Milestones 2018

Yesterday evening Dalaradia in conjunction with the REACH project (www.reachproject.co.uk) launched “Milestones 2018” – An Exhibition of works by East Belfast Artists Michael and Karan Stone.

The exhibition is in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK.

The launch was attended by representatives of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, our patron Dr Ian Adamson and sponsored by the Loyalist Conflict Museum, Andy Tyrie Interpretive Centre and the Union Jack Shop, Newtownards Road.

The husband and wife team were presented with copies of the Bible in Scots, produced by the Ullans Academy.

In the last they have exhibited in The John Hewitt Belfast, Malone House and the Ulster Museum. Michael has also exhibited with the PAF at The Long Gallery, Stormont, Belfast City Hall, Belfast Waterfront, Londonderry Gallery and Crumlin Road Gaol. The works have proved popular amongst established and new collectors who appreciate their collaborative styles of subject, colour, texture and originality.
This retrospective of their work entitled Milestones encompasses their past and present experiences in life with humour and their universal belief that “Art transcends politics”.

The art is open to the public between 10-5 today and tomorrow. Everyone is most welcome.

 

Trench Art

REACH, of which Dalaradia is a sub group, is proud to be hosting Roy Stewarts “Trench Art” exhibition at our offices at 240 Newtownards Road, Belfast.

It marks the 102nd Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The Art has been open to the public from Thursday 28th June with Thursday 5th July being the last day it will be on display.

Everyone is most welcome to view the art.

http://www.reachproject.co.uk/

In memory

The East Belfast Protestant Boys paying their respects at a memorial garden Dalaradia holds dear.

https://www.facebook.com/dalaradiagroup/videos/1764283236987565/

At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.

Lamh Dearg Abu
Honour – Service – Sacrifice

 

Culture for carnage as terror group mural replaced ‘for first time’

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/culture-for-carnage-as-terror-group-mural-replaced-for-first-time-1-8532752

“The PUP has hailed what it says is a groundbreaking replacement of a paramilitary mural in a staunchly loyalist mega-estate.

The party believes the change is the first time any mural honouring the Red Hand Commando (RHC) has been “reimaged”.

There are other RHC and other paramilitary murals in Rathcoole, a huge housing development in the Newtownabbey/north Belfast area. It is not clear what will happen with those.

It is understood the old mural in Carmeen Drive featured weapons. The new one mentions the ancient north-east Ulster kingdom of Dalriada, and ancient inhabitants the Pretani.

PUP North Belfast councillor Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston said “it is now a window into the rich historical tapestry of Ireland”, which “reaches beyond partition, beyond division and promotes a common identity”.

The CAIN archive, run by Ulster University, attributes 13 deaths to the RHC between 1969 and 2001, while the UVF – to which the RHC is affiliated – was behind 428.”

New artwork points to ‘shared future’ in area

https://www.newtownabbeytoday.co.uk/news/new-artwork-points-to-shared-future-in-area-1-8531936

“The re-imaging of a mural in Rathcoole aims to illustrate the area’s “transition from a troubled past to a peaceful shared future”.

The new wall art in the Carmeen Drive area of the estate depicts historical links to the Dalaradia Kingdom of Ulster, the indigenous Pretani people and the Red Hand of Ulster.

The new mural in the Carmeen Drive area.

The new mural in the Carmeen Drive area.

The painting also shows the modern landmarks of the four tower blocks, as well as the motto of local community group Dalaradia, ‘Respect , Heritage, Culture.’

A Red Hand Commando mural had previously been on the wall that the new art is on.

It showed a gunman with the phrase “Rathcoole Red Hand Commando South East Antrim B Company – The Elite”, as well as the organisation’s crest.

The re-imaging initiative came about after consultation between REACH UK, Dalaradia and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

REACH UK is based on the Newtownards Road and is involved in community development and conflict transformation throughout Northern Ireland.

The group has been primarily involved in working with working class unionist groups. The new mural was officially unveiled by Belfast City Council PUP representative, Cllr Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston on Tuesday evening.

Cllr Corr-Johnston said: “This is the first Red Hand Commando mural to be re-imaged. Formerly a mural depicting a militant past it is now a window into the rich historical tapestry of Ireland.

“It reaches beyond partition, beyond division and promotes a common identity as a way of transitioning from conflict to peace.”

She added: “I’d like to record my thanks to Dalaradia, a historical and cultural group based in Rathcoole, for inviting me to share in their significant progress.

“Progress that has been made possible through their extensive consultation with South East Antrim, REACH UK and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.”

New Dalaradia Mural

Yesterday evening our group unveiled our new mural in Rathcoole, Newtownabbey. A welcome change to the previous mural which was quite dated and had somewhat of a playful approach and not your conventional style of Paramilitary Mural.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murals play an important role within our communities. Not only do they offer great artistry, they also stand as historical evidence. Northern Ireland has around 2,000 murals, most of which contain political themes or references to the Troubles. Dalaradia understand the importance of their murals and have worked to preserve and maintain them. Many murals depict gunmen, not to cause fear, not marking territory, not implying its the the present or whats to come in the future, but a reminder of what once was. Thanks to their artistic merit and historical value, murals have become an important tourist attraction in post-Troubles Northern Ireland.

Many thanks to members of the public for attending and to the various group representatives including the Rathcoole Somme Society, Newtownabbey Arts & Cultural Network and Thomas Hogg of the DUP. A big thanks to Councillor Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston of the PUP for opening the mural.

Cllr Corr-Johnston said “This is the first Red Hand Commando mural to be re-imaged. Formerly a mural depicting a militant past it is now a window into the rich historical tapestry of Ireland. It reaches beyond partition, beyond division and promotes a common identity as a way of transitioning from conflict to peace.”

She concluded “I’d like to record my thanks to Dalaradia, a historical and cultural group based in Rathcoole, for inviting me to share in their significant progress. Progress that has been made possible through their extensive consultation with South East Antrim, REACH UK and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.”

 

Residents in the area received leaflets explaining the mural and its origins. Below is its content.

“The Dalaradia Mural Rathcoole 2018

Dalaradia was one of the Ancient Ulster Kingdoms, sitting in the area now occupied by the Mid and East Antrim Council, it was bordered in the North by Dalriada and in the South by Dal Faitach. In 1967 our borough was to be named Dalriada but following a challenge in court was renamed Newtownabbey. The first mention of Belfast is in 667 when the tribes of Dalaradia in Co Antrim and those in Dal Faitach, Co Down fought for the title “Fir Uladh” – True Men Of Ulster. The Earldom of Ulster was founded in Carrickfergus Castle in the territory of Dalaradia and St Patricks first noble convert was Bronagh, daughter of the Dalaradian King , Milchu, also St Comgal a Dalaradian warrior monk founded Bangor Abbey which became the Centre of European Christianity.

The Pretani, – “ Cruithin in ulster gaelic “ – were the indigenous British people of Ulster and Dalaradia in particular. Both Ptolemy and Caesar wrote of the Isles of the Pretani when referring to the British Isles, the larger island known as Great Britain and Ireland known to them as Little Britain. The original Britonnic – Welsh version of Pretani remains today as Prydin on the second page of British Passports

The outline of Old Ulster – “ Ulidia / Uladh “, the counties of Antrim and Down is highlighted with Dalaradias Lough Neagh behind. Also shown is the field of Crewe Hill, with the Ancient Crowning Stone of Ulster Kings. This is one of Ulsters most historical sites, where huge battles were fought between the Ulster Pretani and the O Niell Gaels , the literal translation of the word Gael meaning “ Invader / Stranger “. A generic image of an Ulster Warrior overlooks the Kingdom.

Ulsters most potent symbol, the Red Hand, has many legends attached to it, from King Hermon cutting off his hand and throwing it ashore to claim the land, to stories of the Right Hand of God and older Legends telling of the Blood soaked hands of the Red Brach Knights and Conall Cernach putting a blood stained image on his standard as he avenged Cu Chulainn s death.

Rathcooles famous Landmark, the four tower blocks support the mural, paying tribute to our local community and their place in History, It is emblazoned with Dalaradias motto, “ Respect , Heritage, Culture” , representing our spirit of a common identity of inclusiveness and diversity as a way of transition from a troubled past to a peaceful shared future.”

William Strain & Lightbody Memorial Flute Band Parade

This Saturday afternoon The William Strain & Lightbody Memorial Flute Band will be hosting their annual parade through the Co Down town of Newtownards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year is a special for the host band as they celebrate their 20th Anniversary.

The parade will begin at 2pm Car Park Circular Road and will take the following route round the town :

Car Park Circular Road
Circular Road
South Street
Court Street
Old Cross Street
Higy Street
Mill Street
JohnStreet
Donard Avenue
Windsor Avenue
Rathmullan Drive
Lisbane Drive
Circular Road
Circular Road Car Park

All most welcome.

Book review at the Whitehouse

Yesterday evening our group had the pleasure of a book review from our Patron Dr Ian Adamson from his recent release – A Journey to the Immortal Isles, Immram Brain maic Febail – the Voyage of Bran, Son of Febal.

 

 

 

 

 

The event took place at the White House, a location that perfectly reflected on the story given its history. The White House, which has recently been restored, has nestled on the Northern Shore of Belfast Lough for over 400 years.

It tells both the story of the Williamite and Jacobite Wars from a European perspective and the story of this historic building’s past right up to the present day. The building itself dates back to the 1500s but the most famous story associated with it is in 1690 when William of Orange landed at Carrickfergus on the 14th June. William’s army landed at the ancient quay near the White House and William rode from Carrickfergus where he met with General Schomberg and other people of note.

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately it fell into disrepair in the 1800s then later used as a gospel hall until 1997. It has now been restored and preserved and has been transformed into a beautiful and informative visitor centre. Through a range of colourful displays including artefacts, images and interactives, you can explore both the past and present of this unique historical site.

A very enjoyable night and many thanks to Ian, as always, you could hear a pin drop during his ever popular and enthusiastic story telling. To get a copy of the book – please visit http://www.colourpointbooks.co.uk/more_details.php?id=1950

A Journey to the Immortal Isles, Immram Brain maic Febail – the Voyage of Bran, Son of Febal.

Yesterday our group attended the launch of Dr Ian Adamsons latest book – A Journey to the Immortal Isles, Immram Brain maic Febail – the Voyage of Bran, Son of Febal.

 

 

The book was launched by Councillor Robert Adair, Mayor of Ards and North Down on Tuesday 29th May 2018, in Bangor Castle, close to where the story was first written.

In attendance were Wesley Hutchinson, Professor Emeritus of Irish Studies at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3, representatives of the Ulidia Project, The Three Kingdoms of Ulidia Historical Groups, our own group, Dalriada and Dal Fiatach, the Ullans Academy, the Ballyhalbert Community Association and several local community groups.

Thanking the Mayor for his support, Helen Brooker of Pretani Associates said: “It gives me great pleasure in following up our interest in the Common Gaelic tongue. I hope that it will provide a means whereby the common traditions of Gaelic in Ulster, Scotland and the rest of Ireland will achieve more acceptance throughout the community at large, as well as increasing knowledge of the older Pretanic (Ancient British) and Brittonic (Old British) traditions which preceded them.

 

 

 

 

This book is sponsored by Pretani Associates, Consultants in Common Identity, and forms part of the Pretani Education Programme, promoting one cultural narrative for the British Isles to which all can belong. Copies of the book will provide an educational resource for voluntary groups throughout the whole community”.

The book, possibly written in the eighth century and not later than the ninth, tells the story of Bran’s adventure to the Otherworld. It is a beautiful half-Pagan and half-Christian tale, which still has resonance today in the works of such authors as J.R,R Tolkien and C.S.Lewis.

Dr Adamson, already known for his books The Cruthin, Bangor, Light of the World and Dalaradia, Kingdom of the Cruthin, traces the Pretanic, Brittonic and finally Gaelic traditions of Bangor, Co Down, the cradle of Irish literature, and demonstrates its universal theme in the search for Paradise.

For your copy, click the following link –
http://www.colourpointbooks.co.uk/more_details.php?id=1950

Why is a mural by a famous Northern Ireland artist allowed to gather dust in an Ulster Museum?

https://amp.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/nelson-mccausland/why-is-a-mural-by-a-famous-northern-ireland-artist-allowed-to-gather-dust-in-an-ulster-museum-35068556.html

 

Iconic piece: William Conor’s painting entitled Ulster Past and Present

In 1931, Sir Robert Baird, owner of the Belfast Telegraph, commissioned the Belfast-born artist William Conor to paint a mural entitled Ulster Past and Present.

It was a large painting that measured 24ft in width by 9ft in height and it depicted a scene from ancient Ulster, with a line of warriors marching towards a dolmen and then, beyond that, a scene of Belfast shipyardmen and shawlies walking home from the shipyard and the factories.

Sir Robert then presented the painting to the Belfast Municipal Museum and Art Gallery, which had opened at Stranmillis in 1929.

It was exhibited in the museum for many decades and was readily accessible to visitors as a visual representation of our ancient past and what was then our industrial present.

It was simple, accessible and beautiful — and it was enjoyed by generations of visitors to the museum.

However, the Ulster Museum closed from 2006 to 2009 for redevelopment and, when it reopened in October 2009, the Conor mural had been removed from display. Today, it is wrapped up and in storage somewhere.

Until its removal, I had enjoyed seeing the painting when I visited the museum, partly because of the skill of the artist and partly because of the subject.

But it was only recently that I discovered it had been commissioned and donated to the museum by a Belfast businessman.

I am sure that Sir Robert did not commission and donate the painting in order for it to be locked away in a store room, but presumably that is where it is.

Baird was a philanthropist as well as a businessman and philanthropic giving to the arts is something we want to encourage, so what sort of message does it send out to potential philanthropists when this is how their philanthropy may well be treated?

We also want to improve access to the arts among ordinary folk and particularly “hard-to-reach” communities.

Well, then, don’t remove the things that are most popular and works by Ulster artists such as Conor and John Luke are very popular.

The Ulster Museum knows that and its shop stocks prints of some of their paintings.

It even stocks postcards, bookmarks and fridge magnets with John Luke paintings on them and that is fine.

But I don’t go to an art gallery to view fridge magnets — I go there to see paintings and sculptures.

In her book on Art in Belfast, Eileen Black observes that: “Work by almost all of (these artists) are to be found in the premier public art collection in Northern Ireland, that in the Ulster Museum.”

Well, they may be in the collection and they are, but they are not very public when a visitor to the gallery doesn’t see any of them.

I visit the Ulster Museum regularly and I called in the other day to see a number of exhibits, but there was no sign of the impressive mural that Sir Robert Baird had donated to the museum. It must still be in storage.

Indeed, there seemed to be nothing by William Conor on display at the national museum in his home city. I left disappointed.

However, as I was walked down the main stairs and made my way to the entrance, I was confronted by a large, white wall that had nothing on it.

It would be ideal to accommodate the Conor mural, but the designers of the displays preferred to leave it blank and I just cannot understand it.

It would be ideal to accommodate the Conor mural, but the designers of the displays preferred to leave it blank and I just cannot understand it.

What better location could there be  for a large mural entitled Ulster Past and Present?

Oh, and what was the ideology, or philosophy, that led to it being removed in the first place?

I have referred to the Conor mural, but whatever happened to the Ulster Portrait Collection that was once a feature of the gallery?

Many of the paintings in that were collection were also donated to the old Belfast Museum and Art Gallery.