The Duke of Wellington, Dean Swift, Sir
John Soane, Sir James Murray: these are just a few of
the people that you would think had no connection with
Belfast but read on:
The Duke of Wellington :
Did you ever wonder why there are so many references
to the Duke in Belfast e.g Wellington Place, Wellesley
Avenue etc (Wellesley was the duke's surname. The duke's
mother lived for a time in Belfast at Anna's Dale (present
day Annadale and site of Wellington College). The duke
spent part of his childhood in Belfast.
Dean Swift :
Jonathan Swift was a minister at Kilroot*
and he courted the daughter of a Mr Waring who owned
a tannery in Waring Street. Swift referred to Waring's
daughter, Jayne, as "Varina". Unfortunately
she spurned his advances. Swift was supposed to have
got the idea of the giants in "Gullivers Travels"
from the profile of the Cavehill at Napolean's Nose.
If you look at it at an angle of 90 degrees it looks
like a giant asleep. There is also an area on the York
road near the old Midland Hotel called "Lilliput
Farm"(see the Belfast Rental Books 1850 The Encumbered
* Swift's little cottage at Kilroot
survived from the 17th century up until the 1960s when
unfortunately it was demolished.
Sir John Soane :
Did you know that the man who designed the Bank of England
also designed that fine school "INST" (foundation
stone laid in 1810 and opened in 1814). He provided
his services free of charge and the original plan was
for a building twice what you see today but it had to
be curtailed due to lack of finance.
This need for finance also lead to the lease of land
for the building of the "Tech" opened in 1907.
Sir James Murray:
Jury's Hotel is situated in Murray St (just beside "INST")
and the street is named after Sir James Murray, who
had houses built on the site in the 19th century. He
is famous because he is the inventor of "Milk of
The Marquis of Anglesley (the Lord Lieutenant) on a
visit to Belfast to see his friend the Marquis of Donegall,
came down with a stomach ailment. James Murray, a local
apothocary, was called in. Murray had been experimenting
with liquid magnesium and came up with what is known
today as "Milk of Magnesia", which cured the
Marquis's ailment. Murray moved to Dublin and became
apothocary to the Lord Lieutenant. His two sons are
buried in Clifton St. graveyard but he is buried in
This is just a flavour of some of those famous people
that you wouldn't have thought had any connection with
NI Native - Apr '07
How good to see these worthy people being rcognised.
Very interesting reading.Also enjoyed the 'N.I. HALL
OF FAME. '
Raita Johnson-Outinen - Feb '07
There area couple of sentences from my book
about my life with Ray Charles. I wonder how they got
on this site, since I myself have never visited the
site before. Of course I`m flattered to be mentioned,
I love Belfast and know so much more of it today. But.
I never sent my regards to the other readers.Somebody
must think she is me.! Now I do send my best to all
visiting this interesting site.
Raita Johnson-Outinen - January '07
There is a couple of sentences from my book about my
life with Ray Charles. I wonder how they got on this
site, since I myself have never visited the site before.
Of course I`m flattered to be mentioned, I love Belfast
and know so much more of it today.But. I never sent my
regards to the other readers.Somebody must think she
is me.!Now I do send my best to all visiting this interesting
Gerri Moaratty - Oct '06
Thank you for such interesting reading of my "ole"
home town I still miss after 38yrs what happened to
that Tannery on Waring St do you have that info, I
think my grandfather may have worked there.
Irene and Brian - Oct' 06
Lovely reading all the comments, I still get very home
sick for the old place being a visitor is not quite
the same maybe one day, I will go home for good.
Raymond O'Regan - July '06
FAO Raita Johnson
The title of this piece refers to olde Belfast. Of course
Van [Ivan] Morrisson would be included in modern day
famous sons of Belfast. I was involved in a little book
entitled "Celebrated Citizens of Belfast"
(Appletree Press) where you will find Van and many other
Rita(Raita) Johnson - July '06
Hello! When I arrived in Dublin, Ireland in the mid-sixties,
all I knew about Ireland was James Joyce and Van Morrison.(My
boyfirned was making a movie there:Ballad in Blue)
Now as I read the history of Belfast, I can not find
Van Morrison, and I wonder why. Isn´t he part
of it at all? He was born in Belfat, 1945, and is probably
the best know Irishman all over the world at this time.
Why have you forgotten him? Regards, Rita Johnson
Joyce Kernohan - June '06
You mention Dean Swifts little round house at Kilroot,
this was not demolished but burnt by vandals I believe.
Irene - July '05
Its great to read the history of the city. Can you tell
me anything about Murrays Tobacco Works? Interested
in hearing from you. Regards. Irene.
I find it fascinating to find that milk of magnesia
is related to murray street, i know that street so well
having stood there many a night waiting to get into
the A.B.C. PICTURE HOUSE in the 70's. POWERFUL!