Glossary entry for
Cyprus Avenue

Tree-lined Cyprus Avenue (shown at right) is phenomenally close to Hyndford Street (the street where Van grew up in East Belfast), but in Belfast a five-minute drive can take you into a completely different world.

The homes on Cyprus Avenue are stately, grand even. The inhabitants of Cyprus Avenue are upper-middle class professional people. The houses, many of them double-fronted, date back to Victorian times, when the development of the railway encouraged the more wealthy Belfast inhabitants to move out from the city centre and its unhealthy conditions. A small boy growing up in the working-class neighborhood of Hyndford Street would naturally be in awe of the obvious wealth on Cyprus Avenue.

Steve Turner's biography Too Late to Stop Now mentions how Van, as a boy walking down Cyprus Avenue, would "suddenly be struck by a sense of timelessness, in which everything seemed beautiful and 'right'. This feeling could last for minutes or hours, or sometimes even for days."

Cyprus Avenue is mentioned explicitly by name in several Van songs, but also through lyrical references in others (Cyprus Avenue is most likely 'the avenue' refered to in "And The Healing Has Begun", and 'the avenue of trees' in "Ro Ro Rosey').

Beyond the southern side of Cyprus Avenue is a disused railway cutting, which once belonged to the Belfast And County Down Railway (this railway is mentioned in the song "Cyprus Avenue"). The North Road railway bridge itself is also mentioned (in "On Hyndford Street"). This line now serves as the Bloomfield Walkway.

Including contributions from Stuart Bailie

Van references in:

Part of the unofficial website