Nostalgic Images Causes Social Media Stir
Published: Thur, 2 Aug 2018
Archives at the Housing Executive have thrown up an incredible glimpse into Belfast’s past.
A local childhood was incomplete in the 1970’s and 80’s without a spin on Mickey Marley’s legendary ‘Roundabout’ – a familiar feature of life way back then.
The horse drawn, hand cranked contraption was a mecca to children and was so famous it was immortalized in song by Irish folk group Barnbrack.
Mickey’s roundabout provided a happy, noisy and colourful backdrop to the city in darker times.
Him and his horse would also ‘hoof it’ round housing estates all over Belfast and children would flock to the ‘wanderly-wagon’ for a five-pence spin after school.
Often, kids would bring sugar lumps for Mickey’s equine associate, as the song relayed that ‘It wouldn’t eat grass, it wouldn’t eat hay, it just ate sugar lumps all the day’.
Housing Executive photographers captured one such occasion in 1991 and the images caused a stir recently on social media when they were revealed as part of the organisations popular #ThrowBackThursday series.
Over 10,000 people viewed the images and the children pictured on the roundabout began to tag each other and share their stories.
A trip to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum was arranged and Museums NI staff granted access to allow four of the children pictured in the original photographs to take stroll down memory lane, where they recalled the visit of the magical, colourful cart to their street.
Museums NI purchased the roundabout on Mickey’s death in the mid-1990’s, preserving this quintessential part of Belfast life for posterity.