‘Ginger’ RIP

Well Done Fillet notes the passing of a true Belfast character, renowned street-drinker Gerry ‘Ginger’ Glennon.

While my interaction with him didn’t get beyond giving him change or occasionally crossing the road to avoid him, Belfast seems just a little duller tonight for his passing.

Some memories of the man legend over on the Alternative Ulster forum. More tributes on FastFude and a Bebo page created for him.

  • gaelgannaire

    Ginger Beard RIP.

    A gent in many ways, Former Lifer BTW, but and he would drink on totally non sectarian lines.

    Belfast has lost some colour, pity he never got into the victoria centre I say.

  • fair_deal

    First met him when I came to Belfast to go to Queen’s and I was usually good for some change. My second night out in Belfast he tried to sell me the pyjamas and slippers he’d been given from a recent hospital visit.

    Last time I saw him was at Sandy Row’s Eleventh night bonfire a couple of years back. I gave him a can of beer.

    My sympathies to his family.

  • cut the bull

    I met him many years ago in the grounds of thecollege of Art in York St. Although he was probably far more street wise than most. He remained a humble and afable character and unlike some would have bid any one the time of day.

    Maybe people would do well to take a leaf from Gerry’s book. Sad to see hom bow out Rest in peace (Ginger Tom)fella

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mark,

    I never knew his name but when you mentioned it I knew immediately who you were talking about. I heard that the poor chap had hepetitis, and he would threaten to spit blood at people, hence the need for surgical gloves and a brush when “handling” him. Poor guy, he was obviously a card or two short of a full deck.

    fair_deal:

    Last time I saw him was at Sandy Row’s Eleventh night bonfire a couple of years back.

    Are youse the fuckers who light the bonfire in front of Linfield Industrial Estate, completely destroying the road surface ?

  • fair_deal

    CS

    In the year to which I am referring the bonfire was on a waste ground site not on a road. Also as a person well beyond their teenage years you can imagine that bonfire collection and construction is hardly a major feature in my life (I can just imagine the wife’s face if I suggested it).

  • Dec

    My other half used to work in a hostel where Gerry resided (Saying “Thank you, officers” every time the police ferried him ‘home’). As far as I am aware he was only in his early 40s. I do, however, find the ‘great character’ mythologising rather nauseous: he was somebody’s son/brother whose life was destroyed by drink.

  • Dec

    ‘Nauseous’ (and I should have written ‘nauseating’) was too strong in the post above as I realise people are expressing genuine affection. I am just a bit uncomfortable celebrating in death, someone who we generally crossed the road to avoid in life.

  • Moochin Photoman

    RIP

    Here he is in Sept last year

    I always found him to be very affable unlike some of the other fellas.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Also as a person well beyond their teenage years you can imagine that bonfire collection and construction is hardly a major feature in my life (I can just imagine the wife’s face if I suggested it).

    Obviously the wives of the fully grown adults I saw building it feel differently. This bonfire was the size of a house and it was right in front of the gates of Linfield Industrial Est. I assumed that was the main Sandy Row bonfire.

  • Dec

    Obviously the wives of the fully grown adults I saw building it feel differently.

    Presumably they’re receiving some sort of government grant for it.

  • Quagmire

    RIP Gerry Boke Beard! An absolute legend!

  • Photoman-

    Where were those photos taken?

  • Moochin Photoman

    Next to St Georges Church corner of High St and Victoria St

  • Ah yes, I knew I recognised the setting but couldn’t place it.

    By the way, does anyone know what ever became of Lofty Larkin?

  • McGrath

    Posted by Dec on Mar 05, 2008 @ 09:38 PM
    RIP

    Northern Ireland is a forgiving society, especially when the subject at hand no longer requires forgiveness.

    I’m sure the staff at the City Hospital have mixed feelings.

  • moochin photoman
  • At a gig last night a couple of songs were dedicated to the guy. Only encountered him once or twice when he came into the shop where I worked and he was severely disorientated (from what he said he seemed to believe he was in Newry, not Belfast). It was very sad and a little frightening if I’m honest (I’m glad I wasn’t aware at the time he had hepatitis).

    I was also unaware until later that he was such a local celebrity.

    It’s a shame to see anyone end up that way.

  • cut the bull

    Here he is in Sept last year

    I always found him to be very affable unlike some of the other fellas.

    Posted by Moochin Photoman on Mar 05, 2008 @ 09:48 PM

    Moochin photoman
    Talk about a small world Iwas walking past you going towards High St when you took that photo and I remember the wee man chanching his arm shouting that you should be paying them for allowing you to take their photograph.

  • DM

    Sympathies to his family. It really is tragic to see people end up in that condition.

  • Moochin Photoman

    cut the ball

    if you saw that then you saw me deal with yer man with alacrity and style ( as i ran up the road!!)
    Should be interesting to see what sort f send of Gerry gets tomorrow.

  • Turgon

    This unfortunate gentleman seem to have resided in a strange place within Northern Irish (and maybe other societies). A semi celebrity and recipient of betimes opprobrium at others pity, sometimes condescending and sometimes not.

    In a way he also illustrates our Janus-headed attitude to alcohol. We find it and drunkenness amusing at one level, unacceptable when it becomes a problem and then when it totally destroys a person to the extent of them becoming a tramp it almost becomes acceptable again.

    I mean this in no way as a criticism of the people who posted who I am sure are sincere but it is odd the way we view alcohol. That it destroyed a man’s life and probably severely shortened it is very sad.

  • George

    Turgon,
    “when it totally destroys a person to the extent of them becoming a tramp it almost becomes acceptable again.”

    Maybe it’s the tramp that’s acceptable. As Sheridan said: Only tramps and children are truly free.

  • Mark McGregor

    I’m still trying to work out why Gerry’s death, which was surely caused by alcohol abuse, caused me to blog on him or why it attracted so much comment across many arenas.

    The affable or colourful drunk is a much loved regular feature in Irish society both contempory and historical – George Best being a recent example, a man that abused the gift of a liver and possibly denied life to another remembered with great fondness regardless of what his addiction lead to.

    Now, clearly Gerry didn’t have a great gift like George (one long gone by his death) but for me he added a touch of colour and humour to life often missing from our mundane routine with very little real negative impact on the lives of others (excluding his family circle) and for someone clearly in the depths of addiction that is an achievement of note.

    He may have been on the bottom rung of society but not many of those commenting who came across him have felt anything other than sadness at his passing, sadness at the ending of a life of someone on the margins and a regret that a man of colour and individuality is gone.

    So why did I feel the need to blog?

    Because he was the drinking man’s George Best. Is that a reason?

  • Paul McMahon

    Sorry to rain on the lovefest here folks but Gerry Glennon was a couple of years above me at school and I very clearly remember him around the top of the Whiterock Rd as I was growing up. The guy always used his considerable bulk to bully, intimidate and harass. The experience of my formative years led me to cross to the other side of the road on the, [thankfully], rare occasions that I saw him in town.

    Having said that he was indeed someones son, [and brother], and it’s an awful pity to see anyones life racked to such a degree by alcohol. I hope that he has at last found peace.

    A Belfast legend he may have been but not a particularly good one from my memory.

  • G.P Jeannon

    Was a photograph of him, on the back of a St Vitus Dance Lp back in the day?

  • cut the bull

    Moochin Photoman

    You delt with the situation like a true champion, a sprinting champion. Fair play to you

  • Paul McMahon

    Maybe CTB could compose one of his irreverent Slugger classics regarding the aforementioned person?

  • Moochin Photoman

    Yesteday some of the fellas from fastfude were there to pay their respects as were some of Gerry’s drinking companions

  • That’s right Gilbert. It’s sad that he’s passed on. Now he’ll just keep his silence to himself. The photo with the shop Options in the background on the back of the vinyl LP 1n 1987 featured as the front cover when Love Me Love my Dogma was re-released in 2005 on cd.