About Me

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antrim, antrim, Ireland
Hello and welcome to my blog. If you like flowers and gardens, housey stuff, food and banter, then this is the place for you. I am a decorative artist, florist and maker of things. I sell painted furniture, plants and crafts, through a local retail shop, in my native Ireland, and wedding flowers from home. I am married to a lovely patient man and have a smashing little girl. I blog for the fun of it. Thank you for listening.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Angel of Thanksgiving

Photo taken from Andy Scott's Website.
As American Thanksgiving day approaches, my thoughts enevitably turn to this piece of public art on the banks of the  river Lagan in Belfast city centre, she is known locally as' Nuala with the Hula' or 'The Doll on the Ball'. Her real name though is 'The Angel of Thanksgiving,' and she is where she is, because of one woman.....my mother.

My lovely Mum, on the day the 'Angel' was erected.(photo taken by my brother Paul)

My Mum was a very spiritually minded person. She really believed that if a person, no matter how poor, or ill, or  deprived could give thanks to God for the little good that was in their life, then God could turn their life around. On a visit to America, she visited Thanksgiving Square in Dallas, Texas. It is a building, where people of any denomination can go and pray and give thanks to their own Deity. My Mum was very impressed with this idea, and thought that Belfast was in need of such a place. She approached the Council, and local business leaders and presented her ideas. She had a real struggle on her hands, and it took her 16 years of blood, sweat and tears to bring it to fruition. The Council agreed to donate some land to the project, but it was too small to put a building on it, so the idea of a statue or monument was mooted. They decided to have a competition for someone to come up with a design, and it was won by a Scottish Sculptor and Engineer, Andy Scott. He is a wonderful man, who really supported my mum, and he was able to encapsulate all  her hopes and dreams into his design of 'The Angel of Thanksgiving'.

I don't have my Mum's great faith, but I do know it is important to believe in something greater than yourself. I think too, that an attitude of grattitude is sadly lacking today. I am so grateful that my brave Mum fought for her beliefs, not for Belfast, or Ireland, but for us ,her family. She has left such a great legacy. I am so proud every time we cross the river to say to my daughter,' look there's your Nannie's statue.' It was such a comfort after her death to have such a beautiful reminder of her fighting spirit, her faith and her passion for her beloved country. She would have been so thrilled to know that it was voted as the No.1 piece of public art, by the people.It is used by all sorts of companies to represent hope, the new Belfast and it is photographed and drawn by artists. It is sad that she didn't get to enjoy the fruition of her work, but we her children and grandchildren are truly blessed by it. Thanks Mum!

Photo from Wikipedia.


  1. Hello Linda

    I am so moved to read of the Angel of Thanksgiving.
    What a vision you mother had. The Angel is inclusive of all faiths. You deserve to be very, very proud of your mother.

    I love the statue and is has such movement and energy.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of your mother and her courage and determination. I love it.

    Helen xx

  2. Such a powerful story and beautiful vivid statue. Your mother was very special.

  3. Hello again, Linda

    Your mother is very beautiful

    I got a big chuckle from the names the locals call the Angel of Thanksgiving (Nuala with the hula and The Doll on the Ball) It reminds me of the newer statues in Dublin. Molly Malone (wheeling her wheelbarrow of fish through Dublin's fair city) is locally called "The Tart with the Heart" or "The Dolly with the Trolley".
    At Ha'Penny Bridge there is a sculpture of two women in conversation and it has been referred to as "the hags with the bags" - I know I should not laugh but wit always causes a giggle.

  4. Linda, I am so touched by your post today. The Angel of Thanksgiving...how beautiful. I love the idea of all praying together. Your Mum's spirit has traveled all the way to our home tonight.
    Thank you for sharing this...

  5. Wow Linda, what an amazing thing to have associated with your family and such a beautiful post. Your mum sounds a very special lady who actually made a difference. No wonder you're proud.

  6. Hello Linda:
    This post has really touched our hearts, dearest Linda. The 'Angel of Thanksgiving' is such a beautiful work of art. For us it is a symbol of hope, freedom of spirit and a belief that people of every persuasion can surely be bonded in Love.

    Your mother was clearly a strong person and an inspirational role model for your family in particular and clearly many others in Belfast and beyond. It must give you all such a lift to see 'her' statue every time you pass nearby.

    We feel honoured and uplifted to know of your mother via you. In his work, Andy Scott has so perfectly made a concrete reality of what your mother wished to express. It lives on to inspire others, just as we are sure, your mother would have wished.

  7. How wonderful, and what a fabulous achievement, I love the statue too it has such hope and movement...a beautiful memory to of your mom, and mom's are so special aren't they xxxx

  8. Wow!I pass the sculpture many times and didn't know anything of its history! Thanks for sharing such a personal and moving story. Cx

  9. I have had to wipe away a tear before being able to write this Linda.
    This story is so sad, beautiful, optimistic and so very, very personal. It is a testimony to the way that one person's vision and determination can unite a whole community in a symbolic expression of thanks.

    I understand why you are so proud of your mother.


  10. Linda, your mother must have been a wonderful person. Would would we have done without our mums? I still find it so hard to believe that my mum has gone and that I will never see her again!

    I love The Angel... you must be so proud of your Mum!

    Thank you for sharing this.

    This year will be the first time in a while I'm not going to be in NY for Thanksgiving.



  11. Such a moving story of the Angel of Thanksgiving. How wonderful that your amazing mother was able to bring this about, and what a wonderful legacy. I think the Angel is really beautiful and inspiring. (And I do love the amusing local names too, such creative humour there, my favourite kind!) Thanks for sharing the Angel of Thanksgiving with us this week, Linda. Have a happy week.
    Helen x

  12. Hello Linda!! You have a beautiful blog! lovely images!


  13. That's beautiful. I hope you are well.

  14. Good Morning Today dear Linda

    I understand how you felt when you posted this personal news. I can assure you did the right thing in telling this beautiful piece of good news. In a world where the media headlines are mostly horrific and dark with depressing headlines, I firmly believe that we must share more and all good news. I believe that in shining the light on you mother's courage you are giving others permission to also do go. I also feel one never knows the full extent of the joy, hope and love this portrays to passers by. Your mother gave of her time and she persisted and defeated many obstacles in this brave, continuous journey to bring goodness to Belfast and all who visit.

  15. Oh my goodness Linda, this is wonderful!
    As my father was Irish, I wanted to learn more about this. And there on youtube is a video of your amazing Mum telling her story! Your heart must burst with pride every time you see the 'Angel'. I am glad you wrote this post, so that more people can see what your dear Mum achieved. The Angel of Thanksgiving is such a beautiful piece of art, and for what it must mean to the people of Belfast too.
    I apologise to Antony Gormley if he is reading this, but I do prefer The Angel of Thanksgiving to the Angel of the North... although when someone climbed all 20 metres up it to drape a giant Newcastle United shirt around it, I did think it looked a bit better! :)
    Thanks for your visit and lovely comments. I still have not seen the film. My son came home from Uni sick, so I stayed home to look after him. Looks like I may have to put the DVD on Santa's list :)
    Love Abby xx

  16. A special lady, your Mum. Apart from anything else, how very tenacious she must have been - sixteen years!! Lesser people would have thrown in the towel. (Myself included.) Faith of that depth and strength is far more powerful than we can imagine.

    And I agree with Abby - the statue is far more beautiful than the Angel of the North.

  17. What a wonderful story Linda, you must be so proud of your Mum and what she achieved. It is a lovely statue and I agree with Abby and Wendz, far prettier than our Angel of the North!
    Julie x

  18. Thank you Lind for your visit, nice to know about you.



  19. Hello Linda

    Such a lovely story. It's great to hear accounts of people who persevere - especially when motivated by love, faith and hope. What a fabulous legacy to have left behind!

  20. I know you are proud of your mother's accomplishment. If everyone could live out the values of thanksgiving your mother had the world would turn around. What a tribute to her this sculpture is.

  21. Dear Linda,

    What a beautiful post and tribute to your mother. She must have been a special person holding onto her dream all those years. The statue is beautiful. It's sort of gracious and I like the light from below shining on it. It's good people in Belfast have a place to go to and pray thanks.

    You asked me if I am a vegetarian. I am not, but I enjoy vegetarian cooking now and then :-)

    Wish you a lovely wednesday! From a cold and frosty Holland,

    Madelief x

  22. Beautiful post and such a wonderful dream come true. Inspiring!

  23. What a lovely story. Your mother must have been a strong and determined woman, what a great heritage for her grandchildren.

  24. It is really really beautiful. What an incredible story and woman! XOLaura

  25. I think this sculpture is rather beautiful, i had never heard of it before, a lovely tribute to your dear Mum also Linda.

  26. Linda, I have always loved this; it's wonderful to find out some of the story behind it. What an amazing legacy to leave for you all!

  27. Thank you Linda for this wonderful post. I featured the Angel on my blog on Sunday. Thanks to visiting your blog, I have this morning written about the REAL angel - your mother. What an inspiration she was!


  28. Linda, the story of your mother and the Angel of Thanksgiving has reached India.


  29. Linda,

    What a wonderful thank you from you to your mother, how touching to see it! I would love to know what is happening to the Thanksgiving charity that was established in conjunction with it.

    This is Tatiana, the senior advisor for the Thanks-Giving Foundation which runs Thanks-Giving Square. Give us an update. Your mother was a true, exceotional, thankful person.


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