The  Falls Road  (from Irish  Tuath na bhFál  , which means “territory attachments”  [1]  ) is the main road through west Belfast, Northern Ireland, which runs from Divis Street in Belfast city center to Anderson’s in the suburbs. Its name is synonymous with Republican community in the city, while neighboring Shankill Road are mainly loyalists, separated from the Falls Road avfredslinjer. The road is usually called  the  Falls Road, rather than as Falls Road. It is known as the  Faas Raa  in Ulster-Scots.  [2]


Nearby White Rock Road 1968

The Falls Road got its name from the Irish  Tuath na bhFál  , an Irish small kingdom whose name means “territory attachments”.  [1]  This territory was roughly the same as the church congregation in Shankill, which spanned a large part of today’s Belfast.  [1]

The Falls Road itself was originally a road leading from the center but the population in the area expanded rapidly in the 19th century with the construction of several large linen factories. All of these have now closed or repurposed. This initial area, which was centered on the intersection of today’s Millfield and Hamill Street in what is now the Divis Street, was known as the Falls and lent its name to the road,  [3]  previously called the “pound”.  [Citation needed ]  the homes in area developed in the 19th century and organized in the narrow streets of small radhus.Många of these streets were named after characters and events of the Crimean War (1853-1856), which is present at the time.  [1]  

These included Raglan Street (named after Lord Raglan, the commander of the British forces in the Crimean War), Alma Street (named after the Battle of Alma), Balaclava Street (named after the Battle of Balaklava), Inkerman Street (named after the Battle of Inkerman) and Sevastopol Street (named after the siege of Sevastopol).  [1]

The view from the Falls Road to the city center, 1981

In the 1960s the buildings in the area had fallen considerably and the Belfast Corporation introduced a greater development plan that involved whole scale demolition of large parts of the area and replaced with a series of flat complex. The highest point in this transformation was the Divis Tower, built on top of the historic district formerly known as Pound Loney.  [4]


Bobby Sands mural on the Falls Road

A predominantly working class community Falls Road has historically had a strong socialist tradition before 1970 had been less Irish nationalist than other parts of Northern Ireland. James Connolly, a resident of Upper Falls during a period in the early 20th century and was involved in organizing the workers in linen factories  [ citation needed ]  , but the area was generally seen as a bedrock of Irish parliamentary party (IPP) at the time. Éamon de Valera lost heavily here in the 1918 UK general election the IPP Joe Devlin. Connolly secretary Winifred Carney also stayed at the Falls with her husband, George McBride, a Protestant and World War I veteran.  [ Citation needed ]    

The last century has seen an ongoing competition between different versions of the labor / socialist and nationalist / Irish Republican leadership elections in the area. In the 1929 elections to the new Northern Ireland Assembly, Belfast, Falls constituency was won by nationalist Richard Byrne after a bitter contest with William McMullen, a supporter of Connolly.  [Citation needed ]  

In the 1945 election, Harry Diamond won the seat stands for Socialist Republican Party. He held the position until 1969, when he was defeated by Paddy Devlin stands for Northern Ireland Labour Party. Devlin, who had once been a member, along with the Diamond, in Belfast branch of the Irish Labour Party, became a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party in 1970 and remained a member until Parliament has been prorogued in 1972.  [ citation needed ]  

Garden of Remembrance, Falls Road.

In 1964, Billy McMillen stood as a Republican clubs candidate for Belfast West constituency in the Westminster election. His office was in the Divis Street and the Irish tricolor along Starry Plough of Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army was displayed in the window. The public display of the flag of Ireland was prohibited by the Northern Ireland government. Protestant preacher Ian Paisley insisted Royal Ulster Constabulary remove the flag or he would organize a march and remove it yourself. The police feared a backlash from loyalists, and removed it, causing unrest and riots by nationalists.  [5]

Frederick Douglass mural on “Solidarity Wall”, then painted.

In the late 1960s, many Catholics from all over Northern Ireland began the campaign, many with NICRA, against discrimination in housing and employment, under the banner of a civil rights campaign in conscious imitation of philosophy and tactics used by the American Civil Rights Movement.  [6 ]

Many activists saw NICRA as an Irish Republican Trojan horse, designed to destabilize Northern Ireland, and force members of a united Ireland.  [7] [8] Several streets around the Falls Road burned by loyalists in August 1969. In response to the worsening situation, the British government utplaceradebrittiska army on Falls Road. The troops were initially welcomed by many but not all Falls residents to protect them, but the heavy-handed tactics of the most mainland British-born members of the army who do not know or understand the situation would alienate most Catholics and nationalists. [9] [10]  

In 1970, the road was the scene of what became known as the Falls Curfew.3000 British troops sealed off the streets around the Falls Road, home to about 10,000 people, setting off tear gas. The UK measures was received by the Official IRA (OIRA), who engaged them in a vicious firefight. Over the weekend, four Catholic civilians were killed by the British army. Ninety rifles were recovered.  [11]  It is generally regarded as the end of the British Army “honeymoon” period with the Nationalists in Belfast.  [12]

For the next three decades, the British Army had a significant presence on the Falls Road, with a base on top of Divis Tower. This was removed in August 2005 as part of the British government’s normalization program for Provisional Irish Republican Army’s claim that it ends its armed activity. In the meantime, Falls Road saw some of the worst violence “troubles”. The last British soldier to be killed on the road itself was private Nicholas Peacock, was killed by a trap bomb left outside Rock Bar, opposite the top of the Donegall Road.  [13]

1991 IRA hit squads based in Upper Falls and Beech Mount was involved in attacks against loyalist paramiliaries in the nearby village area. In September 1991, they shot dead 19 years old up UVF John Hanna at his home in the Donegall Road, and in November the same year, they shot dead William King Berry and his stepson Samuel Mehaffey, members of the UDA and the RHC, respectively, in their home on Lecale Street .  [13]


Falls Road Library, opened 1908th

Since the 1960s there has been a significant recovery of the traditional culture of the Irish language, dance and music. These are all showcased during the Feile an Phobail, an annual festival of Irish culture. The road is also home to Culturlann, an Irish cultural center that is open all year.  [ Citation needed ]  

One of three Carnegie libraries were built in Belfast is on the Falls Road. It opened on 1 January 1908, is the last Carnegie library in Belfast still serves as a library.  [14]

Educational institutions and hospitals

Several major educational institutions in the area, including St. Dominic Grammar School for Girls, St. Rose High School, St Mary’s University College, and the Irish school Coláiste Feirste.

St. Louise’s Comprehensive College is one of the largest comprehensive girls schools in Europe. St Finian’s and St. Catherine’s schools were closed because of falling student numbers. Katarina together with St. John’s girls and St. Gallen boys to form St. Clares in September 2005. St. Mary’s Christian Brothers Grammar School was originally located in Barrack Street off Divis Street in the Lower Falls but was transferred to a new establishment on the Glen Road in the Upper Falls in the 1960s. There are several major hospitals in the area, including the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Royal Maternity and Children’s Hospital.  [ Citation needed ]  


KyrkogårdarDet are several Catholic churches in the Falls Road. These include St. Church, St. Paul’s Church in the center of the Falls and St. John’s Church in Upper Falls. Nearby is Clonard Monastery, home of the Redemptorist religious order. Father Alec Reidsom played a key role in the Northern Ireland peace process was based here.

Two large cemeteries located on top of the Falls Road: Belfast City Cemetery and Milltown Cemetery.

other buildings

Although the area is largely residential, there are several large (former)), industrial and other buildings. The most famous of the original factory buildings Conway Mill Conway Street (named after the Conway family, a famous rich family of Clonard Area), originally a flax spinning mill, now houses a community enterprise in small business, studios, retail space and training floor. The Dunlewey Centre (Belfast Metropolitan College campus) is a community training center in the heart of the Lower Falls.

See also

  • Gaeltacht Quarter, Belfast
  • Lower Falls (District Electoral Area)
  • Upper Falls (District Electoral Area)
  • Raidió Fáilte


  1. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e placental NI Falls
  2. Jump up ^ Language / Cultural Diversity – Irish Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure,; accessed 30 March 2015.
  3. Jump up ^ Belfast history,; accessed 30 March 2015.
  4. Jump up ^ Megan Deirdre Roy.  Divis Flats: the social and political consequences of a modern housing project in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1968-1998  ,; accessed 30 March 2015.
  5. Jump up ^ Peter Taylor.  Loyalists  , ISBN 0-7475-4519-7, p. 32
  6. Jump up ^  Weiss, Ruth. Peace in his time: War and Peace in Ireland and South Africa. p. 34.
  7. Jump up ^ Lord Cameron,  Disturbances in Northern Ireland: Report of the Commission appointed by the governor in Northern Ireland  (Belfast, 1969)
  8. Jump up ^ Purdie, Bob.  Politics in the streets: the origins of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland  , The Black Staff Press, ISBN 0-85640-437-3.
  9. Jump up ^; accessed 31 March 2015.
  10. Jump up ^; accessed 31 March 2015.
  11. Jump up ^ Ed Moloney.  A Secret History of the IRA  , ISBN 0-14-101041-X, p. 91.
  12. Jump up ^ Richard English.  Armed struggle  (2003), p. 136
  13. ^ Jump up to: a b McKittrick, Feeney, Thornton, Kelters, David, Brian, Chris, Seamus (2004). Lost lives. Mainstream Publishing. pp. 1158, 1248, 1257-1258.
  14. Jump up ^  “Catalogue of the photo exhibition Irish Carnegie Library” (PDF). An Chomhairle Leabharlanna (The Library Council Sweden).Retrieved 4 September 2012.