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.



With many thanks to: Ulster Clans of Ireland.



Stair na hÉireann

Irish Female Convicts and Children Transported to Australia in 1848. Mary Ryan age 12 Crime- Larceny Convicted in Waterford, Mary Jane Movraw age 14 Crime- Larceny Convicted in Antrim, Bridget Haughegan age 15 Crime- Larceny Convicted in Galway, Margaret McConnell age 15 Crime-Larceny Convicted in Down.


‘Looking back, a lot of Catholic pubs were targeted. This is just a bad reminder of that – Alex Mackey.

A LOYALIST paramilitary warning to publicans not to serve Catholics is reminiscent to a very sinister period during the Troubles, a Sinn Fein MLA has said.

2013-09-05 17.20.52

Alex Mackey spoke out about the threat in Larne, Co Antrim, after unearthing a piece of Troubles-related memorabilia – a flyer which was once distributed warning Protestants not to drink in Catholic bars because to do so could “seriously damage your health”. Mr MMackey said the leaflet found in a Protestant bar in the Ravenhill Road area of east Belfast was given to him in 1972. He said it had been distrbuted at a time when Catholic bars were being targeted by loyalist paramilitaries, resulting in murders and soundings in bomb and gun attacks. Mr Maskey said the leaflets, used as beer mats, were issued to Protestants to warn them not to frequent Catholic bars because they might be bombed.

Loyalist paramilitaries are said to have visited at least five bars in Larne last Saturday to warn staff not to serve Catholics. The move led some publicans to consider increasing security at their premises and prompted another Sinn Fein MLA to urge police to “look at Larne as a priority”. Mr Maskey said the threat was “reminiscent of a very sinister period, whenever people were being killed in bombs and shooting attacks on bars”. The latest warnings were “a twist” on the decades-old leaflet, he said. Mr Mackey said it was a “sickening reminder” of the past when bars were targeted “because of the religion of patrons and owners”. “Looking back, a lot of Catholic pubs were targeted,” he said. “There was a campaign on that sector. This is just a bad reminder of that.”

With many thanks to : Marie Louise McCrory, The Irish News.



Angela Nelson

I did not write about this visit on Thursday due to the fact that Christine Connor from North Belfast was in court yesterday (Friday) for another bail application and I was hopeful she may have got it due to the fact that she is a totally innocent young woman held on allegations which are ludicrous and gives the distinct sense of a careful set up by the spooks that are operating within our communities. Sadly she was refused on the grounds that she may have access to pipe bombs and other things.

Christine was arrested at the beginning of June and held and questioned for seven days about an alleged attack when a pipe bomb was thrown at Police who were responding to an 999 call, she was also charged with possession of pipe bombs and preparing acts of terrorism.

At the same time a young man from Shrewsbury in England was also arrested and has since been charged with terrorist offences, whilst he does not appear at the court at the same time as Christine he is being associated with her. Christine does not know this young man at all?

The fact is Christine was arrested with nothing in her possession and after lengthy searches of her home and other family members homes nothing was found and there is no forensic evidence linking her to any of these charges.

The police say they can connect her to these charges, and we as Republicans have been down this road before, when allegations are made with nothing to substantiate them yet the person can spend a long time in “Administrative Detention” until the case comes to trial.

I went to see her on Thursday with a friend of hers and we were able to spend two hours with her where she talked me through the prison regime. Christine shares a wing with one other Republican female prisoner (Sharon Rafferty who has been held in “Isolation” for 13 months) until Christine joined her. The two women have become firm friends and are very supportive of each other. They conduct themselves within the prison as strong Republicans who will not be treated as criminals, but that does not mean that the prison system is not constantly trying to harass them and their visitors by giving them prison numbers, (rather than a name) or referring to them as “Dissident terrorists “in the mixed visiting areas within earshot of other visitors.

There is no education facilities available because the two women can already read and write and there are only courses for illiterate prisoners.

There is access to the gym but it is used by ODC’s and no time slot is made available for the two women to use it without mixing with criminals.

The food is inedible so they have to purchase it form the prison shop which is expensive.

During the week they are allowed out of their cells to associate with each other but at weekends they are locked up for 16 hours a day.

These two Republican women are supported by family and close friends but we as Republicans collectively need to be more supportive and that can be done in a very simple way, send them both a letter or a card, let them know we have not forgot about them. If you live close to their families call and offer support or even inquire about their welfare.

Today we had wonderful weather, the sun was shining and as I was driving up the road young women were sitting in “Beer Gardens” having a cold drink basking in the sunshine….




Seosamh O Bradaigh

Within the last few hours Christine Connor was having a visit for her birthday when it was abruptly cut short by screws claiming the needed the room for other use, upon leaving the Gaol the 2 visitors were met at the entrance by the RUC/PSNI and arrested one of the visitors, he has since been taken to Antrim RUC/PSNI station. The person who they arrested is not a citizen of the country and is in fact an American citizen, the behaviour of the screws and the RUC/PSNI once again has been brought into question when in relation to Republicans more updates will follow


Meanwhile, a loyalist band founded by convicted peadophile Mark Harbinson is seeking permission to hold a late-night parade with 20 bands and more than 1,000 supporters through the mixed Co Antrim village of Stoneyford.

Mark Harbinson Sick Paedophile

Harbinson, who was freed from jail last month having served a three-and-a-half-year sentence for the sexual abuse of a schoolgirl, is a leading member of The Pride of the Village Band. Some of the abuse took place in an Orange Hall in the village. The 45-year-old was found guilty of molesting his 13-year-old victim and having pictures of her topless on his mobile phone. Since his release he has reinvolved himself with the band and has been seen putting union and UVF flags up on main routes leading into the mixed village on the outskirts of Lisburn. The band has applied to the Parades Commission to hold a march on Saturday June 29 through the Main Street of the village with an outward journey not ccompleted until 11pm at night.

Sinn Fein assembly member Mitchell McLaughlin met with the Parades Commission on Wednesday to express concerns about the march, saying the application is designed to “ratchet up community tensions”. Harbinson had previously been accused of waging a campaign of sectarian attacks against Catholics living in Stoneyford. Mr McLaughlin said the parade plans were “a gross act of sectarian intimidation against all the people of this village – Catholic, Protestant, unionist and nationalist”. “The Parades Commission must by their decision make it clear that it will not permit such an abuse of people’s human rights. “I suggested they permit the local band and a small number of supporters to parade. “I expressed my concerns to the commission about Harbinson’s presence and I have spoken to the police about this matter as well. “I will be meeting the police on Friday to hear how they intend handling the situation in Stoneyford”, he said.

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, Irish News.



Derry Sceal

Gary McDaid finds himself placed in a criminal wing in Maghaberry gaol, deliberately isolated by the British crown, suffering numerous clandestine incursions by British MI5 in collusion with the RUC/PSNI and the MagHaberry regime.

Gary was rammed off his motorbike by crown forces, arrested and taken to Antrim interrogation centre where he was questioned by British state forces having already suffered trial by media.

Since his arrest he has been targeted no less than 5 times by British MI5 agents. The majority of these approaches occurred whilst he was in police custody at Antrim Serious Crime Suite and occurred in the absence of his nominated legal representatives.

The agents of the British state have been able to gain free access to his cell at any given time. They demonstrated an ability to have him returned to Strand road barracks in Derry to face supposed questioning over a quite separate offence but soon became quite apparent that they had no real questions to put to him with regard to this. His removal to Strand road was simply another blatant attempt to enable mi5 agents to have another go at him, offering him a deal to turn informer under a SOCPA Agreement.

The British appeared to have identified Gary as a vulnerable individual and placed him in a cell in Maghaberry on a criminal wing where Loyalists appear to have free reign to bang on his cell, shouting threats and such like, with constant intimidation an ever present.

He had immediately asked to be placed into the Republican wing on Roe 4 and at first was told by the Governor that this shouldn’t be a problem until it was stated to him some time later that there was information that he was under threat from Republican prisoners on the wing.

This was quickly identified as a non existent threat and merely another manipulated ploy by the British state to give them more time to inflict more mental torture,

Fearing for his safety following Loyalist threats within Bann house, he has been forced to undergo a dirty protest as he feared attack during mealtimes and now takes his meals in his cell. The British regime recognise that the only threat he faces is from the Loyalist remand prisoners and are using it as more leverage in targeting Gary for their ongoing psychological torture.

He has been put under considerable threat by MI5 agents who appear to have the run of the gaol, Antrim serious crime suite and Strand road barracks. He has been told that they will make him look like an informant whilst also making reference to his children.

The ease of which MI5 could gain access to a remand prisoner in the absence of legal representation, putting him in fear of his life should be ringing alarm bells everywhere following the death of Republican John Brady which took place in Strand road barracks, Derry, under extremely dubious circumstances in October 2009.

Gary Mc Daid is suffering daily as a result of a a British strategy of enforced isolation whilst enduring blackmail and threats out of sight of legal representation.

They appear to think they have recognised an emotional vulnerability and are determined to enforce their psychological torture with complete disregard to the Human rights of a remand prisoner.

The presumption of innocence until proven guilty does not come into the equation where remand prisoners are thought to be Republican minded.

The ongoing psychological torture of Gary McDaid is intolerable. All right thinking people who hold Human and civil rights to the fore need to oppose the ongoing and accelerated regression of these rights and demand an end to British torture both physical and psychological. —  with Seosamh O Bradaigh, Dublin Cumann, Seán MacDiarmada Ard Eoin, Cumann Sean MacEachaidh, Andrew Rae, Josephine Canning, Joe Last, Gary Donnelly, Angela Nelson, Belfast Cumann, Peter Corbett, Irpwa Ireland, Mandy Duffy, Gráinne McCreesh, Sean O’neill, Roisin Kane, Anthony Lancaster, Listen Here, Alan Lundy, Ciaran Boyle, Alicia Mackey, Joe Barr, Aine Mclaughlin, Paddy Browne, Antaine Mac Dhomhnaill, Alec Mc Crory, Vol Brendan Hughes Rfb, Aindriú Mac Giolla Phádraig, Armagh Cumann, Megan Donnelly, Ian O Kelly, Gráinne NíRaois, Dee Fennell, Irpwa Derry, Irpwa Galway, Cork Irpwa, SouthDerry NorthAntrim Irpwa, Braeden James O’Hara, Peter Fitzsimons, Michilín Mhíc Fheargail, Daniel Doherty, Kellie Donnelly Ramsey, Gareth Cullen, Kevin Collins, John Doherty, Seachranaidhe Irishandproud, Sean Cahill, Plunkett Devlin and Pigy Mc Cartan

Oppose MI5/RUC Collusion · 28 May ·




A former DUP council candidate has been sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement in a sectarian pipe bomb attack in Atrim.

The incident happened in October 2011.

John Smyth Junior, of Rockfield Heights in Connor, near Ballymena, was sentenced to three years in prison and five on licence.

He admitted his part in making the pipe bomb after he was confronted with ” overwhelming forensic evidence “, but denied planting it.

Bomb squad at Antrim alert

A local resident found a suspicious object which has sparked a security alert in Antrim.

Bomb squad at Antrim alert
Cordens are in place at the scecne of the alert in Antrim

The suspect device was found in Oakdale Manor in the town at around 10.20am on Thursday.

Army bomb experts are at the scene and a police spokesperson said a small number of homes have been evacuated.



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