Irish Stew Free Lunch
A few years ago I was a member of the ISPS UK committee and during the time I was I expressed an interest in putting on a conference in Belfast. Early last year they contacted me and asked if I was still up for this so with some help from them I arranged the conference, which I also chaired, at The Clayton Hotel in November and this got me a little nervous I must say! Only psychiatric patients on both sides of the story who have been tortured with unsuitable antipsychotic medication will understand I was not in the least bit nervous the next day about meeting, at Kelly's Cellars, Jim McCann. It was a real privilege to meet him having read his book And the Gates Flew Open, The Burning of Long Kesh about the battle of Long Kesh in 1974 which Jim was in and which was the biggest engagement we had with the IRA since the Easter uprising in 1916. What I did not previously know about until Kevin Lynch's brother Ollie asked me for help in the matter in Bedford was that we dropped CR (not CS) gas on the IRA guys in the battle. Perhaps it was not known at the time that it would appear the gas is carcinogenic and, as I understand it many guys have died a slow horrible death since possibly, as Ollie said, on our side too. They have a group on Facebook I have joined: CR Gas Research Group. When Jim arrived he was with another very friendly chap who, after the chap had left Jim told me was the Stiff Little Fingers drummer Jim Reilly! I was star struck after the fact. Jim told me a lot not just from my reading his book including that at the time all the IRA guys knew it was not CS gas as they'd had that dropped on them before. I had been to Kelly's Cellars before so knew the thing to have for lunch that day was the Irish stew and Jim insisted on paying for this and I promised him I would keep on pushing on my side so here we are.
Belfast City Council have helpfully given guidance in how to get to Kelly's Cellars when you've had a few, above
Ollie Lynch presenting Jim McCann my book and below Ollie presenting me Jim's at The Grafton Hotel In Bedford.