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Can you help identify these mystery Belfast dockers?

This old snap, seemingly depicting shipyard workers, has been found in a city eatery

By Eddie McIlwaine

Three ordinary blokes paused in their daily routine once upon a time to have their picture taken. And the photograph of the trio who were obviously good friends or workmates is mystifying journalist Mary Preston Silver.

Who are these three men - have they a tale to tell? That's the question Mary has been asking herself since she picked up the battered photo as she sipped a coffee in Maggie May's Restaurant at Botanic Avenue, Belfast, recently.

A yellowing, lonely old snap and obviously in need of a return to its owner who must be desperate for a swift reunion. Was it a special occasion when the shutter clicked or just someone finishing off a roll of film?

You see, one thing is for certain, I can tell Mary - this photo was set up way back in the '50s if the style of dress is anything to go by.

And I have a notion it was taken at Harland & Wolff in the heyday of the Belfast shipyard. That wooden door behind the men looks vaguely familiar. There was a favourite spot where the riveters, the welders, the riggers, the carpenters and even the managers met for a chinwag and even a game of cards in their rest periods.

I believe the lost picture which Mary found is showing off that very place. There was always a birthday, a wedding (even a divorce) or a new babe to celebrate in front of the box camera.

But never mind the reason for the gent in the soft hat, the one in the duncher and the bare-headed fellow posing for the camera, probably in their lunchtime. Mary would sincerely like to return the snap to whosoever dropped it and has been missing it ever since.

Hopefully, the trio had met up in Maggie May's to recall good times and bad together over a meal when this precious picture fluttered to the floor unnoticed. Get in touch with me if the snap belongs to you and I'll link you up with Mary Preston Silver for a happy reunion.

Explore Belfast's stunning hills - from the comfort of your armchair

Always-on-the-go Susan Clements and I have something in common - Carnmoney Hill. We each in our time love walking up to the summit on good days to gaze out over Belfast Lough. And both of us write about this little mountain.

Never mind my mention of the hill where a pirate king once hid his ill-gotten gains, bachelor lady Susan has dwelt at length on the dander up and down the slopes in her book Rambles in the Belfast Hills (Cottage Publications).

And I predict this hardback featuring the hills, rivers and shores around the city will be a Christmas bestseller.

If you aren't a fan of Carnmoney Hill for a stiff walk - how dare you not be - there are other high up places like Divis, Cave Hill and Colin Glen to charm you along with Susan's smashing pictures.

Belfast's active types have waited a long time for this book - I'm glad it has arrived at last.

I've had many magic moments up on the Summit of Carn. I grew up on the hill, camping out with my boyhood pet, Tartar the Cocker Spaniel.

And it was here that, a few years back, I scattered the ashes of my uncle Frank who was a piper and who used to tune up with his mates on their chanters in a spot they called the Piper's Nook.

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