at auction in Paris in January, 2006. The Nomadic is being restored as a tourist attraction.

Colonel Timothy “Tim”Collins won glowing praise from around the world with his famous “eve of battle” speech as he prepared the 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment for action in the Iraq War in 2003. A copy of his speech — the most famous line of which was: “If you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory” — was hung in the White House’s Oval Office and Prince Charles also wrote to congratulate him. Now retired from the armed forces, he is currently CEO (and co-founder) of intelligence-based security services company New Century. In the speech which made him famous he told his troops: “We go to Iraq to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them.


Did you know that Sir John Soane, the man who designed the Bank of England also designed Belfast Academical Institution, or Inst? The foundation stone was laid in 1810 and the school was opened in 1814. He provided his services free of charge and the original plan was for a building twice what you see today but it had to be curtailed due to lack of finance. This need for cash also lead to the lease of land for the building of the Tech opened in 1907.


The Pound Loney was a little lane which ran off Divis Street to Durham Street and ended at the side of the old Belfast animal pound hence its name. In later years streets of working class two up and two down houses were built on the west side of the Pound stream which were bounded by Divis Street, Albert Street and Durham Street and the district became known as The Pound Loney. Many of the old streets in the area were later to disappear, buried beneath the monstrous Divis Flats complex.

TIM COLLINS Born: 1960 Who? Army officer

Saint Malachy’s Church in Alfred Street, a short distance from the City Hall, houses the largest bell in Belfast. Close to the Church stood a whiskey distillery and its owners claimed that the peal of the bell was upsetting the distillation process. Contrary to popular belief the bell was not removed, instead it was wrapped in felt to soften its peal and vibration. By the time of restoration work in 2008/2009 the felt had long since rotted away and the full peal of the bell can be heard at least four times daily.



SS Nomadic is the last surviving link to Titanic. Built by Harland & Wolff, it was launched on April 25, 1911, and was delivered to the White Star Line on May 27. The Nomadic was built to ferry wealthy passengers to and from the White Star Liners calling at Cherbourg. After a Belfast Telegraph campaign to bring


“There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. “ He also told them: “The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction. There are many regional commanders who have stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for Saddam. He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what they have done. As they die they will know their deeds have brought them to this place. Show them no pity. “It is a big step to take another human life. It is not to be done lightly. I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts, I can


assure you they live with the Mark of Cain upon them. If someone surrenders to you then remember they have that right in international law and ensure that one day they go home to their family.”

One of the most moving and powerful pieces of sculpture about the Troubles is by F E McWilliam, Until March 4, 1972, when a bomb exploded without warning at the Abercorn in Belfast, the Banbridge artists had never used his work to comment directly on the conflict. But after reading about how two women were killed, two more lost both legs and a total of 130 people were injured, McWilliam created a series of small bronzes known collectively as Women of Belfast. These suffering figures, tumbled and hurt by the explosion, their faces contorted, are immensely moving.



One of Belfast’s tall tales purports that the apparition of a man on horseback, with his head tucked under his arm, can be spotted in the area of Alexandra Drive, in north Belfast. Rumour has it that the man is Gordon Thompson, a local man and oftentimes traveller, who boasted that if he died and didn’t make it to Heaven he would return to haunt his ancestral home, Jennymount, which was on Alexandra Drive. The storytellers say that he met his end when he was beheaded by an old mill guillotine.

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Broadcasters Stephen Nolan and Jim Neilly are ‘Old Instonians’, as are Michelin star chef Paul Rankin and rugby player Ryan Caldwell. In other words they are alumni of the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, which dates back to 1810. The first demands for the school which would become ‘Inst’came from a group of merchants and professional gentlemen in the city. They insisted that the existing Belfast Academy under Dr. William Bruce did not offer a a high enough standard of education

and wanted a new school that would enable youths to have a practical commercial career. The foundation stone of Inst. was laid, in pouring rain, on July 3, 1810, by George Augustus Chichester, 2nd Marquess of Donegall. . Donegall owned much of the land in the city area and granted the school a lease for the grounds at an annual rent of £22–5s–1d. The eminent English architect John Sloane, who designed the new Bank of England in 1788, offered to draw up plans in 1809.


On the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the Headquarters Council of the Ulster Volunteers Force offered its complete medical organisation to the War Office in the form of a fully equipped hospital for the treatment of sick and wounded soldiers. The offer was gratefully accepted and at the beginning of 1915 the Circular Road hospital was formally opened by Lord and Lady Carson. The original charity hospital and the other smaller branches were originally financed by an appeal to the public but it was largely owing to the untiring efforts of Sir Robert M Liddell and Sir Dawson Bates that the response was so great. The hospital continued to give specialized care to ex-service patients until its eventual closure in the late 1980s. In 1995 the name was changed to the Somme Nursing Home and a major building and renovation programme took place in 1998 and 2011 to create the home as it is today.


Belfast is twinned with Nashville, Tennessee, the home of country music in the United States and with Hefei, capital and largest city of Anhui Province in eastern China. Hefei has a population of 3.35m.


The Crown Bar dates back to 1826 when it was known as The Railway Tavern and owned by Felix O'Hanlon. He later sold it on to Michael Flanagan, but it was his son Patrick who was destined to make the bar famous. A student of architecture, he travelled widely around the world and arrived home with an array of ideas to brighten up the family bar. The year 1885 was an era of emancipation in Ireland, which saw a sharp increase in the building of Catholic churches. Skilled craftsmen from Italy were brought into the Ireland and Patrick persuaded some of these tradesmen to supplement their income by 'moonlighting' on the building of his saloon. The

Actor and comedian James Young entertained Ulster audiences during some of the darkest days of The Troubles with characters such as Orange Lil and Cherryvalley Lady. Known as ‘Our Jimmy’, one of his favourite catch-phrases was “Do us a favour, will yez stop yer fightin”. Born in Ballymoney, Co Antrim, in 1918, his family moved to the Ormeau Road area of south Belfast the same year. In the early Seventies the former rent collector performed to sell-out audiences across Ireland and in Canada and the USA. A working class hero, his defining period of fame fol-

lowed his hugely popular BBC NI show Saturday Night. Young was due to be awarded an MBE at the start of 1975, but never received the honour as he died from a heart attack on July 5, 1974. A blue plaque in his memory hangs outside his birthplace in Union Street, Ballymoney, and at his family home in Fernwood Street, off the Ormeau Road.

ALL GOING TO THE DOGS Celtic Park in west Belfast was the site of Ireland’s first greyhound racetrack. It was opened in April 1927 inside the stadium occupied by the famous Belfast Celtic football club. One year later in September 1928, Dunmore greyhound stadium at Alexandra Park North

in the north of the city opened its doors. Both tracks were hugely popular with the greyhound fraternity for many decades. Celtic Park close first in the 1980s and is now the site of a supermarket. Dunmore kept open for more than a decade longer but also closed and was redeveloped for housing.

Margaret Byers (1832-1912) was the principal of Victoria College. The energetic feminist was the daughter of Andrew Morrow, of Rathfriland, owner of a flax mill. He died when she was eight, and she was sent to be looked after by her uncles in Stoke on Trent. She was educated at the Ladies' College, Nottingham. In 1852 she married Rev John Byers of Tullyallen, Co. Armagh, but he died in New York while they were on their way to the mission field in Shanghai. She returned home, taught in a girls' school in Cookstown, then opened her own school in Belfast, which was based on “advanced ideas” — the girls were taught current affairs and dancing as well as French and needlework. In the Jubilee Year of 1887, the school became Victoria College. Byers devoted herself to the welfare of families and the poor, temperance, prisons and hospitals. She founded the Victoria orphans' homes at Ligoniel, which survived until the 1950's. Her honorary degree of Ll. D. from Trinity college, Dublin (1905) made her the first Ulsterwoman to be awarded an honorary degree from any university.




Born: June 23, 1918 Who? Actor and comedian

church craftsmen were responsible for the tiling, glasswork and rich ornamental woodwork which turned Patrick's dream into a reality and gave the Crown its distinctive character. Today it is owned by the National Trust and has been restored on a couple of occasions to maintain its distinctive appearance.


On its first day in 1982, Lagan College had 28 pupils, the Principal, Mrs. Sheila Greenfield, one full-time teacher and five part-time teachers. It now has 1,253 students, with 130 staff. Lagan College was founded in 1981 as a religious response to the challenge of a religiously divided school system here. For the first three years, the College, which aimed to serve the whole community received no government funding. Parents contributed what they could afford towards the costs and more than £500,000 had to be raised from donations. Maintained status was granted in 1984. This meant 100% of running costs were met by the Department of Education and the College governors were responsible for 15% of capital expenditure. From 1985-1987, again because of accommodation difficulties, the 98 new first year pupils were taught several miles away in the Balmoral area of south Belfast in premises shared with the new Forge Integrated Primary School. A permanent home was eventually found not far from Castlereagh at Lisnabreeny, thanks to the hospitality of the National Trust. The first temporary buildings were opened in September 1987 and the first phase of the permanent building was opened in September 1991.

At the former Northern Ireland headquarters of the Transport and General Workers’ Union there is an unusual piece of artwork. It has been described as realism with a mix of post-war Soviet art. The facade bears a mural of giant marching men, an airplane and a ship. They represent Belfast’s engineering golden age.


The film star Stephen Boyd was born William Millar to a family of nine children in Glengormley in 1931 and spent his childhood in Ballyrobert and Ballyclare. After starring in a Belfast radio play he began to secure roles in British films and got his big break opposite Brigitte Bardot in The Night Heaven Fell (1957). He found international fame starring with Charlton Heston in Ben Hur, for which he won a Golden Globe. He also played alongside Sophia Loren in The Fall of the Roman Empire and was lined up as Mark Antony opposite Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra before pulling out due to time constraints. Boyd died tragically young of a heart attack at the age of 45.


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One of the most popular TV series of the Eighties was Harry's Game, which was set in Belfast. It was based on the novel of the same name by Gerald Seymour, which was published in 1975. The three-part serial starred Ray Lonnen as Capt Harry Brown, a British soldier, sent undercover to the province to find information to arrest IRA man Billy Downes (Derek Thompson). Just as memorable was the series' haunting theme tune which was performed by Clannad and reached the top five in the charts, giving the group a major breakthrough.


The Odyssey Arena in the city’s Titanic Quarter is Northern Ireland's biggest indoor arena, with a capacity of 11,000 for concerts. It hosts concerts and sporting events such as Belfast Giants ice-hockey games. It was


built as the province’s Millennium project at a cost of £120m. On November 6, 2011, it was the venue for MTV’s European Music Awards with artists such as Lady GaGa, Queen and Selena Gomez among those appearing.


t s founded as the Belfas The Ulster Museum wa ing ibit exh an beg and 1 in 182 Natural History Society lery since 1890. Origigal art an ed lud inc in 1833. It has Art Gallery t Municipal Museum and nally called the Belfas nmillis. The Stra in n atio loc t sen pre in 1929, it moved to its g Wynne. In igned by James Cummin new building was des and) 1961, Irel ern rth seum Act (No 1962, courtesy of the Mu formally recogand m seu Mu ter Uls it was renamed as the was seum. A major extension nised as a national mu lied app and art fine e s includ opened in 1964. Exhibit the Spanish Armada, m fro res asu tre gy, art, archaeolo ee y. Closed for nearly thr local history and geolog lic on pub the to ed pen years from 2006 it re-o h anniversary. October 22, 2009, its 80t

The Belfast born physicist William Thomson (1824-1907) invented many of the first electrical instruments and his subsequent home in Glasgow was the first to be lit by electric light. He was taught at home in Belfast by his father, a professor of mathematics, and later studied at Cambridge and Paris universities. In 1846 he became professor of natural philosophy in Glasgow, a post he would hold for more than 50 years. The first electricity installed in Belfast was in 1895 and the first building to be lit was believed to be at the corner of Callender Street. Shortly afterwards the Grand Opera House was lit up but reportedly had a blackout on the first night. The electricity was generated by a gas turbine in Chapel Lane next to St Mary's Church. The building still stands and the turbine is in the Ulster Museum. William Thomson also developed the Kelvin scale of temperature measurement. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

In 1613 Belfast was made a corporation and afterwards it sent two MPs to Parliament. The Chichester family, the lords of the manor, had a huge influence on how the city was run. Belfast was run by an official called a sovereign assisted by 12 burgesses (merchants). Each year the burgesses drew up a short list of three of themselves and Chichester chose one to be the sovereign. Chichester's consent was required for new by laws.


Jazzman Solly Lipsitz, who lived off the Lisburn Road, was known as Northern Ireland's Mr Jazz. He fell in love with jazz after buying a trumpet in the 1940s and went on to take music lessons. He played in several bands and then opened The Jazz Club on the Embankment where among his discoveries was Rodney Foster, who went on to achieve international fame. A lecturer in the Belfast College of Art and Design, he also owned the famous Atlantic Record shop specialising in jazz imports and it was there that George Morrison, father of Van, had bought his tunes. Recently, Solly was commissioned to write sleeve notes for Van’s 2012 release Born to Sing: No Plan B. Solly died on March 30 this year.


The Templemore Avenue Public Baths and Swimming Pools were built as one of four public baths in Belfast during the late 1800s and would have been regularly used by the shipyard workers that lived in the rows of tiny terraced houses in the area as they were unlikely to have had the luxury of their own bathrooms. Interestingly both actor James Ellis and soccer star George Best used the pools.



One of the city’s most distinctive pieces of modern art is ‘The Big Fish Sculpture’, which was created by artist John Kindness. It stands on Donegall Quay and was commissioned to

celebrate the regeneration of Belfast docks. Each scale of the fish is a tile depicting some aspect of Belfast's past — a newspaper cutting, a letter, a photograph or an illustration of a

sailing ship. Consequently what at first appears to be an enormous fish on closer inspection reveals itself to be a mosaic of Belfast’s life and times.

When it comes to sustaining success, sometimes simplicity is the way forward and nowhere is that better exemplified than the Black Box. The venue is quite literally, a black box inside — stage, microphone, bar and bogs. What more could you ask for? Since opening its doors initially on a temporary basis until the completion of the neighbouring MAC theatre, it has become one of the most popular small venues in the city, hosting everything from gigs to poetry, comedy and jumble sales — and established itself as the true beating heart of the Cathedral Quarter. And the cafe’s not too bad, either ...

Brilliant Belfast: Part Two  
Brilliant Belfast: Part Two  

400 Facts You Never Knew About Belfast. A supplement produced and distributed free by the Belfast Telegraph to celebrate the 400th anniversa...