The Belfast to Bangor line is a railway line in Northern Ireland part of the Belfast & County Down Railway. All services are operated by the only operator for Northern Ireland. Unlike the rest of the United Kingdom, no railway in NI is part of the National Rail network and none is owned by Network Rail. Services run every half-hour, with extra services at peak times. Nearly all NIR services on this line continue on through Great Victoria Street and terminate at Portadown or Newry, stopping at stations in between. Trains run between Portadown and Bangor; the Belfast-Bangor Line is part of the key link into Belfast city centre. Trains run from Belfast Great Victoria Street to Sydenham for planes from George Best Belfast City Airport; the Bangor Line serves important museums including the Ulster Museum, where passengers can alight at Botanic and for the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum alight at Cultra. Passengers can alight at Titanic Quarter station for the Odyssey Arena and the Titanic Quarter
Holywood is a town in the metropolitan area of Belfast in County Down, Ireland. It is a civil parish and townland of 755 acres lying on the shore of Belfast Lough, between Belfast and Bangor. Holywood Exchange and Belfast City Airport are nearby; the town hosts an annual blues festival. The English name Holywood comes from Latin Sanctus Boscus, meaning'holy wood'; this was the name the Normans gave to the woodland surrounding the monastery of St Laiseran, son of Nasca. The monastery was on the site of the present Holywood Priory; the earliest Anglicised form appears as Haliwode in a 14th-century document. Today, the name is pronounced the same as Hollywood; the Irish name for Holywood is Ard Mhic Nasca meaning "high ground of Mac Nasca". In the 17th century, Ulster ports began to rise in prominence. In 1625, William Pitt was appointed as Customer of the ports of Newcastle, Killough, Donaghadee and Holywood. In the early 19th century, like many other coastal villages throughout Ireland, became popular as a resort for sea-bathing.
Many wealthy Belfast merchants chose the town and the surrounding area to build large homes for themselves. These included the Kennedys of Cultra and the Harrisons of Holywood. Dalchoolin House stood on the site of the present Ulster Transport Museum, while Cultra Manor was built between 1902–04 and now houses part of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum; the railway line from Belfast to Holywood opened in 1848, this led to rapid development. The population of Holywood was 3,500 in 1900 and had grown to 12,000 by 2001; this growth, coupled with that of other towns and villages along the coastal strip to Bangor, necessitated the construction of the Holywood Bypass in the early 1970s. Holywood today is a popular residential area and is well known for its fashionable shops, boutiques and crafts; the Old Priory ruins lie at the bottom of the High Street. The tower dates from 1800; the Priory graveyard is the resting place for many distinguished citizens including the educational reformer, Dr Robert Sullivan, the Praeger family.
Robert Lloyd Praeger was an internationally renowned botanist and his sister, Rosamond Praeger, gained fame as a sculptor and writer. "Johnny the Jig", one of her sculptures, is situated in the town. Praeger House at Sullivan Upper Grammar School is named after the family. Bishop Robert Bent Knox is buried there. On 17 June 1994, Garnet Bell, a former pupil bearing a grudge, entered an assembly hall at Sullivan Upper School and used a flamethrower to attack students taking A-level examinations. Six pupils were injured. On 12 April 2010, at around 12:24am, a car bombing occurred near Palace Barracks, a British Army barracks on the edge of Holywood's town centre. An elderly man had to be treated in hospital; the bomb was driven towards the base in a hijacked taxi. The Real IRA claimed responsibility for the attack. Holywood Urban Area is a medium town within the Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area as classified by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. On Census day there were 12,037 people living in Holywood.
Of these: 19.9% were aged under 16 years and 20.6% were aged 60 and over 50.6% of the population were male and 49.4% were female 68.6% were from a Protestant background and 23.0% were from a Catholic background 3.0% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed. Holywood is famous for its maypole at the crossroads in the centre of town, its origin is uncertain, according to local folklore, it dates from 1700, when a Dutch ship is said to have run aground on the shore nearby, the crew erected the broken mast to show their appreciation of the assistance offered to them by the townsfolk. The maypole is still used for dancing at the annual May Day fair. Nearly as famous, is the adjacent Maypole Bar, locally known as Carty's, it was first licensed in 1857, from until 2018, it has had only 3 proprietors. County Donegal native, Ned Carty, bought it from Mick O'Kane in the late 1960s, it had been owned by O'Kane since 1908. It is now run by Brian Carty. There is a Norman motte in the town; the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum illustrating the way of life and traditions of the people of Ulster is nearby, at Cultra.
The first section of the Belfast and County Down Railway line from Belfast to Holywood, along with Holywood railway station, opened on 2 August 1848. The line was extended to Bangor by the Belfast and Bangor Railway, opening on 1 May 1865, acquired by the BCDR in 1884. Holywood station was closed for goods traffic on 24 April 1950. Records of the marine algae include: Polysiphonia elongata Spreng.. Ag.. The Crosslé Car Company, a manufacturer of racing cars is based in Holywood; the town contains the following schools: Holywood Primary School, Holywood Nursery SchoolHolywood Rudolf Steiner School, Priory Integrated College, Rockport School, St Patrick's Primary School, Sullivan Preparatory School and Sullivan Upper School. Holywood Cricket Club is amalgamated with the Holywood R. F. C. Cricket may have been played in Holywood as early as 1860 but the present club, as we know it, was formed as a result of a meeting held on Monday, 28 March 1881. In the first season games against Ballynahinch, Lurgan, North Down and Sydenham followed the opening game against Well
Helen Blackwood, Baroness Dufferin and Claneboye
Helen Selina Blackwood, Baroness Dufferin and Claneboye Countess of Gifford, was a British songwriter, composer and author. Admired for her wit and literary talents, she was a well-known figure in London society of the mid-19th century. Helen Sheridan came from a theatrical family with political connections, her father, Thomas Sheridan, an actor and colonial administrator, was the younger son of famous Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, her mother was Caroline Henrietta Sheridan, a novelist. In 1813, Thomas took Helen and his wife with him to a post at the Cape of Good Hope, where he died four years on 12 September 1817. Helen returned to England where she lived in a Hampton Court Palace "grace and favour" apartment with her mother, four brothers and two younger sisters; the sisters' beauty and accomplishments led to them being called the "Three Graces". Caroline was known as the wittiest of the girls and developed into a talented writer, Georgiana, considered the prettiest of the sisters became Duchess of Somerset by marriage to Edward Seymour, 12th Duke of Somerset.
At seventeen, Helen was engaged to Commander Price Blackwood, youngest of three sons of the 3rd Baron Dufferin and Claneboye, Mehetabel Temple. After their London wedding at St. George's, Hanover Square, London, on 4 July 1825, they went to live in Florence due to the opposition of the marriage by the Blackwood family, but returned two years with their baby son Frederick, born on 21 June 1826, her sisters introduced her to fashionable circles where she mixed with prominent figures of the time, Mary Berry, Samuel Rogers, Henry Taylor, Sydney Smith, Benjamin Disraeli. In 1839, she became Lady Dufferin, he died in 1841 of an accidental morphine overdose. In October 1862, she agreed to marry her friend George Hay, Earl of Gifford by special license, after he was injured in an accident. Hay, heir to the Marquessate of Tweeddale, died of his injuries two months after their marriage. From childhood Helen had written poems and prologues for private theatrical productions. After she and Caroline jointly brought out a Set of ten Songs and two Duets, she started to publish her verse, sometimes set to her own music.
Her name was not printed at first, but she did not stay anonymous. One of her most popular ballads was The Irish Emigrant, published in New York and Boston as well as in London. In this and in other work written around the time of the great Irish famine she shows some understanding of "the destructive impact of the famine on love and the family" despite her "social distance", though one critic believes the Irish people's suffering is "hinted at" in this "ballad for the English middle class". Alfred Perceval Graves, writing in the early 20th century, was more enthusiastic: "…her warm heart beats in such close sympathy with her peasant neighbours that… she writes as if she were one of themselves, while her sense of fun floats through her Irish poems with a delicate breeziness."In 1863 a play of hers was staged, in the same year she published an account of her travels up the Nile with her son. This poked fun at writing by lady travellers; the purpose of the play was to satire travel literature that of women, during the time period.
Her play, Finesse, or, A Busy Day in Messina, produced at the Haymarket Theatre with John Baldwin Buckstone as one of the actors, was a success, but the writer did not go to any of the performances, nor acknowledge her authorship. Dufferin's poetry set to music by herself or others, reflects important concerns traceable throughout the early and middle periods of Victorian literature: a biting criticism of social class, a spotlight on Irish poverty and emigration, a despair over loss and separation. While Dufferin infused her early and writing with an arch wit, the songs and poems written during the middle of her life are marked by sentimentality and a profound sadness. In relation to her writing, the Westminster Review gave a good approximation of her literary skill and emotion laden works. “Of the songs and verses which have been collected in the volume it must be confessed that few of them rise above respectable mediocrity. "The Irish Emigrant" is her best song, is full of true feeling. "Sweet Kilkenny Town" is intensely Irish, might fittingly be sung by any of the obscure thousands from Erin who toil for bare existence in the great Republic of the West.
In many of her other lyrics we find an echo of Moore, but she lacks his perfection of form and exquisite imagery. It is, she sympathised with the peasantry of the land in which she was born, the great charm of her nature lay, not in the gift of genius—for that she did not possess—but in her sweet and loving Irish heart. That she was endowed with some dramatic power is shown by her comedy, entitled Finesse, she cannot take rank in literature beside her gifted sister, Mrs. Norton, but her womanhood was richer and more perfect than that of many members of her sex to whom was given "the visi
Belfast is a city in the United Kingdom, the capital city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Ireland. It is second-largest on the island of Ireland, it had a population of 333,871 as of 2015. By the early 19th century, Belfast became a major port, it played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, becoming the biggest linen-producer in the world, earning it the nickname "Linenopolis". By the time it was granted city status in 1888, it was a major centre of Irish linen production, tobacco-processing and rope-making. Shipbuilding was a key industry. Belfast as of 2019 has a major aerospace and missiles industry. Industrialisation and the inward migration it brought made Belfast Ireland's biggest city and it became the capital of Northern Ireland following the Partition of Ireland in 1922, its status as a global industrial centre ended in the decades after the Second World War of 1939–1945. Belfast suffered in the Troubles: in the 1970s and 1980s it was one of the world's most dangerous cities.
However, a survey conducted by a finance company and published in 2016 rated the city as one of the safest within the United Kingdom. Throughout the 21st century, the city has seen a sustained period of calm, free from the intense political violence of former years, has benefitted from substantial economic and commercial growth. Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as for the arts, higher education and law, is the economic engine of Northern Ireland. Belfast is still a major port, with commercial and industrial docks, including the Harland and Wolff shipyard, dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline, it is served by two airports: George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport 15 miles west of the city. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network listed Belfast as a Gamma global city in 2018; the name Belfast is derived from the Irish Béal Feirsde, spelt Béal Feirste. The word béal means "mouth" or "rivermouth" while feirsde/feirste is the genitive singular of fearsaid and refers to a sandbar or tidal ford across a river's mouth.
The name would thus translate as " mouth of the sandbar" or " mouth of the ford". This sandbar was formed at the confluence of two rivers at what is now Donegall Quay: the Lagan, which flows into Belfast Lough, its tributary the Farset; this area was the hub. The Irish name Béal Feirste is shared by a townland in County Mayo, whose name has been anglicised as Belfarsad. An alternative interpretation of the name is "mouth of of the sandbar", an allusion to the River Farset, which flows into the Lagan where the sandbar was located; this interpretation was favoured by John O'Donovan. It seems clear, that the river itself was named after the tidal crossing. In Ulster-Scots, the name of the city has been variously translated as Bilfawst, Bilfaust or Baelfawst, although "Belfast" is used. Although the county borough of Belfast was created when it was granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1888, the city continues to be viewed as straddling County Antrim and County Down; the site of Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze Age.
The Giant's Ring, a 5,000-year-old henge, is located near the city, the remains of Iron Age hill forts can still be seen in the surrounding hills. Belfast remained a small settlement of little importance during the Middle Ages. John de Courcy built a castle on what is now Castle Street in the city centre in the 12th century, but this was on a lesser scale and not as strategically important as Carrickfergus Castle to the north, built by de Courcy in 1177; the O'Neill clan had a presence in the area. In the 14th century, Cloinne Aodha Buidhe, descendants of Aodh Buidhe O'Neill, built Grey Castle at Castlereagh, now in the east of the city. Conn O'Neill of the Clannaboy O'Neills owned vast lands in the area and was the last inhabitant of Grey Castle, one remaining link being the Conn's Water river flowing through east Belfast. Belfast became a substantial settlement in the 17th century after being established as a town by Sir Arthur Chichester, it was settled by Protestant English and Scottish migrants at the time of the Plantation of Ulster.
In 1791, the Society of United Irishmen was founded in Belfast, after Henry Joy McCracken and other prominent Presbyterians from the city invited Theobald Wolfe Tone and Thomas Russell to a meeting, after having read Tone's "Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland". Evidence of this period of Belfast's growth can still be seen in the oldest areas of the city, known as the Entries. Belfast blossomed as a commercial and industrial centre in the 18th and 19th centuries and became Ireland's pre-eminent industrial city. Industries thrived, including linen, rope-making, heavy engineering and shipbuilding, at the end of the 19th century, Belfast overtook Dublin as the largest city in Ireland; the Harland and Wolff shipyards became one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, employing up to 35,000 workers. In 1886 the city suffered intense riots over the issue of home rule. In 1920–22, Belfast became the capital of the new entity of Northern Ireland as the island of Ireland was partitioned.
The accompanying conflict cost up to 500 lives in Belfast, the bloodiest sectarian strife in the city until the Troubles of the late 1960s onwards. Belfas
Portrush is a small seaside resort town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on the County Londonderry border. The main part of the old town, including the railway station as well as most hotels and bars, is built on a mile–long peninsula, Ramore Head, pointing north-northwest, it had a population of 6,454 people as measured by the 2011 Census. In the off-season, Portrush is a dormitory town for the nearby campus of the University of Ulster at Coleraine, it neighbours the resort of Portstewart. The town is well known for its three sandy beaches, the West Strand, East Strand and White Rocks, as well as the Royal Portrush Golf Club, the only golf club outside mainland Great Britain which has hosted the Open Championship, it was the base for the Katie Hannan, a Severn class lifeboat and Ken and Mary, a D–class inshore lifeboat of the RNLI. Lifeboats have operated out of Portrush Harbour since 1860, stationed there are the Severn class William Gordon Burr and the D-class inshore vessel David Roulston.
Portrush is in the East Londonderry constituency for the UK Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly. A number of flint tools found during the late 19th century show that the site of Portrush was occupied during the "Larnian" period; the site of Portrush, with its excellent natural defences became a permanent settlement around the 12th or 13th century. A church is known to have existed on Ramore Head at this time. From the records of the papal taxation of 1306, the Portrush church – and by extension the village – appears to have been reasonably wealthy; the promontory held two castles, at varying periods. The first of these, Caisleán an Teenie, is believed to have been at the tip of Ramore Head, destroyed in the late 16th century. Nothing survives of either castle. Following the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in the mid-17th century, Portrush became a small fishing town, it grew in the 19th century as a tourist destination, following the opening of the Ballymena, Ballymoney and Portrush Junction Railway in 1855, by the turn of the 20th century had become one of the major resort towns of Ireland, with a number of large hotels and boarding houses including the prominent Northern Counties Hotel.
As well as the town's beaches and the Royal Portrush Golf Club, the nearby Giant's Causeway was a popular tourist destination, with the Giant's Causeway Tramway – at the time, one of the world's longest electrified railways – built in 1893 to cater to travellers coming from Portrush. The town's fortunes peaked in the late 19th and early 20th century, declined after the Second World War with the growth of foreign travel, it escaped any involvement in the Troubles until 3 August 1976, when a series of bombings of properties burned out and destroyed several buildings, though with no loss of life. In a second attack in April 1987, two officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary were shot in the back by the Provisional Irish Republican Army while on foot patrol on Main Street. Portrush is classified as a small town by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. On Census day there were 6,003 people living accounting for 0.36 % of the NI total. Of these: 18.89% were aged under 16 years and 19.09% were aged 65 and over.
For more details see: Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service. Attractions in the town include the "Coastal Zone", Waterworld swimming complex, and, on the edge of town, the links of the Royal Portrush Golf Club, which hosted the 1951 British Open golf championship, Ballyreagh Golf Course. At the 1951 British Open golf championship young star Derek McLachlan won the hearts of the local crowd when he led on the third day by 3 strokes only to drive out of bounds twice on the final day of the Open and finish tied for 8th place. There are two long sandy beaches in the town, known as the East Strand. White Rocks and Curran Strand are backed by dunes; the coast continues past Dunluce Castle to the Giant's Causeway. A 13 ft high bronze sculpture, inspired by the sails of local traditional boats, is located at East Strand. Portrush is home to one of Northern Ireland's best known nightclubs; the Kelly's complex consists of a multitude of bars and clubs and is Northern Ireland's largest nightclub complex.
It includes the nightclub Lush! which attracts many of the world's top DJs and hosts BBC Radio 1 events. Portrush is home to Barry's Amusements, the largest amusement park in Northern Ireland. Actor James Nesbitt once worked i
Belfast Lough is a large, intertidal sea inlet on the east coast of Northern Ireland. At its head is the city and port of Belfast, which sits at the mouth of the River Lagan; the lough opens into the North connects Belfast to the Irish Sea. Belfast Lough is a long and deep expanse of water free of strong tides; the inner part of the lough comprises a series of lagoons. The outer lough is restricted to rocky shores with some small sandy bays; the outer boundary of the lough is a line joining Orlock Blackhead. The main coastal towns are Carrickfergus on the northern shore. Other coastal settlements include Holywood, Helen's Bay and Whitehead. Belfast Lough is known in Irish as Loch Lao, Anglicised as'Lough Lee'. Earlier spellings include Loch Laigh; this name means "sea inlet of the calf". The River Lagan, which flows into it, was historically known as the Lao, it is believed that the lough and river were named after a "bovine goddess". In the 2nd century, the Greek geographer Ptolemy referred to it as the Logia.
Before Belfast grew into a city, the lough was known in English as'Carrickfergus Bay'. In Ulster-Scots it is called Craigfergus Loch. In 1689 during the War of the Two Kings the Williamite expeditionary force under Marshal Schomberg landed at Bangor, after the lough had been cleared of French shipping by George Rooke. Schomberg occupied the towns of Bangor and Belfast, before laying siege to Carrickfergus; the following year William III used the lough as a safe anchorage when he arrived in Ireland with reinforcements for Schomberg in the run-up to the victory over the Jacobite army at the Battle of the Boyne. The reserve is situated within the Belfast Harbour Estate on the shores of Belfast Lough; the RSPB manages some mudflats in Belfast Lough, together with an area of grassland with a pool and ditch complex near Belfast City Airport, a lagoon with a hide and viewpoints. The mudflats are important feeding areas for a variety of wading birds and wildfowl. At high tide, flocks of wading birds, such as redshank and black-tailed godwits, can be seen from the hide and viewing points.
The "inner lough" was made an Area of Special Scientific Interest in 1987. Recorded wildlife includes Crepidula fornicata Lamarck; the Belfast Lough Ramsar site, is 432.14 hectares in area, at latitude 54 38 00 N and longitude 05 54 00 W. It was designated a Ramsar site on 5 August 1998; the site contains the inner part of the lough including areas of intertidal foreshore, consisting of mudflats and lagoons, land, both reclaimed and being reclaimed, which form important feeding/roosting sites for significant numbers of wintering waders and wildfowl. The outer lough is restricted to rocky shores with some small sandy bays and beach-head salt marsh. In the outer lough, the Ramsar boundary coincides with that of Outer Belfast Lough Area of Special Scientific Interest but within the immediate harbour area the boundary has been redrawn to take into account permitted port related development and landfill which has taken place since the Inner Belfast Lough Area of Special Scientific Interest was declared in 1987.
Marine areas below mean. The Ramsar boundary coincides with that of the Belfast Lough Special Protection Area; the site qualifies under Criterion 3c of the Ramsar Convention by supporting internationally important numbers of common redshank in winter. The site regularly supports nationally important numbers of common shelduck, Eurasian oystercatcher, purple sandpiper, black-tailed godwit, bar-tailed godwit, Eurasian curlew and ruddy turnstone. Popular for sailing, the lough has three marinas: one at Bangor, one at Carrickfegus and a third located at Titanic Quarter. Belfast docks at the head of a lough contain the famous shipbuilder of the RMS Titanic fame, Harland & Wolff, is no longer building ships for the foreseeable future and has shed most of its workforce and diversified into repairing and refitting large tankers and oilrigs. Coastguard offices for the lough, although referred to as Belfast Coastguard, are located in the town of Bangor by the marina. In 1912, the RMS Titanic sailed down the lough from Belfast to the Irish Sea for her sea trials.
The lough hosts two Royal Yacht Clubs. One at Cultra just outside Holywood, The Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, the Royal Ulster based from Bangor. There are several other clubs spread around the lough: Ballyholme Yacht Club, Carrickfergus Sailing Club, Cockle Island Boat Club, County Antrim Yacht Club, Donaghadee Sailing Club and Holywood Yacht Club. For racing sailors, this is a competitor's dream, giving 30 square miles of open water and enough coastline to make short inshore races day-long affairs. Three main arteries serve the lough close to Belfast: the Herdman Channel on the County Antrim coast side; the Belfast-Larne railway line skirts the north shore from Carrickfergus and Downshire to Whitehead and northwards alongside Larne Lough to Larne Harbour. Trains connect Belfast Great Victoria Belfast Central to Larne Harbour; the Belfast-Bangor railway line skirts the south shore at Holywood railway station to Marino railway station and Cultra railway station. Trains connect Belfast Great Victoria Belfast Central to Bangor.
Cultra railway station is the home of the Ulster Transport Museum. List of Irish lochs and loughs List of Ramsar sites in Northern Ireland RSPB Belfast Lough N
BT Group plc is a British multinational telecommunications holding company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It has operations in around 180 countries and is the largest provider of fixed-line and mobile services in the UK, provides subscription television and IT services. BT's origins date back to the founding of the Electric Telegraph Company in 1846 which developed a nationwide communications network. In 1912, the General Post Office, a government department, became the monopoly telecoms supplier in the United Kingdom; the Post Office Act of 1969 led to the GPO becoming a public corporation. British Telecommunications, trading as British Telecom, was formed in 1980, became independent of the Post Office in 1981. British Telecommunications was privatised in 1984, becoming British Telecommunications plc, with some 50 percent of its shares sold to investors; the Government sold its remaining stake in further share sales in 1991 and 1993. BT is a Royal Warrant holder of the British Royal Family and has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange, a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange, is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
BT controls a number of large subsidiaries. BT Global Services division supplies telecoms services to corporate and government customers worldwide, its BT Consumer division supplies telephony and subscription television services in Great Britain to around 18 million customers. A number of owned telegraph companies operated in Britain from 1846 onwards. Among them were: The Electric Telegraph Company British and Irish Magnetic Telegraph Company British Telegraph Company London District Telegraph Company and the United Kingdom Telegraph CompanyThe Telegraph Act 1868 passed the control of all these to the newly formed GPO's Postal Telegraphs Department. With the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 the GPO began to provide telephone services from some of its telegraph exchanges. In 1882 the Postmaster-General, Henry Fawcett started to issue licences to operate a telephone service to private businesses and the telephone system grew under the GPO in some areas and private ownership in others.
The GPO's main competitor, the National Telephone Company, emerged in this market by absorbing other private telephone companies, prior to its absorption into the GPO in 1912. The trunk network was unified under GPO control in 1896 and the local distribution network in 1912. A few municipally owned services remained outside of GPO control; these were Kingston upon Hull and Guernsey. Hull still retains an independent operator, Kingston Communications, though it is no longer municipally controlled. In 1969 the GPO, a government department, became the Post Office, a nationalised industry separate from government. Post Office Telecommunications was one of the divisions; the British Telecom brand was introduced in 1980. On 1 October 1981, this became the official name of Post Office Telecommunications, which became a state-owned corporation independent of the Post Office under the provisions of the British Telecommunications Act 1981. In 1982 BT's monopoly on telecommunications was broken with the granting of a licence to Mercury Communications.
On 19 July 1982, the Government announced its intention to sell shares in British Telecom to the public. On 1 April 1984, British Telecommunications was incorporated as a public limited company in anticipation of the passing of the Telecommunications Bill; this Bill received Royal Assent on 12 April, the transfer to British Telecommunications plc from British Telecom as a statutory corporation of its business, its property, its rights and liabilities took place on 6 August 1984. All shares in the new plc were owned by the Government. In November 1984, 50.2 % of the new company was offered for sale to employees. Shares were listed in London, New York, Toronto and the first day of trading on was 3 December 1984; the Government sold half its remaining interest in December 1991 and the other half in July 1993. In July 1997, the new Labour Government relinquished its Special Share, retained at the time of the flotation, which had given it the power to block a takeover of the company, to appoint two non-executive directors to the Board.
The company changed its trading name to "BT" on 2 April 1991. In 1996 Peter Bonfield was appointed CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee, promising a "rollercoaster ride". In the 1990s, BT entered the Irish telecommunications market through a joint venture with the Electricity Supply Board, the Irish state owned power provider; this venture, entitled Ocean, found its main success through the launch of Ireland's first subscription-free dial-up ISP, oceanfree.net. As a telecoms company it found much less success targeting corporate customers. BT acquired 100% of this venture in 1999. In June 1994 BT and MCI Communications launched Concert Communications Services, a $1 billion joint venture between the two companies, its aim was to build a network which would provide easy global connectivity to multinational corporations. This alliance progressed further on 3 November 1996 when the two companies announced that they had agreed to a merger, creating a global telecommunications company called Concert plc.
The proposal gained approval from the European Commission, the US Department of Justice, the US Federal Communications Commission and looked set to proceed. However, in light of pressure from investors reacting to the slide in BT's share price on the London Stock Exchange, BT reduced its bid price for MCI, releasing MCI from its exclusivity clause and allowing it to speak to other interested parties. On 1 October 1997, Worldcom made a rival bid for MCI which wa