Category Archives: Photo-Essay

Cluan Place, Belfast – 15 years on.

In 2002, I visited Cluan Place in East Belfast for the first time.  I was visiting a couple of homes in the street, – people who were parishioners of a church that I belonged to at the time.  The reason for my visit was to see if their homes had been damaged in the rioting that was taking place at that time.   Cluan Place lies right on one of the Belfast interface lines, ‘peace-walls’ seperating two communities.  In the case of Cluan Place, it interfaced with the largely republican Short Strand area.  In 2002 friction between the two communities was at a height, and there was a constant police presence to keep the warring factions apart.  One of my friends in the street was an ederly man who had found a pipe bomb in his garden; it had been lobbed over the wall from the other side.

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In August this year I had occasion to visit the street again.  It’s fifteen years from my first visit, and I havent been there since, and I wondered how the community and the atmosphere had changed.  was there still that fearfullness, that alertness of suuden attack?  was there a constant police landrover sitting at the single entrance to the cul de sac?

Needless to say, I had a film camera with me.  I never go anywhere without one, so after my visit with one of the residents I did some photographs.  I hope they paint a small picture of life in Cluan Place 15 years on.

The other side of the wall is Short Strand, equally smitten in 2002, – here’s some pictures of the wall from the Short Strand side, and a lovely new building, on the site where the old ‘Picturedrome’ cinema once stood.

If I had to choose my ‘image of the day’ – it would probably be this one, for after all, like life the summer barbecues go on!

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Photo-Essay: Dunluce Castle.

Dunluce Castle, 2nd November 2016.

A visit to Dunluce Castle, between Portrush and Portballintrae on a cold, windy day in November, yet still plenty of foreign tourists around the ancient monument.  The castle was built in the early 17th Century, by Randall McDonnell, and the now derelict mansion house sits out on a rock, reached only by a wooden bridge.

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The approach to the castle is by way of a walled ‘funnel’ – to make it virtually unassailable.  Visitors would have to be processed through the funnel, and any attack would be almost impossible.

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Photo-Essay ‘Scrabo’

On Saturday 1st October, I went for a walk up to Scrabo Tower, on the outskirts of Newtownards.  This landmark has towered over much of my life, living and working around the Ards area.  The tower was built in 1857, 540 ft above sea-level, as a memorial to the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, Viscount castlereagh, Charles Stewart.    The tower is situated in a country park, close to Scrabo Golf Club, and is approached by car only as far as the golf club entrance, then by foot up a steep path to the summit.  Thankfully, there are resting places on the ascent!

Being October, the road up to tower ran beside fields that had just been baled, – which provided my image of the day, and set the scene for my exploration of the towers surroundings.

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St Patrick’s Grave

St Patrick’s Grave

On Tuesday, 22nd September, I had occasion to visit Downpatrick, Co.Down, and after I’d completed my work there I went for a walk around the grounds of Downpatrick Cathedral.  Unfortunately the cathedral building was closed, so no interior shots, but there were plenty of visitors and tourists around the building and in the adjoining churchyard, for Downpatrick is the (alleged) burial place of Ireland’s patron saint, Patrick.   Continue reading St Patrick’s Grave

Photo-Essay – A Walk in the Park.

A Walk in the Park, Down Memory Lane

On Friday 12th September 2015, between appointments, I took a stroll through Alexandra Park, in north Belfast. It was a poignant, nostalgic break in an otherwise mundane day, for I hadn’t gone to this park to exercise my legs, but to exercise my memory. My grandparents, Bob and Jeannie Kirk had lived in this park, in the gardener’s house, in the late 1950’s and early 60’s. Bob Kirk had been the foreman gardener at Glenbank Park in Ligoneil (where I was born) and his move to Alexandra Park as forman gardener would have been seen as a promotion. He took up residence in the Park Lodge, and remained there until retirement in 1965. While they lived there, I spent many happy days and evenings with them, travelling over by bus, down the Falls Road, and catching the No.77 Belfast Corporation Bus, (That famous bus route that wound through the streets of Belfast from the Gasworks to the Waterworks) alighting at the Waterworks.

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