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.
Gladys is a Research Fellow in the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast. She also blogs on religion and politics at www.gladysganiel.com