Belfast & Northern Ireland

Ulster History Circle: Local legends on a wall

more than a year ago
We're quite proud of our famous brothers and sisters who've found fame and fortune throughout the world and placed NI on the global stage. You've heard us mentioning Van Morrison, boasting about George Best and waxing lyrical about Liam Neeson but if you think our list of homegrown celebrities ends there, you're very much mistaken.

The Ulster History Circle is a non-profit organisation that celebrates the nine counties' contribution to history, both locally and internationally. Blue commemorative plaques honour our illustrious kin and keep our history alive to be shared with visitors and future generations.

If you fancy indulging in a bit of blue plaque spotting, here are four big name discs to get you started.

James Young
Actor and comedian
Location of plaque: Young's family home - 26 Fernwood St, Ormeau Rd, Belfast

James Young, or 'Our Jimmy' as he's affectionately known to fans, is one of Belfast's most celebrated local celebrities. A fine character actor and talented comedian, Young seemed to unite Catholics and Protestants at the height of the troubles in the 1960s and 1970s with his unique brand of comedy.

Oscar Wilde
Writer, poet and playwright
Location of plaque:
Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
Probably Ireland's most famous and critically-acclaimed artist, Wilde is celebrated throughout the world as one of the finest writers of all time. In 1864 Wilde attended the Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, where he excelled in classic literature, and went on to study at Trinity College Dublin and Oxford University. He went on to compose classics such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest.

C.S. Lewis
Author and critic
Location of plaque:
There are two East Belfast plaques, one on the site of Lewis' birth house in Dundela Ave and the other at his childhood home of 'Little Lea' on Circular Rd.
Author of The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis is quite possibly Belfast's most famous and internationally celebrated son. He captured the imagination of children and adults with his epic tale of the Pevensie children and their discovery of a magic wardrobe that leads to the land of Narnia. 'Little Lea' is reported to be the original location of the magic wardrobe. Although the house is in private ownership and not open to the public, just basking in its presence is worth the visit.

Chaim Herzog
President of Israel
Location of plaque: 185 Clifton Park Avenue, Belfast, Herzog's birth house

NI may be famous for its links with US presidents but it's a little known fact that Israeli president Chaim Herzog was born here in Belfast. Herzog's father, Dr Isaac Herzog, was a rabbi and, when he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Ireland, the Herzog family moved to Dublin. In 1935, the Herzogs upped sticks again, this time to Palestine and, after studying law and joining the British army in WWII, young Chaim carved out a long and established career in the Israeli forces. Herzog, eternally proud of his Irish roots, visited his birth house in Belfast shortly before his death in 1997 and, it has to be said, we're extremely proud to call him one of our own.


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