The death of veteran Belfast republican Billy McKee has been reported this morning. Born in 1921, he had joined Fianna Éireann in his teens against the backdrop of intermittent violence in the 1930s. He was then arrested in the McKelvey Club in Rockmount Street in November 1938 along with twenty-three others. The McKelvey Club wasContinue reading “Billy McKee, 1921-2019”
The 1944 IRA hunger strike marks a significant stage in the evolution of tactics by long term prisoners that culminated in the likes of the 1972 and 1981 hunger strikes.
Fifty years ago this summer peace lines were erected across parts of Belfast, most famously along a line that roughly follows the course of the River Farset from Divis Street to the Springfield Road. Here, I look at how it was first built in September 1969 and some of its predecessors in Belfast. I alsoContinue reading “The start of the peace lines: Belfast, 1969.”
To mark World Book Day, you can now read Belfast Battalion online for free (just click here or cut and paste the link: https://thelitterpress.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/belfast-battalion-worldbookday/). It will be available to read for free from 7th March 2019 to the 18th March 2019. To buy the book click here.
These are the epic stories of the Edwards family who lived in the Manor Street area of Belfast at the turn of the twentieth century. Later moving to Waterford, the Edwards were a political activist mother and a father who had spent years in both the British Army (including the first world war) and prisonContinue reading “Lightly tap the muffled drum: the stories of Belfast-born Vol. Jack Edwards, killed Kilkenny prison 1922, and his family”
Today marks the 75th anniversary of the death of Seamus ‘Rocky’ Burns, the only O/C of the Belfast IRA to be shot dead while he was in the role. On the 10th February 1944, he and another member of the IRA left the Continental Café on Chapel Lane (now St. Mary’s Repository and the HolyContinue reading “Who’s That Knocking on My Door: 75th anniversary of the death of Rocky Burns.”
Ok, it’s a work in progress but here is a link to the Mapping the Belfast IRA page: https://treasonfelony.wordpress.com/mapping-the-belfast-ira/ And the (work in progress) map…
In 1935, fourteen month old Joseph Walsh died as a result of injuries he received when his family were burnt out of their home in Academy Street. Oddly, histories of the period overlook his death. During 1935 Belfast saw significant violence, which saw a number of people killed over the period from the 12th JulyContinue reading “A forgotten child death of the conflict, Joseph Walsh”
Last weekend, as part of the launch for the Belfast Battalion book, I gave a talk in St Joseph’s Church in Sailortown in Belfast. The talk looked at the experience of residents during the violent, summer of 1935 (rather than at the broader politics of what happened). A couple of themes that emerge from itContinue reading “Sailortown and the violence of 1935”
Attacks on the press, calls for unionist unity, warnings that their heritage and Protestantism had been sold out. Not 2018, but 1935 and a meeting of the Ulster Protestant League (UPL) in the Ulster Hall. Many of the issues raised appear to be timeless, though, as you could find them echoed in similar meetings inContinue reading “…the minority, whom we consider rebels to the British Throne, the British flag, and to Protestant Ulster”