History and Heritage of the Hollow

Elmgrove Primary School – Elmgrove Primary School first opened its doors in 1932. This listed building, noted for its beautiful brickwork, is still in use as a primary school. The school has a number of famous past pupils including Van Morrison, Billy Bingham and George Jones.

Van Morrison – ‘Van the Man’, as he is affectionately known, was born August 31, 1945. He attended Elmgrove Primary School until 1956, then Orangefield Secondary School for Boys. His journeys through east Belfast often feature in his work, but it is the tree-lined Cyprus Avenue which Van has turned into the most famous street in east Belfast, thanks to the track of the same name. Van’s lyrics are peppered with references to his east Belfast roots: ‘On Hyndford Street’ immortalises his childhood home; Orangefield is captured in the song ‘Avalon Sunset’ and Saint Donard’s Church of Ireland and the Connswater River are also mentioned in his songs.

Conn O’Neill Bridge – The O’Neills were for one thousand years great warriors in Ulster and Conn O’Neill was the last of these great O’Neill chieftains. Conn was something of a rogue and like to hold great parties at his stronghold, Grey Castle, also named ‘The Eagle’s Nest’ due to its situation on the Castlereagh hills. Conn O’Neill gave his name to the Connswater River, Connswater Bridge and the Conn O’Neill Bridge. This bridge is recorded as being built in the late 1800s however local legend would suggest that Conn and his clansmen used it to travel from the Grey Castle to Belfast town in the early 17th century.