I went out of my way today to call into Clonard Monastery to receive my Ash Wednesday ashes and afterwards I went round to Bombay Street,where I was born and reared until I was a teenager in August 1969.
This was only the second time that I have revisited Bombay Street since August 1969 and I hardly recognised the street as well as Kane Street,Clonard Gardens,Kashmir Road and Cupar Street so great have the changes been.
Two things brought a lump to my throat. Firstly,.my old primary school,St.Galls,now long gone but ,thankfully,it's name has been retained in the new streets which replaced it and,secondly,the peace walls that surround Bombay Street now.
As I came away,I could not stop myself from wondering if those walls will ever be removed in my lifetime?
Judging how they attacked St Matthews last night Joe sadly I don't thnk even my grandchild will see those walls come down.
Hi! Joe: I too have fond memories of Bombay Street. My aunt Minnie Teer (a widow) raised her three children there. (Mary, James and Josaphine). I lived in the Whiterock but I spent a lot of time in Bombay St. with my aunt Minnie in the fifties. She was a wonderful woman and very good to us kids.I moved to California in 1960, but I got in touch with my cousin Mary a few years ago when I went back to Belfast for a visit. I phone her a couple of times a year. She lives in Ballymurphy. Good people lived in Bombay St.It's devestating what happened to their homes and lives.
Good luck to you.
I clearly remember Jimmy Teer who lived in Bombay Street in the 1960s or thereabouts,his next door neighbour would have been a wee man called Alec Mullan who loved a bet on the horses every day and Willie L'Estrange would possibly have been his next door neighbour on the other side.
I don't know if you remember them or not but,either way,thank you for your good wishes.
Hi! Joe: I didn't know any of the neighbours in Bombay St. or maybe I just don't remember. Jimmy Teer is still alive, I spoke to him on the phone from my cousin Mary's house in Ballymurphy a few years ago on one of my visits home, He lives outside of Belfast.
I have just noticed a very interesting statistic namely that,since 2006 to the present day,the number of peace walls in Northern Ireland has actually INCREASED from 37 to 48.
A sad statistic.
There were some very poignant images of Bombay Street taken in 69 and only shown publicly in the Red Barn Gallery at Rosemary Street about 2 years ago - saw pictures of my ex wife and her da (the other Joe Graham, his wife Agnes and some of the other kids) I think the Red Barn people will know how to view these pictures.
I went to see that photographic exhibition by Red Barn Gallery in 2009,those photographs brought back some desperately sad memories to me.
You might be interested to know that the man responsible for taking those photographs, Gerry Collins,was present that day at the exhibition and Gerry has published a book called "Bombay Street,taken from the ashes" showing these photos.
If you could let me know where I could buy a copy of the book I would be much obliged - I know a wee girl that would love to have it - I have no doubt the whole experience was very traumatic for everyone who lived there. Sad but proud I would think you are.
Red Barn Gallery.,43b Rosemary Street,Belfast.
Tel.0782 1260 883.
I note that Clonard Monastery is having its official re-opening this coming Sunday 25th March following all the improvements that have been carried out in the past year or so.
I am sure that many viewers of this site will have fond memories of Clonard.
It's nice to hear the comments about Bombay Street. I was born there and Minnie Teer was my grandmother. Joe
Hi! Joe: I believe you might be my cousin Mary's son. (R.I.P. Mary.) I live in California and have met all your sisters etc.
Hi Margaret Sadly now Mary has passed away. I am Josephine's son and I see my mother regularly. Joe
I visited Clonard recently after not having seen it for 30 years, I can't get over the changes . Sadly except for the Monastery you would hardly recognise the place.