Belfast Telegraph

Belfast roads renamed for a week to mark city’s famous females

By Patrice Dougan

Drivers and tourists beware — you may find yourselves getting a little lost in Belfast in coming days as five major roads are given new names.

But don’t worry, it’s only for a week.

Five of the city’s major thoroughfares are set to be given a women’s touch, as they are |renamed after some of Belfast’s most famous women.

Designed to mark the 100th International Women’s Day today, it is hoped the stunt will highlight the important contribution women have made to the city over the years, and how few women are represented in the names of the city’s streets .

So over the coming week many will find the route to their usual haunts take a different look — coffee on the Lisburn Road will now be coffee on Ruby Murray Road, and shopping on Royal Avenue will now be shopping on Mary Anne McCracken Avenue.

No longer will tourists be strolling up the Falls Road to check out the murals, instead they will be walking up Nora Connolly Road. Similarly, those going across to the east of the city will no longer be battling traffic on the Newtownards Road, but on Sadie Menzies Road, and making your way from north Belfast into town you will be cutting across Madge Davison Gardens instead of Duncairn Gardens.

The new names will be hung up on buildings on the streets, rather than the original signs being taken down or covered up, but organisers hope it will draw attention to the influential women of the city and how they haven’t been given the credit they deserve.

Each of the women have been chosen to represent one area of the city which they have links to.

“We tried to pick names that were in keeping with the particular area,” said Anne McVicker of Women’sTec, the group organising the initiative.

The new road names also coincide with a bus tour which will highlight the work these five women are famous for, and where they were most influential.

“We want to celebrate women whose contribution to the city’s cultural and political life has been overlooked,” Helen Crickard, from Women’sTec, said. Independent unionist MLA Dawn Purvis thought it was a “great” idea.

“We don’t celebrate the women in our history, it’s determined by men and that’s why, I suppose, it’s called ‘history’ and not |‘herstory’,” she said.

“I think it’s a great way to celebrate women and their roles in Belfast. Some of them were very much pioneers.”

She said the number of events being held in the city to mark |International Women’s Day shows how far the city has come.

“When I first heard about International Women’s Day you would have been lucky if there was one event taking place in Belfast, now there is a whole range of events.”

To mark International Women’s Day there will be a celebratory march to Belfast City Hall, where a rally and ‘ring of hope’ will take place. Marking 100 years of working towards gender equality, Lord Mayor Pat Convery will invite 100 women to banquet with him.

A mural, dedicated to Northern Ireland’s suffragettes, and designed by artist Rita Duffy, will also be unveiled this week on the Shankill Road in the west of the city.

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