Sunday 15 November 2009

Belfast Botanic Gardens and Irish miles

At first glance I thought this card was a picture of Kew Gardens and it wasn't until I saw the postmark Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone, and wondered why it would be posted from there that I examined it further.  It is dated 15 May 1968.
Botanic Gardens Belfast
The Museum and Art Gallery is beautifully situated in these gardens.

The card could have said so much more, that the gardens were first opened as a private park in 1828 and didn't become public until 1895.  By then the Palm House shown on the card had been built (1839-40) by Richard Turner from Dublin who went on the build the iconic Palm House at Kew (1844-48).  It is one of the earliest examples of a glasshouse made of curved iron and glass.

Fivemiletown has no connection with the picture on the card but it's worth a mention for its name, given to it after the Ulster Plantation, which signifies its distance from its neighbours.   You may or may not know that the Irish mile is longer than the Scots mile which in turn is longer than the English mile.  As long as you know which country you are in, you'll be all right.

1968 was the year of student protests.  I'm assuming this card was written by a student, to "Mum and Dad", and clearly a hitch-hiker: "I had good lifts this morning. Have stopped off to write these in a pub".  You don't see so many hitch hikers about these days but I did once cross England coast to coast that way, with a friend.  I never did tell my parents who would have been horrified.
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  1. I love when you post Irish postcards Sheila and it amazes me how you manage to find them. This is a lovely card of the Belfast Botanic Gardens and although I haven't been they look uncannily like the Dublin Botanic Gardens (reminds me I must post some photos I took there this Summer). I wonder did Richard Turner design both?
    I travel a lot around Ireland and I hardly ever see hitchhikers any more. A sign of the times? I spent my youth hitchhiking and it was great, I got to see the country and meet very interesting people.
    p.s. It's great how you add nuggets of information to compliment your postcards!

  2. Thank you, Blogaire. :) I do believe that it was Richard Turner who designed them both.

    The postcards mostly came to me from my father, but I pick up any I see from around and about. It means sorting through an awful lot of dross, just to find something I want, but it keeps me out of mischief!


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