Archive for the ‘belfast’ Category

The book I read to research this post was The Fall of Dublin by Liz Gillis which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. There was an Irish War of Indepence in 1921 & Michael Collins & several others signed a treaty with Britain which gave Ireland independence but left Northern Ireland under British control. Collins saw it as a stepping stone to achieving independence for all Ireland. Also there would have been full scale war if he hadn’t signed. Collins who would become the president of Ireland would be assassinated the following & many thought he had sold them out. The government in the Dail ratified the treaty by 64 votes to 57 & many of the government walked out. Incidentally there’s an excellent film called Michael Collins which stars Liam Neeson. Anyway many thought the IRA or Irish Army should be independent of the government. The Irish government feared being deposed & so weren’t having any of this. The British when they left allowed the Irish to take over the various barracks regardless whether they were pro or anti treaty everywhere but Dublin. Also the Anti treatyites raided a British ship in Cork & stole a load of weapons & ammo. Something Collins thought the British let happen to destabilize the Irish government. Also because the Antitreatyites weren’t getting paid they robbed some banks & gave them IOU’s. The antitreatyites outnumbered the protreatyites & many people left the Irish Army because they didn’t want to kill fellow Irish men. When the war did kick off it was because the protreatyites arrested an antitreatyite & when the protreatyites sent someone to negotiate he was arrested in retaliation. The antitreatyites had comandeered the Four Courts Hotel which was their headquarters & that’s where most of the fighting took place in Dublin.  In Belfast many catholics were murdered & in Ireland there was a Belfast boycott where they boycotted Belfast goods & services. Anyway back to Dublin the antitreatyites hadn’t got enough sandbags so the bullets passed through there was a chemical plant next door which caught fire. They had to evacuate the wounded & they called a ceasefire for this. A lot of soldiers were injured but not that many were killed in that clash. The protreatyites overwhelmed them but the war spread elsewhere.

The book I read to research this post was The Liffey Ships & Shipbuilding by Pat Sweeney which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. This book is about the shipbuilding industry in Dublin & its history, the Liffey is a river which runs through Dublin. My family on my mums side are from Dublin & while as far as I know none of my family worked in the shipbuilding industry I thought it’d be interesting. The early days of Dublin as a shipbuilding city can be traced back to at least the 17th century making it older than the shipbuilding industry in Belfast which was the world capital of shipbuilding. In 1667 a dubliner designed & built the first catamaran in a small Dublin shipyard & had a race against 3 other boats which he promptly won. He built catamarins for a while until he built one that was 50 feet long that had such poor handling that the crew refused to sail in her after which he lost interest in catamarins. Another dubliner took out a patent for a steamer which used a steam powered wooden to power it but it was no where near as efficient as the later screw propeller. The Dublin shipbuilding industry really took off in the 19th & 20th centuries. It’s interesting that when Ireland became independent Britain still claimed 3 treaty ports until 1938 because Irelands ports were important to the british empire. Not many boatyards lasted very long they would be set up at boom times of shipbuilding but the ships typically lasted approximately 40 years so often they would have to try & get by doing ship repairs. In the first world war the shipbuilding industry boomed due to the huge amount of shipping lost. The british government put the irish shipyards under tremendous pressure to increase production with the prime minister David Lloyd George even writing to some personally. Between 1914 & 1920 the number of shipyards in Britain & Ireland increased by a huge amount. This caused a huge amount of unemployment when the first world war ended & there was a slump & also because Germany had to make reparations she gave the UK a load of her ships. What caused further unemployment for the Dublin shipyards was the british governments decision to have ships built in Belfast regardless of the cost. A dry dock was built was built in Dublin in the 60’s but nowadays most ships are built in the developing world & the last of the Dublin shipyards was filled in, in 2009.

The book I read to research this post was The Titanic for Dummies by Stephen Spignesi which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. When they were building the titanic the older workers used to amuse themselves by telling the younger workers stories about workers who were trapped inside the hull & claimed if you listened carefully you could hear them tapping the inside of the hull. Obviously a complete lie. There’s also a conspiracy theory that the ship that sunk wasn’t the titanic but was one of her sister ships which was already badly damaged & the owners claimed the insurance. According to the author there isn’t a shred of evidence to back up this fanciful story. After the titanic sank her sister ships had to have major upgrades because of the bad publicity which meant that people didn’t want to sail on them because they thought they were unsafe. The titanic lies under 2 miles of water. One thing they have discovered is that the composition of the rivets made them a bit fragile because it was incorrect & this could have resulted in the iceberg doing more damage than it otherwise would have. The lookouts didn’t have binoculars & also there weren’t any on the bow only in the crows nest which probably resulted in them spotting the iceberg too late. Also the titanic was going too fast which was probably because if they got to New York early they would get in the local newspapers giving them free publicity. The titanic was supposedly unsinkable & even though it had insufficient lifeboats many of them were launched half full. They told the passengers it was a precaution & many opted to stop on the ship. Harland & Wolff are currently building a ship which is almost identical to the titanic which will do cruises & there expecting it to be quite popular. Harland & Wolff who built the original titanic were different to other shipyards in that they didn’t just build the hull they also had a mechanical division which built things like the engine. In them days they specialized in ocean liners but mowadays they have expanded into doing things like oil tankers & oil drilling platforms among other things.

The Chronicles of Narnia

Posted: February 5, 2012 in belfast, c s lewis, narnia
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The book I read to research this post was C S Lewis & Narnia for Dummies by Richard Wagner which is an excellent book which I bought from amazon. The initials in C S Lewis stand for Clive Staples but he was nicknamed Jack & preferred that name. He was born in Belfast in 1898 & when his mother died when he was just 10 years old of cancer he was sent to a string of boarding schools. His dad was distraught at her death but eventually agreed to both his sons having a personal tutor at home. This tutor was a good influence especially on Jack & in particular helped develop his debating skills. Jack served in the trenches in World War 1 but got discharged from the army due to getting injured. He then did a degree at Oxford University & then went on to do a masters degree. He got a job as a don which is a teacher who works 1 to 1 with students. He didn’t enjoy teaching he preferred reading although he remained in a teaching capacity for the rest of his life. He went on to become a professor at Cambridge. Most writers stick to one genre but Jack’s work encompasses a wide variety. He even wrote a sci fi trilogy although The Chronicles of Narnia sold more than all his other books put together. Initially they received a mixed response, many thought they were too scary for children & didn’t like the religious symbolism. Lewis claims they weren’t a religious allegory but were influenced by religion. He was very religious & wrote many books on the subject. There are 7 books in the Narnia series & when he wrote the first book had not planned the other books. Jack died on the same day that John F Kennedy was shot, a few weeks short of his 65 th birthday.

The book I read to research this post was Titanic by Anton Gill which is an excellent book and which I got from the library. The titanic which sank on her maiden voyage due to being struck by an iceberg was the largest ship in the world. She had a maximum speed of 23 knots and was built at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in belfast which was the biggest ship building area in the world. In the book it does say it is no wonder the british government didn’t want to let that area become part of ireland at that time because they would have lost too much revenue. The company that owned the titanic was white star and most of their ships were built at harland & wolff. It’s interesting that such was the scale of what went on there that in one year they used 1000 tons of rivets. Incidently the titanic weighed 45,000 tons. As most people know the titanic didn’t have enough life boats for all its passengers and as a result of the sinking it became law that all ships had to have enough life boats to accomodate everyone on board.