James Connolly Visitor
Centre Opens in Belfast
At a ceremony on Friday, April 19, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins officially opened Áras Uí Chonghaile, the new James Connolly Visitor Centre, providing a new space for discovery, education, study, work, meeting, and socializing on the Falls Road in West Belfast, only yards from where Connolly lived. Connolly, a labor leader, was executed for his part in the 1916 Rising. A James Connolly pageant parade assembled in Conway Mill, processed down Falls Road and arrived at the Visitor Centre, where Higgins then delivered a speech.
Included in the parade were hundreds of Trade Unionists from across Ireland, Britain, and the United States, proudly carrying their union banners. It also featured a brass band, historical period speeches, and women and girls dressed in mill worker costumes.
General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress Frances O’Grady, Mayor of Belfast Deirdre Hargey, and Terry O’Sullivan, the general president of LIUNA, gave speeches. Frances Black and Terry O’Neill gave musical performances. ♦