It was announced today that former Snooker player Alex Higgins died, and unsurprisingly, like a favourite son of Belfast, he is honoured in mural form in the city.
To my knowledge (please feel free to correct if there are any others) there is only one mural of him in Belfast, just off the Donegall Road, where he grew up.
This photo, taken in May 2007, came about as a complete fluke. It was the Sunday of a Bank Holiday Weekend and it was light at a ridiculously late hour, I went out that evening to get photos of as much murals and graffiti in the University, Donegall and Grosvenor Roads.
The reason why I was doing that route was that I had always remembered seeing a plaque in commemoration of Belfast Celtic in the Park Centre and wanted to do a recce to see how to get there on foot.
Incidentally, there is currently an exhibition dedicated to the history of Belfast Celtic in the Park Centre. It’s periodically open to the public, and i’m hoping to try and sneak a visit on the lunchtime of 7th August, when Linfield host Ballymena United.
I was walking back home and spotted the mural, and couldn’t get the camera out quick enough, as I didn’t even know it had existed.
From time to time, i’d usually spot him walking around Belfast, usually in the Univeristy/Botanic/Shaftesbury Square areas, and there was still an aura about him, as other people in the street would stop and mutter to themselves “That’s Alex Higgins”
I actually once served him a beer when I worked in The Globe. Such was the change in his appearance that a work colleague thought I was winding him up when I pointed out that Alex Higgins was in the building.
I’m not sure what the mural is like at the moment as I haven’t ventured into the Donegall Road for a while. Hopefully, it is still there and in good condition.
A typically Belfast tribute to a Belfast sporting hero.