Just a question? Why?

How many people know why Donegall Pass has such a curious name? For whom was St. Anne’s Church named? It was not for Queen Anne. There were five Annes and five Arthurs in the Marquis of Donegall’s family and that explains why these names were so frequently used in Belfast. How many know why there is a King John’s Road in Holywood, and a King William’s Road on the Holywood Hill? Why is there a “Joy” Street in that particularly joyless neighbourhood, or a Fountain Street where no water is now seen?

Why should a road high and dry above the city be called The Falls? We shall find why these things are so in Belfast, and then see what is interesting in the places near us.

The first idea which suggested itself was to take the City Hall as a starting point, and in imagination take a walk along each road leading from it out to the suburbs. This is impossible, for in old times the place where the City Hall stands was surrounded with extensive fields and meadows for grazing, where we now have streets and houses.

We cannot go to the Lisburn Road or the Shore Road when there was no road there, so we must give up that plan and take the places as we can make the best out of them.

Belfast has no very ancient history as we know it in Ireland. Derry, Armagh, Newry, Carrickfergus and Bangor are richer in memories of the olden times, and these neighbouring places are filled with tales of thrilling interest.

Some one has truly said “Happy are the people who have no history,” and we know the best times are the years when nothing particular happens. So our fair city has been spared the bloodshed, the cruelties, and the destructions that were so painfully familiar to some more ancient cities.

It is mentioned in the “Four Masters”—a wonderful old book,—that there was a king’s residence about ten miles from Belfast and a great fort called Rathmore about the year 680. A little while before that time, Bel-Feirste was the scene of a battle which took place on the banks of the Lagan. St. Patrick was very near us when he was in County Down, but we are not told if he ever really came to Belfast.

The next mention of the town comes with the famous John De Courci, who arrived with a small army in the year 1177. He built a great many castles and churches, and lived in regal state in Downpatrick. He is said to have built the first castle in Belfast and a church where the old graveyard of Shankill is now. It was called the “White Church,” and the “Chapel of the Ford ” where St. George’s Church now stands was a minor building.

De Courci was made the first Earl of Ulster, and he built twenty strong fortalices round Strangford Lough, and great castles and churches at Ardglass and Greencastle, Dundrum, Antrim, and Grey Abbey all owe something to his masterful guiding hand. King John next came in 1210. He arrived at Jordan’s Castle in Ardglass on the 12th of July. He visited Dundrum, Downpatrick, and Carrickfergus and crossed the Lough to Holywood on the 29th of July, where the road he passed along is still known by his name. The O’Neills were for one thousand years great warriors in Ulster, and the story of that powerful family would fill volumes. One branch of the clan was intimately connected with Belfast, Clannaboy Clan-Aod-Buide—children of yellow Hugh O’Neill.

The principal stronghold was the Grey Castle, at Castlereagh, which was in existence long before the name of Belfast was on any document, and was once called “The Eagle’s Nest” from its situation and the powerful influence of Conn O’Neill. The coronation stone chair of the O’Neills is now in the Museum in College Square. It was found among the ruins of the Old Castle, and was brought to Belfast in the year 1755, but the chair of state had many adventures. It was built into the wall of the Butter Market. No doubt many a farmer’s wife found it a resting place. Afterwards for some unknown reason it was taken to Sligo. Then it was brought back, and has found a home in the Belfast Museum. King Conn O’Neill has left his name at Connswater and Connsbridge. Many a story is told of him, and his end was very sad. He was imprisoned in Carrickfergus, but he managed to escape to Scotland. In order to save his life he was obliged to transfer his property to Sir James Hamilton and Sir Moses Hill, for he was the owner of 244 townlands. In the year 1606, he gave seven townlands to Sir Hugh Montgomery and seven to Sir Fulke Conway. His vast estates were taken from him, and he died in great poverty in a small house at Ballymenoch near Holywood. All the land as far as the eye could see had once belonged to him, and, at the end of life, he could claim only a grave in the old Church that once stood at Ballymachan.

http://www.libraryireland.com/Belfast-History/Early-History-Belfast.php

http://ancientclanoneill.com/

With many thanks to: Ulster Clans of Ireland.

O’Neill family crest

https://goo.gl/images/yfO1Fb

On this day March 25th 1920 the British Auxiliaries and Black and Tans started to arrive in Ireland.

This day in history March 25th 1920 the British Auxiliaries and Black and Tans started to arrive in Ireland.This photo was taken outside Hynes Bar Railway Street Dublin

With many thanks to: Easter Rising War of Independence and Irish Civil War History.

Two suspected Dissident Republicans from Dublin appear in High Court charged with ‘attempted murder’ of RUC/PSNI police officer in the North of Ireland.

Two suspected dissident Republicans from Dublin have appeared before the High Court after they were arrested by gardai in the capital yesterday over the attempted murder of a police officer in Northern Ireland in 2015.

Sean Farrell (32), of Kilfenora Road, Crumlin, and Ciaran Maguire (29), of Kippure Road, Finglas, were arrested separately at their places of work in north Dublin.

The PSNI wants to charge both men with attempted murder and possession of explosives with intent to endanger life.

They were detained yesterday morning under a European Arrest Warrant.

The pair were taken to the High Court and remanded in custody after a brief hearing, during which evidence of their arrest, charge and caution was given by Sergeants Jim Kirwan and Mattie Murphy.

The suspects are due to appear before the High Court again on April 3.

The alleged offences relate to the discovery of a viable bomb under a police officer’s car in Eglinton, Co Derry, on June 18, 2015.

Improvised

An under-vehicle improvised explosive device was found attached to the serving officer’s vehicle at an address at Glenrandel.

The target’s wife, also a serving PSNI officer, woke in the middle of the night and looked out to see a man planting the device, a previous court hearing was told.

The would-be bomber fled after the woman hammered on the bedroom window. The bomb was made safe.

Three men, including Farrell and Maguire, were detained by gardai just across the Border in Ballybofey, Co Donegal, at about 4am on June, 18, 2015.

They were travelling in a stolen car that had false number plates and a number of items were seized from the vehicle.

The three were released without charge after their clothing was taken for forensic examination.

Both Farrell and Maguire are well-known to gardai. Maguire was jailed for five years in May 2007 for setting two gardai alight by throwing petrol bombs during riots at the Love Ulster parade in February 2006.
Maguire admitted making five petrol bombs, but said he had thrown only three.

In a separate case, Farrell was jailed for five years for IRA membership in December 2012, but his conviction was quashed in April 2014.

His appeal was supported by Independent TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, who were both in court for the verdict.

Farrell was previously arrested but released without charge by gardai investigating the gun murder of Seamus ‘Shavo’ Hogan, who it is believed was murdered by the IRA in Crumlin in July 2001.

Taken from the independent

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

Matthew Talbot was born on May 2nd 1856, the second of 12 siblings, in Dublin, Ireland.

He had three sisters and nine brothers, three of whom died young. His father Charles was a dockworker and his mother, Elizabeth, was a housewife. When Matthew was about 12 years old, he started to drink alcohol. His father was a known alcoholic as well as all his brothers. The eldest brother, John, was the exception. Charles tried to dissuade Matthew with severe punishments but without success.Matthew worked as a messenger boy when he was twelve and then transferred to another messenger job at the same place his father worked. After working there for three years, he became a bricklayer’s laborer. He was a hodman, which meant he fetched mortar and bricks for the bricklayers. He was considered “the best hodman in Dublin.As he grew into an adult, he continued to drink excessively, He continued to work but spent all his wages on heavy drinking. When he got drunk, he became very hot-tempered, got into fights, and swore. He became so desperate for more drinks that he would buy drinks on credit, sell his boots or possessions, or steal people’s possession so he could exchange it for more drinks. He refused to listen to his mother’s plea to stop drinking. He eventually lost his own self-respect. One day when he was broke, he loitered around a street corner waiting for his “friends”, who were leaving work after they were paid their wages. He had hoped that they would invite him for a drink but they ignored him. Dejected, he went home and publicly resolved to his mother, “I’m going to take the pledge.” His mother smiled and responded, “Go, in God’s name, but don’t take it unless you are going to keep it.” As Matthew was leaving, she continued, “May God give you strength to keep it.Matthew went straight to confession at Clonliffe College and took a pledge not to drink for three months. The next day he went back to Church and received communion for the first time in years. From that moment on, in 1884 when he was 28 years old, he became a new man. After the he successfully fulfilled his pledge for three months, he made a life long pledge. He even made a pledge to give up his pipe and tobacco. He used to use about seven ounces of tobacco a week. He said to the late Sean T. O’Ceallaigh, former President of Ireland, that it cost him more to give up tobacco that to give up alcohol.The new converted Matthew never swore. He was good humored and amicable to everyone. He continued to work as a hodman and then as a laborer for timber merchants. He used his wages to pay back all his debts. He lived modestly and his home was very spartan. He developed into a very pious individual who prayed every chance he got. He attended Mass every morning and made devotions like the Stations of the Cross or devotions the Blessed mother in the evenings. He fasted, performed acts of mortification, and financially supported many religious organizations. He read biographies of St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Catherine of Sienna. He later joined the Third Order of St. Francis on October 18, 1891 even though a young pious girl proposed to marry him. Physically, he suffered from kidney and heart ailments. During the two times he was hospitalized, he spent much time in Eucharistic adoration in the hospital chapel. Eventually, Matthew died on June 7, 1925 while walking to Mass. He was 69 years old. Here is a wonderful quote from Matthew to remember:Three things I cannot escape: the eye of God, the voice of conscience, the stroke of death. In company, guard your tongue. In your family, guard your temper. When alone guard your thoughts.”

With many thanks to: Irish History discussion and debate group.

Clarification regards Irish Times article

Republican SINN FÉIN Poblachtach

Preas Ráitheas / Press Release

On March 22nd, 2017 the Irish Times carried an article entitled Veteran Cork republican criticisms Martin McGuinness.  In the article Barry Roche, the southern correspondent with the Irish Times went on to say in reference to Donal Varian, “leaving to form Republican Sinn Féin of which Mr Varian has been a steadfast member.”

We wish to clarify that Donal Varian is no longer a member of Republican Sinn Féin.

Críoch / ENDS

Reference: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/veteran-cork-republican-criticises-martin-mcguinness-1.3020792


Republican Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin Poblachtach

Web: http://www.rsf.ie
E-Mail: saoirse@iol.ie

Sinn Féin Poblachtach
Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill,
223 Sráid Pharnell, BÁC 1, Éire

For confirmation contact;
Des Dalton, President: 086-3291809
Seán Ó Dubhláin, PRO: +353 89 481 9514 or ‘pro@rsf.ie’
Ard-Oifig: 01-872 9747

International Department: international@rsf.ie

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44th anniversary of 11-year-old Francis Rowntree murdered by the British Army.

Francis Rowntree 11-years-old

11-year-old Francis Rowntree suffered extensive skull fractures and lacerations of the brain. After he was shot at point blank range by the British Army with a rubber bullet and died in hospital on April 22nd 1972.

Today marks his 44th anniversary.

The already lethal bullet had been doctored to make it even more deadly, with a battery inserted inside to cause maximum damge to innocent victims.

This was a common tactic used by the cowardly British Army across occupied Ireland.

Rest in Peace little man. – feeling heartbroken.

With many thanks to: Pat Gillan, Chaírde ar an Arm Náisiúnta Fuascailte na hÉireann.

 

The McMahon Family Massacre

The McMahon Family Massacare

On 23 March 1922, five members of the McMahon family and another man were murdered by the RIC in their family home in North Belfast.

At 1.20 am, masked men sledgehammered down the door of the three-storey house at 3 Kinnaird Terrace, rousing the occupants, who at first suspected a bomb had been put in the letterbox, from their beds.

The murderers quickly collected the women of the house and locked them in a back room. They then forced 50-year-old Owen McMahon and his five sons, ages 11 to 24, and a 25-year-old male boarder, into the living room. The leader of the assassins told the men and boys to avail of the few moments to pray for their souls. As they were praying, the gang opened fire.

Owen McMahon and three of his boys died instantly, as did boarder Ed McKinney. Another McMahon son, Bernard, died of his wounds a week later. Amazingly, the shots intended for 11-year-old John McMahon missed. The boy, shrieking with fright, ran round the dining-room table. Two more shots were fired at him as he ran, these ricocheted off the table into the wall. The boy managed to get under the sofa and lay there until the killers had fled. John McMahon later identified the killers as uniformed, but masked, police. He was absolutely categorical about the murderers’ identity in his statement to local clergy: “Four of the five men were dressed in the uniform of the RIC but, from their appearance, I know they are Specials, not regular RIC.”

An explosion of violence accompanied Britain’s 1920 partitioning of Ireland, the Irish Tan War, and the ensuing Irish Civil War. From July 1920 to July 1922, 453 died in Belfast alone. Over 60 percent were Catholics, who then made up a third of the population. The McMahons, a business family, were killed in reprisal for the IRA killing of two police auxiliaries the day before.

There is no doubt that some members of the B-Specials were present at the McMahon killings but it must be remembered that the ‘Specials’ were in fact mere ‘helpers’ to those who were involved in the planning and carrying out of such attacks and who were all members, and in most cases high rankings members, of the RIC. They were known as the Cromwell Club and were established in Belfast. These death squads were set up by the Unionist Party and attacked Catholics when the opportunity arose. Their sectarian purpose was to drive all the Catholics out of the newly formed Ulster State.

A chief Belfast death squad leader was Inspector John Nixon. The Stormont government eventually tried to dismiss him, but backed off when he threatened to publicly name senior police and unionist politicians who had helped in the murder gangs.

Nixon was elected five times to Britain’s Parliament and he was awarded an MBE by King George in 1923 for his “valuable service during the troubled period”.

After interviewinree Sinn Féiners (in their homes)… the only way to stop these cold-blooded murders.”

A week after the McMahon incident, in a deliberate attempt to wreck the Craig-Collins pact, lorry loads of RIC and Specials from Brown Square barracks perpetrated the “Arnon Street Massacre” of five Catholics.

Such was the weight of evidence against Nixon and named police for these murders that DI Lynn not only “investigated… the police for murder” but ordered the police suspects to parade for identification.

However, as Fr Laverty reported, they refused; and Craig resisted demands for an inquiry.

On Sunday 26 March 1922, the funeral of the Owen McMahon and his three sons, Frank, Patrick and Gerald, left St Patrick’s Church, Donegall Street, en route for burial in Milltown Cemetery. Thousands lined the streets to show their abhorrence for the brutal killings.

One week later the RIC were renamed the RUC.

On 29 January 2003,the North Belfast News reported that, following a request from the DUP’s Ian Crozier, Belfast City Hall would ask the Department of Social Development for the former home of RUC Officer and Unionist MP John Nixon to be declared a national monument.

With many thanks to: Easter Rising War of Independence and Irish Civil War History.

Remembering Ireland’s Patriot Dead

THE BRAVE Men & Women Who Give Their Lives For Irish Freedom.

80 men and women travelled the Irish Sea from various parts of the UK to play their part with the Irish Volunteers in the Easter Rising some had Irish Parents,some had not.They too helped fight against the oppression and tyranny of British Government and Crown Forces in Ireland 1916

With many thanks to: Easter Rising War of Independence and Irish Civil War History.

CATHAL BRUGHA VISTOR CENTRE (museum) plus walking tour available.

Conducted by Our mess president Noel McDonnell.

Cathal Brugha

The Visitor Centre is dedicated to the memory of Francis Sheehy Skeffington, Thomas Dickson and Patrick McIntyre, newspaper editors and pacifists, who were arrested by the British Forces and executed without trial in the guardroom exercise yard on April 26th 1916.

The visitor centre can boast some fine military artefacts and displays that are unique to the barracks adn the role it played in Irish History. Pride of place has to go to the personal memorabilia that belonged to General Michael Collins. It was from Cathal Brugha Barracks that Michael Collins departed on his ill-fated tour of the south of the country, where he was killed at Béal Na mBláth, County Cork. On display is his desk the flag that draped his coffin, his Colt 45 pistol and three pistols from his hit team, The Squad and also his death mask. (a must see)

On May 17th 1922, following the War of Independence and after 112 years of British occupation, the Worchestershire Regiment marched out of the canal gate, while Commandant General Tom Ennis, Colonel Commandant Thornton and a unit of the Dublin Guards marched in the main gate from Beggars Bush Barracks with General Eoin O’Duffy taking the salute. A group of photographs from this historic handover are portrayed in a series of iconic pictures on display in the vistor’s centre.

Today, Cathal Brugha Barracks is the home of the 2 Brigade, the 7th Infantry Battalion and numerous brigade combat, combat support and combat service support units, including the Defence Forces School of Music and Military Archives. If interested please contact this page or our mess president Noel McDonnell. Reservations must be made in advance.

With many thanks to: The Michael Collins Club/Ptes Mess, Irish History disscussion and debate group.

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