chapter six

The Carabines in the Falls and the Pound Loney

The Falls Road was truly the home of the Carabines and few ventured very far away until the middle of the last century. The Falls was originally a country lane leading away from the city centre but the population of the area expanded rapidly in the nineteenth century with the construction of the linen mills. The original area, which was centred on the junction of modern day Millfield and Hamill Street (on what is now Divis Street), was known as Falls and that's how the road got its name. It is pretty bare now as a huge intersection off the Westlink.

The housing in the area largely developed in the nineteenth century and was organised in the narrow streets of small terraced back-to-back housing that most of us remember so well. Many of these streets were named after characters and events in the Crimean War (1853–1856) which was occurring at that time. These included Raglan Street (Lord Raglan, commander of British forces in the Crimean War), Alma Street (the Battle of Alma), Balaklava Street (the Battle of Balaklava), Inkerman Street (the Battle of Inkerman), and Sevastopol Street (the Siege of Sevastopol).

The Pound Loney was an old district in Smithfield Ward not far from St Peter's Church, and connected Divis Street and Durham Street; this is the area where Thomas lived most. Interestingly, the little stream that ran through the Pound Loney was only covered in the 1970s. Loney is a lane and the pound part of the street name derives from its vicinity to the old Belfast animal pound at Barrack Street. It was a predominantly Catholic area and close enough to Sandy Row to have seen many sectarian clashes over the years.

Over the years, the Carabines lived in many of streets in the Falls, Pound Loney, and their environs: Townsend Street (which was, literally, the limit of the town in the 1830s), Alexander Street, Galway Street, Cinnamond Street, Pound Street, Plevna Street, Kane street, and of course, Cavendish Street where number 139 was occupied by old Thomas's grandson (Thomas), great grandson (James), and great great granddaughter (Nancy) and their families for more than 100 years. See the Belfast Map of 1861 to see where the Pound Loney area was.

Image from Rushlight Magazine