Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"On the way back home from school"

Was recently in touch with John Martin, who works for the Belfast Education and Library Board. Like many of the Northern Irish folks I have contacted over the past two years, Martin was quick to respond to my query and more than willing to assist in my research efforts.

The following couplet, repeated twice by Van Morrison in the track "Cyprus Avenue," has long been a favorite of mine: "And all the little girls rhyme something / On the way back home from school." Martin is in the process of helping me narrow down the list of schools that are located, or were once located, near Cyprus Avenue.

In the meantime, there's this: The self-guided Mystic of the East trail, which gives Morrison fans the opportunity to visit the East Belfast places mentioned in his songs, starts at Elmgrove Primary School. Elmgrove, which opened in 1932 and is still in use, sits on the Beersbridge Road, a 10-minute walk from Cyprus Avenue. Morrison attended in the 1950s—a fact that makes Elmgrove the heavy favorite to be the school from the aforementioned couplet. More to come ...

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