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Written in Stone... the unexplored links between the Rolling Stones and the Northern Ireland civil rights movement


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Rolling Stones: Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts backstage at The ABC Theatre in Belfast in January 1965

Rolling Stones: Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts backstage at The ABC Theatre in Belfast in January 1965

Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Rory Gallagher on stage

Rory Gallagher on stage

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Rolling Stones: Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts backstage at The ABC Theatre in Belfast in January 1965

Even for those too young to have actually lived through the decade, the 1960s seem ever-present. These years of economic affluence, loosening morals, flower power, the summer of love, Beatlemania and the bad-boy antics of the Rolling Stones still continue to inform our present.

Of course, this retrospective sense of the momentous decade tends to centre on 'swinging London' and 'Hippy California', with Northern Ireland seeming remote from the broader story.

However, Belfast was not just on the margins. It was a player in the bigger counter-cultural revolution, both contributing to and absorbing the seismic changes happening across the globe as the post-war generation came of age.


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