Belfast – The Movie!


I needed a day or two to take in the motion picture about my home town. I understand many movies have featured cities around the world, but Belfast has never been one of them. I remember many years ago going to see “Odd Man Out” starring James Mason. He portrayed a IRA convict just released from prison. The movie appeared to take place in Belfast but was actually filmed in Dublin. Belfast the movie was indeed filmed in my home town. It brought back memories both good and bad. I left the city in 1967 when the troubles were brewing with Bernadette Devlin and Ian Paisley. I remember the hard men about the town telling people “you are either with us or you are against us. It was frightening and dangerous and impossible to pretend. Like the little girl said in the film, you can tell what they are by their names. She was absolutely correct, no Protestant would ever call a son Joseph and alternatively no Catholic would call a son William. Growing up, I live on Ewarts Row, a mixed street, but we had little or no contact with our Catholic neighbours. We move to Thames Street, another mixed Street. However, we were now in the minority, our street was located on the strongly Catholic Falls road.
Always we had to be careful what we wore, colours were important, red white and blue or green white and gold. Lapel pins too, the football team pin you supported or a cross. Protestant girls never wore a crucifix Catholic girls mostly did. This was a purposeful way to identify the girls, for a protestant boy to chat up a Catholic girl was not going to result in a date. I dated one or two RC girls but we were asking for trouble if the girls father found out. It was impossible to walk your girl home, I would be in a Catholic area and if spotted probably be in for a beating. There were many good things about Belfast. The corner chippy, Fish and chips were the very best. The busy Saturday night pubs, where Salvation Army lady’s would rattle their collect cans until customers drop a coin in, just to get rid of them. The wonderful old picture houses with their colourful lights under the canopies. Seven pence in the pit, one shilling back stalls and one and six in the balcony. In the film the grandfather tell the boy to alter how he writes the numbers in his exam, make them difficult to read, then the teacher might give you the benefit of the doubt. My own uncle once told my cousin who had the bottom mark on his exam paper, turn it upside down son and you will be top. I believe that most people in Belfast, indeed in Ulster can live in harmony with one another. Its the fanatically elements that cause the sectarian troubles, the ones who lack knowledge of our Irish history. These people call themselves British, deny their actual heritage. I have always considered myself Irish and proud of the privilege of my birthright. I did enjoy this motion picture but must confess I felt a great sadness and suffered a bout of home sickness. I truth the dirty old town as it was affectionately known, brought tears to my eyes.
God Bless and may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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2 Responses to Belfast – The Movie!

  1. Nancy Brown Supler says:

    Really good story. I think all of northern Ireland is beautiful…

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