Reading My Way Around the World

Saturday 27 January 2024

Monument to the Unknown Women Workers

Up in Belfast a while back there was time for a proper look at this bronze sculpture outside the train station.  It is by Louise Walsh and was put up in 1992 beside the Europa Hotel.

The Monument to the Unknown Women Workers apparently had a lot of controversy around it  - I always thought it was a tribute to the Millies - Belfast was built on the mills and all the women who worked there - Belfast girls are still - called Millies - but apparently this was intended to be a tribute to the ladies of the night who congregated at Amelia Street across the road, but the artist decided that a wider tribute to the unpaid women workers was more appropriate and the original planners decided against it.  

The Crown Bar beside Amelia Street, the former red light district of Belfast
The statue stands across the road from the Crown Bar, one of Belfast's most iconic places of interest - an original gin palace which still serves great food.   Inside, the bar is laid out in booths which would have been used by the ladies who congregated in Amelia Street on the corner. 
One of the women is an office worker with quotes about equal pay and various office acroutements attached to her

The second is a mother with the trappings of motherhood, babyhood and the home. 

There's a real mixed bag of comments on Trip Advisor which, apart from Wikipedia,  was the only place I could find any information about this - some people thought they were ugly and in the wrong place.

I think they're fabulous. 

The sculpture was commissioned in the late 80s by the Department of the Environment and after it was dropped a private client recommissioned it in 1992.

Tuesday 9 January 2024

A new year, a new home

Like the twisted trunk of this old tree Tom and I have re rooted ourselves and moved West to my old home house on the borders of Co. Fermanagh and Co. Donegal - we're a few miles from the Atlantic and in the county full of lakes, bogland and wide open spaces.  

It's been a huge move emotionally and spiritually, totally apart from the physical upheaval.  We were in our last house for 20 years and in that town for 30.  There's a story I heard once

,  that when a gypsy dies the rest of the tribe burn their caravan and all its contents.   That's what I'm going to do if I ever have to move house again - OMG!!!!  I'm sure you've all been through it at some point in your lives - where does all the stuff come from!   We're here now 4 months and there's still things I can't find.   I think that's the hardest part of moving - we lose the familiar - the things you knew exactly where to find them, the shops to go to to get a certain item, the friends to call for a coffee when you're bored or need a break.   

And yet there's a lot that's familiar here - people I went to primary school with still live along the road and have been very kind both to my mother when she was alive and to us as we settle in.   I remember faces although I can't always put a name to them yet, and down the years of spending holidays with mum we have kept a foot in this camp which is making the transition a lot easier.  

Some brave souls going for a New Year's Dip on Lough Erne.  

So it's time now to get back into some old rhythms.  I"m back to tour planning and have started work on a very long overdue songbook and I hope to start doing the occasional blog again.    Tom is enjoying doing renovations to the house and we're both enjoying not driving anywhere for a while - the 210 mile round trip that we were doing sometimes twice a week in the last months of Mum's life, we are definitely not missing those.   And the new will become familiar in time.   

I hope you are all well - although I've not been posting, I have been popping in from time to time to read your blogs and catch up with you.   

Mostly our lives have been led on Facebook and YouTube so if you fancy popping in there to say hello I'll be glad to see you.   

Happy New Year - may this one bring a little bit of peace to the world.