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The Belfast Murals

The West Belfast areas of Shankhill Road and Falls Road are decorated with a variety of wall murals. These murals express the political loyalties of the people who live in the surrounding working class neighbourhoods.

Yes, But Is It Art?

Painted on homes and other buildings, the murals represent an art form as worthy of a guided tour as any museum in the country.

Styles

Some are ornate works of art, embellished and professional, while others impress viewers with minimal artistry and stark emotion. The colourful murals depict a variety of scenes ranging from King William's victory in the Battle of the Boyne to images taken from the Book of Kells.

Unionist/Loyalist Themes

  • Historically, unionist/loyalist murals commemorated the victory of King William
  • Recent murals have become less celebratory
  • They are military and functional
  • They have also moved more into the realm of social commentary

Nationalist/Republican Themes

Nationalist/republican murals surfaced mainly as a response to the hunger strike of IRA inmates around 1980. The nationalist murals typically include

  • Symbols of rebirth such as phoenixes
  • Images of heroes and revolutionaries from all around the world such
  • Slogans that proclaim persistence in the pursuit of freedom

Comedian Billy Connolly tours the political murals of Belfast in 2009

Non-Political Murals

In recent years, non-political murals have emerged. When Belfast football hero George Best died, both communities created murals in his honour.

Official Link

http://www.belfast-murals.co.uk/- Contains a Google map with links / images of all the murals.

Image

Mural of The Beatles. Photo by Beverley Goodwin

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