Ealing

Within the limits of the capital city of England, London, the name Ealing has two associations – the first, and arguably less important, is as the name of a town. The second, more notable, mention of Ealing on the geographical records is as a borough; namely, the London Borough of Ealing.

The London Borough of Ealing is to the west of the city limits, and is surrounded by boroughs best known for their residential usage rather than as the homes of historical sites and tourist attractions – a description which all fits Ealing. It is bordered to the south by the Borough of Hounslow, to north by the Borough of Brent, to the west by the Borough of Hillingdon and to the east by Hammersmith and Fulham. However, as the eastern most borough next to Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham is closer to the city center and thus does have some of the more recognizable tourist and shopping districts. In the cluster around Ealing, however, this is the exception rather than the rule.

The London Borough of Ealing covers three parliamentary constituencies, all of which elect a politician to the House of Commons using the first past the post voting system (like all of the United Kingdom). The three constituencies crossing over borough lines are as follows: Ealing, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush, Ealing North and Ealing Southall. All three seats are currently held by Labor candidates.

The other geographical appearance of Ealing is, as mentioned, as the name of a town – fittingly, within the Borough of Ealing itself. Ealing town itself is a suburban development, which is occasionally referred to locally as the ‘Queen of the Suburbs’. This is a matter of some pride for the Ealing council and local residents.

Ealing has a long standing tradition of a large Irish community, something which still exists today. This is no more apparent than when studying the sports played in Ealing; despite its size, it was not until the 2008 to 2009 season that a football team registered as Ealing Town and began professional matches. There are, however, Gaelic sporting teams in operation in Ealing and there have been for some time. There is also a disproportionate amount of Irish pubs and bars in Ealing, bringing a touch of Ireland to this most London of boroughs.

There is also an unfortunate link remembered between the Irish community in Ealing, both at home and abroad. The town found itself the victim of terrorism, as at midnight on August 2nd 2001, a hidden bomb in a vehicle exploded. The nearby streets were damaged, but fortunately there were only minor human injuries. The act was blamed on dissident Irish Republicans, namely the Real IRA, who saw this Irish hub in England a contravention of what Ireland should stand for. Their plan of causing terror and worry backfired, and thankfully the English and Irish communities of Ealing drew together all the more in the wake of the blast – determined to show that nothing can rock this more stable of London boroughs.