Wednesday, 8 November 2017

THE TIME I “RAIDED” THE PROTESTANT SHANKHILL ROAD


Image result for shankill road belfast




I was a curate in St. Peter’s Cathedral, Falls Road, Belfast from 1978 to 1983.

The Catholic Falls Road and the Protestant Shankhill Road in Belfast run parallel but were, at the time divided by peace walls and gates to stop murderers going from one to the other.

I learned that, long before The Troubles a number of Catholic priests from St Peter’s had crossed the divide to help nurse the Protestants on the Shankhill who were suffering a Cholera epidemic.

In rememberance of the generousity of those priests the Protestants of the Shankhill renamed a number of their streets after the priests. Two of those streets became BLANEY STREET and BRENNAN STREET after fathers Blaney and Brennan.



When the old streets were being demolished in the late 1970’s to make way for new housing I requested Belfast City Council to give me the name plates in memory of the priests.

They bluntly refused. They were going to bulldoze the nameplates with the streets

One Christmas a fellow priest and I were walking back from a Christmas dinner in Bishop William Philbin’s palace on the Antrim. We  were walking because we had a few drinks and because the roads were full of slow and ice.

As we passed Brennan and Blaney streets I said to my companion – Father Vincent McKinley – “There’s the nameplates I want”.



He replied; “Let’s take them”!

We walked back to the cathedral and got his car and I held a ladder out the window. Back at Brennan and Blaney streets he held the ladders and I went up with a hammer and chisel and removed the nameplates.

Next day I brought them to the woodwork department of out boy’s secondary school and had the teacher mount the nameplates on the wood they are still on.

Recently I had a telephone call from a new small museum on the Shankhill Road asking me would I be prepared to donate them back to the Shankhill Road?

Of course I agreed.

On Friday of this week I am bringing the nameplates back and handing them over.

They asked me if I wanted anything for them.

I said “Yes”.

“After the presentation I want you to take me to the most Protestant and Loyalist pub on the Shankhill Road for a pint”.


They have agreed.



60 comments:

  1. I remember the bbc programme give my head peace the pub was called the knee breakers . I hope they don't take you there lol . I'd imagine it will be the Rex bar if it's still there

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    1. The Rex is still there. Just checking if that's where we are going. Will let you know :-)

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    2. Just checked. We are going to the Rex/Knee Breakers :-)

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    3. I went in once just out of curiosity . Don't let the decor put you off I found it a very friendly bar and good craic you will enjoy it

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    4. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to be going to the Regina?

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  2. That's good, Pat.
    If they happen to be readers of any of your blog pieces on here I am sure they will have no trouble at all in regarding you as a kindred spirit.

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    Replies
    1. True. We are all some kind of revolutionaries :-)

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  3. I love your rebellious spirit; it sometimes brings good results.

    By the way, today is my birthday. I'm ... old. (This should give aspiring commentor-sleuths here something to feed on.)

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    1. Happy Birthday MC.

      Even I am curious to know the numbers - 29, 39, 49 ????????

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    2. If anyone who has access to the seminary entry book it would be easy for them to identify Carta. If he is that Ferns guy mentioned yesterday he was a very nice guy - urbane, civilised and pleasant. At least they are my memories.

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    3. If Carta is the Ferns man, the number should be in the eary 50's.

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  4. Magna's birthday! More like 9th/10th/12th or/14th birthday.. such is his infantile and immature behaviour on this blog, especially yesterday.. Whatever age Magna, let it be your watershed "growing up" moment...Enjoy the beers!

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  5. Have a good birthday, Magna! - you and the chef, Gordon Ramsey... Maybe he is cooking his own birthday bash dinner..

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  6. MournemanMichael8 November 2017 at 12:28

    I like this story Pat, for similar exploits run in my family.
    My brother has a road sign in Irish of the family farm name "borrowed" on a post pub fishing trip to Mayo many years ago.
    And I took great pleasure in donating a sign with my grandfather's pub's name on it to his illegitimate son: an uncle we discovered in mid 1960's. His pregnant mother was secreted off to England to have the baby and never returned.
    He enjoyed me telling him how my friends gave me a leg up a lamppost in middle of a Maltese roundabout to 'borrow it' about 2am after a night in that Irish pub!
    MMM

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  7. Happy birthday a Magna, hope you have a lovely day.
    Now everyone is searching the birth records to see if you are x y z.
    I’m female so if you not gay, maybe we could meet.
    I’m much older than you, definitely.and not as knowledgable.

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    1. Oh, I'm sure you could teach me a thing or two.šŸ˜‰

      Thanks for the good wish.

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  8. Hi Magna! Give us a wee clue.. I mean.. did you receive a birthday card from the Queen by any chance? Have a good'n!

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    1. Arrgh! You've rumbled me, sir. Yes, I'm a centenarian today. (I look great for my age, though.)

      Thanks for your good wish.

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    2. really what difference is it if Magna is 70, 80 or 56.
      Age is just a number, believe me.
      From one who will hit 80 in a couple of years and still living life to the full.
      Get with it and stop dwelling on age, look after your health and it may be possible to enjoy life.

      Delete
  9. I love magnas contributions, so any of you haters on here, Magna is unique.
    Leave him alone, no need for those negative comments yesterday.
    He is loved....yo7 haters can go and jump.

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  10. So Pat, so that we understand .
    You and your arch enemy, according to your previous blogs, got into a car whilst under the influence, and stole 2 signs.
    Good for youse.

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    1. During my first year in St Peters McKinley and I got on well.

      He drove the car and I held the latter through a window.

      So I suppose I was "intoxicated in control of a ladder"?

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    2. wish we had a video of that.

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  11. Pat, It sounds to me as if you took steps to recover the signs!

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    1. Ah.. I like your "steps" pun @15.07

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  12. Pat, after all the childish nonsense of Magna yesterday with his abusive language, now we are expected to celebrate with him! Why you allow him to use this forum so selfishly defies logic. It's not congratulations Magna needs, but a long indwelling in a place of refuge for some serious counselling.
    Only when he changes for the better will he deserve any sympathy.

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    1. 15.21
      Must be really jealous of you Magna for having so many admirers here.
      How on earth did you manage to be so popular ?
      No sympathy or likes for you 15.21
      Just grow up.

      Delete
  13. Happy birthday Magna ignore the haters and enjoy the rest of your day!

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  14. Pat you must have had the quare auld craic them times.
    Great memories for you.
    Hope u get a big donation tomorrow too.
    Where is this museum?,could an ordinary fenian dare to go there?

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    Replies
    1. It's actually in the premises of ACT beside The Shankill Leisure Centre.

      Hopefully these days anyone can go there.

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    2. PS: No fee involved. Just a pint in the Rex.

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    3. I know pat, but just the same, enjoy any treats whilst there.

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    4. According to what Pat has told us on several previous blogs,he didn't claim to have "quare auld craic" aƱd "great memories" in those times, as poster @ 16.18 describes them. Quite the opposite, in fact.
      So what are we to believe?

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  15. Yes Magna, ignore the scoffers. They're jealous because they can't get as drunk as often as you, be offensive and still ask for happy birthday wishes!! Drink yourself silly Magna, enjoy the evening. (P.S - mind your language)!

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  16. Aren’t you the intelligent know all 16.46
    Magna didn’t ask for birthday wishes.
    Enjoy the rest of your birthday Magna xxx

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    1. 17.20. Of course Magna invited good wishes for himself by telling us at 11.35 that today was his birthday! Are you stupid? My comnent at 16.46 was sarcasm - why would I offer good wishes to someine who cares little about offending and demeaning others? Someone,who only yesterday was sneering and insulting all around him. We saw yet again boorish, stupid behaviour from Mags.

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    2. Dead right 19:18. The total narcissist has made today’s blog all about himself. Nothing unusual in that - he does it most days - enabled by his big buddy, Pat.

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  17. Ha ha Love your comment. And your wit; it exactly coincides with my own. (Hope that doesn't bother you too much.šŸ˜†)

    Thanks for your good wish.

    And CHEERS!šŸ»

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  18. To the legend Magna Carta have a great birthday.

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  19. Magna, happy birthday dude. Keep up the comments.
    CR.

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  20. That's a classic Pat. Ull do well in that pub shure ur a proddie yerself by definition. Happy birthday MC

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  21. I cannot believe Pat that you are returning the name plates to the Shankill. Absolutely disgusted that you would simply roll over and give them back to the Protestants. Let's hope Sinn Fein don't allow the DUP walk all over them as easily as you're being walked on!

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    1. Bishop P., I think that giving the name plates back to the folks in the Shankill is precisely the right thing to do. Why? Because they're going home.

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    2. MournemanMichael9 November 2017 at 08:46

      Anon @23:30, while you may resent the nameplates return to "the Protestants" (your terminology), there may well be a majority of more enlightened observers valuing changing attitudes when those two RC priests names are being seen as welcome in a culture once hostile.
      MMM

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    3. 23:20 Fathers Blaney, Brennan, Meenan and Loftus nursed the people of the Shankhill in an act of love.

      The people returned their love by naming their streets after them.

      Is that not a Parable for N. Ireland and beyond.

      Delete
  22. So you are a bigot then....23.20
    Just like the DUP

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  23. Was today blog hijacked right under our noses?

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  24. I see that you're in the Belfast Telegraph about this, Pat.

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