Everything You Need To Know About Belfast Murals – Your 18 Options!

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Murals honor, convey and illustrate facets of culture and history. Therefore, a mural conveys a thought or message and could be interpreted as reflecting values important to that community. This article has everything you need to know about Belfast Murals.

Everything You Need To Know About Belfast Murals
Image by Paolo Trabattoni from Pixabay

Here is Everything You Need To Know About Belfast Murals

Northern Ireland has a troubled political history despite being lively and calm. Forty years ago, Belfast was a city at war. Violence broke out between some citizens who wanted to reunite with Ireland and those who preferred to remain under British control.

Due to unrest between Nationalist and Unionist citizens over the partition of Northern Ireland, which designated the Republic of Ireland an independent state in 1921 and with Northern Ireland under British control.

Photo by  craigscottwalke from Depositphotos

The 1980s saw the continuation of this bloodshed. Nearly 2,000 wall mural paintings were erected depicting these clashes as paramilitary groups, including Republicans (Nationalists) and Loyalists (Unionists), developed during the conflict and spread bloodshed throughout the nation.

Explore the streets and take in the views of the vibrant mural of Belfast reflecting this time to understand Everything you need to know about Belfast Murals and about this complex period of history.

Republican and Nationalist Murals in Belfast

Everything you need to know about Belfast Murals of Republicans and Nationalists.

1. Bobby Sands

Bobby Sands, an Irish volunteer for the Provisional Irish Republican Army and a member of the UK Parliament, died while on a hunger strike in HM Prison Maze (9 March 1954–5 May 1981).

He oversaw the 1981 hunger strike by Irish republican inmates, who were protesting the elimination of their Special Category Status.

He was elected as a member of the British Parliament while on strike as a candidate opposed to the H-Block and an Armagh political prisoner.

 2. The Revolutionary Hero Nelson Mandela’s Mural 

The Nationalist struggle in Northern Ireland is compared to Nelson Mandela’s anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, where he was president from 1994 to 1999, in this mural.

Everything You Need To Know About Belfast Murals
Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

The mural has, however, started to signify peace and stability in post-conflict societies in recent years. One of the most well-known murals in Belfast is the one depicting the legendary freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.

 3. Clowney Phoenix 

One of the earliest paintings depicts the republican Phoenix, together with the symbols for the four ancient provinces of Ireland—Ulster, Connacht, Munster, and Leinster—and the slogans “Maggie Thatcher think again, don’t let our brave lads die in vain”—a reference to the 1981 hunger strikes.

No ball play, please. Local graffiti on a painted mural. In 2013, the painting was unveiled on a section of Belfast’s Peace Walls. Republican mural in Beechmount, West Belfast, on Clowney Street, 1989.

4. Easter Lily

Irish republicans honor those Irish republican rebels who died in the 1916 Easter Rising. They were imprisoned afterward by wearing an easter lily, a badge in the shape of a calla lily blossom.

Wearing an Easter Lilly is encouraged by a mural to honor Ireland’s fallen soldiers.

5. Free POW

A Painting urging the liberation of Republican war prisoners. A combination of scenes from the last 30 years, including Mairead Farrell in Armagh prison, men at the blanket, and the cages at Long Kesh, are depicted in this 1997 artwork.

Everything You Need To Know About Belfast Murals
Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

There have been marches in support of the hunger strikers as well as protests against Margaret Thatcher, plastic bullets, internment, and censorship. 

6. I Did Cuisine Volunteers

Three armed people are depicted in this stunning artwork gazing into the setting sun. fantastic use of color. Michael Magee, Teddy O’Neill, Eamon McCormick, James Quigley, etc. Also depicted are Republican activists Mary Fegan and Alice Franklyn.

7. James Connolly

James Connolly was a Scottish and Irish socialist leader who lived from 1868 until May 12, 1916, a leader of a trade union, an Irish Republican, and one of the organizers of the 1916 Easter Rising. On one of our Belfast cab trips, you may see this mural, which is one of the Falls Road murals.

Despite being proud of his Irish heritage, he also participated in politics in Scotland and the United States. As a result of his participation in the 1916 Easter Rising, he was executed by a British firing squad.

8. McCrudden ORawe Jordan Memorial

Republican mural at Ballymurphy, West Belfast, on Divismore Way. At the top of the mural are Easter Lilies, a Celtic design, the symbols of the four Irish provinces (Connacht, Ulster, Leinster, and Munster), as well as three armed IRA volunteers( Mundo O’Rawe, Pearse Jordan, and Bobby McCrudden,).

In 1972, the army shot and killed Robert McCrudden, a 19-year-old IRA Volunteer, during a firefight in the Ardoyne. A 27-year-old IRA volunteer named Mundo O’Rawe was fatally shot in 1973 near the Falls. In 1992, an RUC undercover unit shot and killed IRA Volunteer Pearse Jordan, age 21, on Falls Road.

9. No More Pain

A “New” mural stating “love” and “respect”. The embers of tension were quenched by talk of a fresh beginning as the heat of the Troubles subsided in the middle of the 1990s.

The length of time it will take for the paramilitary groups to entirely disband cannot be forecasted because the peace process has lasted for decades. The mural’s appearance has altered over the last few years.

Community organizations have put in a lot of effort to replace the gunmen on the gable wall with messages of success and hope. A renowned mural on Cultra Street in Tiger’s Bay in north Belfast has been replaced.

10. The Newlodge Six

Time to confront the truth. A sign next to the mural reads: “Six Sons of the New Lodge are remembered”. Ambrose Hardy, Tony “TC” Campbell, Jim McCann, Joan Loughran, Jim Sloan, and Brendan Maguire got killed by British state forces during the seizure of our nation on the night of February 3 and 4, 1973.

11. The Falls Road Wall

A large mural depicting many Republican issues. Some of Belfast’s most recognizable images can be seen along and near Falls Road, including the Solidarity Wall and the Bobby Sands mural.

Everything You Need To Know About Belfast Murals
Image by alessandra barbieri from Pixabay

However, the images’ backstory is one of pride, identity, and strife. Falls Road has a strong sense of community.

Loyalist Murals in Belfast

Everything you need to know about Belfast Murals of Loyalists.

1. Cuchulainn Loyalist

This depiction of the Celtic warrior Cuchulainn stands in for the fight of the loyalists. The mythological figure of the Táin Bó Cáilnge, Cu Chulainn, is seen severely wounded but dying erect while fastened to a pole.

The picture was well known. In large part, the bronze figure in the General Post Office (GPO) in Dublin served as the inspiration for this sculpture. C. Chulainn, however, stood in for the 1916 Easter Rising at the GPO. And republican muralists in the North replicated the picture of C. Chulainn in that symbolic form on walls.

2. For God and Ulster

A tribute to the UVF in Castlereagh. Freedom must be claimed by the oppressed since it is never willingly granted by the oppressor.

The Ulster Volunteer Force spray-painted this MLK quotation on a wall in Belfast. This exemplifies the paramilitary organizations that practice loyalty, like the UVF.

Everything You Need To Know About Belfast Murals
Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

3. For Valour

A mural of loyalists. A smaller 14th Royal Irish Rifles mural’s side wall features a recounting of the bravery of two local Carrick Fergus residents who each received the Victoria Cross. St. Daniel Cambridge served in the Crimea and Pte. James Crichton served with the New Zealand troops in France during World War I.

4. Freedom 2000

A Mural painted by a loyalist shows Cell Block H in the Maize Prison. Many of these prisoners were supposed to be released following the 1998 Agreement. Mural honoring inmates housed in the H-Blocks and Long Kesh.

In the past, the letters UDA and UFF were displayed on the left and right flanks, respectively, with LPOW at the bottom of each. Gertrude Star – Crest of the “Gertrude Star F.B. East Belfast”, with the names of the six counties.

5. Golden Jubilee

In the queen’s Golden Jubilee mark. This enduring UFF/UDA artwork in Rathcoole honors the Golden Jubilee of the Queen (50th anniversary 1952-2002). It once had a (painted) “plaque” at the bottom, but that has since been painted away. Elizabeth II will surpass Victoria as the British monarch with the longest reign on September 10, 2015.

6. Summer of 69 – the Devastation of the Troubles

Everything you need to know about Belfast Murals artwork by a Loyalist group called Summer of 69 shows the destruction brought on by the Troubles. The painting, which is suitably titled the Summer of 1969, is widely seen as marking the start of the conflict.

There was a significant influx of people and extensive home devastation. The image of furniture thrown in the street and the word “stolen” painted on an empty house adjacent to a burned-out one will stay in your memory.

There are reports of the deceased being transported through the sewers.  When visitors view it from open-top buses, they undoubtedly find it to be beautiful, but these people weren’t there, and many of them weren’t even born.

Few Other Belfast Murals To Know

Everything you need to know about Belfast Murals of these different artists spread the beauty of art and colors.

1. Geisha Mural by Dan Kitchener

Everything you need to know about Belfast Murals created by a skilled artist professional muralist Dan Kitchener has painted more murals besides the Geisha Mural that is currently located at the intersection of Northumberland Street and Shankill Road.

People were in awe by Kitchener’s portrayal of a Belfast Black Taxi in Tokyo before the Geisha artwork. Check out the mural that still occupies the same space today.

2. The Great Famine

Everything you need to know about Belfast Murals depicting the famine’s hunger. The artwork that bears the same name as the Bryan Adams song is ironic in that it depicts two young children in the wreckage who are unable to enjoy their summer.

Overview

The disparities between the Republican and Protestant murals, highlight significant distinctions in how these communities view their shared ideals as both an end in itself and a means of working toward common objectives.

Photo by John Sones from Shutterstock

There is a wide variety of Republican murals, and how they’re used in Catholic neighborhoods. Everything you need to know about Belfast Murals projects in a time of chaos and resistance.

A reminder of the contrast between the past and present is provided by the murals. Less optimistically, they also draw attention to the terrifying notion that the past might not truly be history.

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