BelfastHistory.org Goes Online

With stories ranging from pubs bottling their own Guinness, to Belfast street games, to making a splash at the Falls Baths, a new local history website has gone online.

BelfastHistory.org, created by web developer Brian O’Neill, is a non-profit, community-orientated history website where people are invited to share their own stories, reflections, and articles about any period of Belfast’s past.

So far, the site has attracted entries from the likes of historian Philip Orr, author of The Road to the Somme: Men of the Ulster Division Tell Their Story, as well as members of local historical societies.

To be fair – I must declare an interest in the site. I’m married to Brian O’Neill and I wrote the site’s editorial policy:

“Belfast History welcomes submissions from members of the public, as well as historians, about all aspects of history in Belfast – social, cultural, political, religious, sporting, etc. This is a not-for-profit site, run by volunteers, so we cannot offer any payment for submissions. We are happy to allow local authors to promote their books and publications on our site.

Our editorial team will carefully consider each submission and evaluate its quality and relevance to the site. We want people from all of our community to feel welcome on the site, so we will not accept submissions that we feel are written in a polemical way, i.e. that promote divisive political agendas or that could be construed as sectarian. Of course we recognise Belfast’s at times conflicted past, and we will not shy away from these aspects of our history on this site. But all submissions dealing with conflict or sectarianism must conform to the highest standards of historical accuracy and any arguments made must be backed by strong empirical evidence.”

It’s our hope that the site can open up new perspectives on Belfast’s past, foster connections among history buffs, and reveal some our city’s best-kept secrets.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Gladys, looks like it has the makings of a good website, maintaining the balance will be difficult, my personal advice is have a cut of point that excludes the recent trouble, say 50 years ago? or if covering that period it has to be extremly well managed, I personally would find it impossible to be anyway objective, whereas earlier history allows for a bit more detatchment.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, and being open about your interest in it!

  • fordprefect

    Gladys,
    That looks like a brilliant site. I was looking through it earlier. There’s a guy called Jim O’Hagan that you might like to get in touch with, because he is an absolute authority on the history of Belfast. I tried to send you a few stories and pics about the area I was born and raised in, but I found it very difficult doing it (the area I live in is one of, if not, the oldest in Belfast). In my area we are almost finished setting up our own website about the history of our area and we have hundreds of stories and thousands of pics! I don’t think there would be any problems if I sent you pics and stories from here, but, I’d have to talk to our committee first. Best of luck with the site. I have Jim O’Hagan’s phone number and (obviously) my e-mail, but I can’t and won’t put them on public view, if you can find a way to get in touch with me I will happily oblige (as long as Jim agrees, which I have no doubt he will, as like me he is a history buff, although, his knowledge of Belfast and beyond is light years ahead of mine!)

  • fordprefect

    Drumlins,
    How can you exclude our recent history? Do you mean just paper over what happened in the north and Belfast for the last 50 years? We can’t do that, it is part and parcel of what happened. A lot of the thousands of pics that I have, have the British Army and the RUC in them when they were raiding houses and arresting people in this area, now, if you are interested in the architecture around and behind them, fine! If you are just interested in the pics showing people getting arrested and abused, fine! If like me you are interested in both, fine! I am personally interested in ALL the pics, I have pics from the 19th century, right up until the present day. Personally, I don’t care whether they show the British Army or RUC in “Loyalist” or “Republican” areas.

  • fordprefect

    Gladys,
    If you don’t mind, would you give your e-mail address out on here? I’ve tried to get in touch with the Belfast History website hosts and it failed.

  • leftofcentre

    @fordprefect sorry for the delay, i just noticed your comment.

    The address: info@belfasthistory.org should work, but if not also try: brian@freshideas.ie

    Thanks