When’s a hill not a hill? When it’s a noticeboard!!

Belfast: Divis Mountain,Black Mountain, Sliabh Dubh

divis mountain

the highest of the distinctive peaks of the Belfast Hills.

It hosts a rich variety of grasslands, bogs and wildlife.

The 1,275ft slope is enjoyed by scores of walkers getting a taste of the countryside and stunning views not far from the city centre.
It is also  a  natural giant noticeboard.
an al dearg
The field on the front of the mountain where the slogans appear is known as the Hatchet Field and it’s visible from across the city.
Hatchet Field History:
1753, The year of “The Hatchet Field Murders”. On 13th February at his home

cattle drover

a cattle drover, William Cole, his daughter and a woman visitor to the house were all found brutally murdered.Apparently they had been slain with  hatchet


Whoever carried out the brutal murders never stole any valuables and on their way out set fire to the house. No one was ever brought to task for the murders and locals put it down to a jealousy crime, or scorned love. The newspapers made no reference whatsoever to Cole’s wife, and so it has remained a mystery from that day, so much so that it spawned a local expression, if a thing perplexed someone they’d retort, “It’s as secret as Cole’s Murder”, as for how the Field took on the shape of a Hatchet. that too is a mystery!

private property

The National Trust and the Belfast Hills Partnership have slammed the signs, but said they were powerless to remove them because Hatchet Field is privately owned.
end internment
Mountain warden Dermot McCann said he receives scores of complaints about the signs – including from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) – demanding their removal, but he can do nothing as they are not on National Trust land.
So who’s behind them?
gael force art

Here’s an introduction to their murals

Meet one of the artists who explains how they moved onto something else

One of their first projects that came to international notice

That message sparked violence when a mob of loyalists ascended the Hatchet Field and tried to remove the sign. At least one person was taken to hospital with injuries after rival factions clashed on the mountain
Here’s how Margaret Thatcher joined Cromwell in the collective memory –  and both are lost in the mists of time

Gael Force Art asked for people take a moment to reflect on who and what the G8 are and to take the time to understand the pain and suffering that they have inflicted onto Billions of our fellow man.

Here are some of their latest messages

time for truth


brits out
And finally have a look at the landscape art that well-known progressive, avant-garde thinker, North Belfast DUP MLA


William Humphrey

Member, Orange Institution. 

Member, Royal Black Institution. 

branded the sign not just a blot on the landscape, but another backward-looking message“.
one ireland one vote







5 thoughts on “When’s a hill not a hill? When it’s a noticeboard!!

  1. Pingback: La Montagna Nera – Black Mountain Belfast | da Zêna

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