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View Full Version : Beyond The Troubles: Murals of Belfast, Northern Ireland



Ulf
Sunday, August 5th, 2007, 03:06 PM
Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, has been home to some of the worst violence Ireland has endured. The Troubles, between the late 1960’s and 1998, divided the nation, mainly between Nationalist Catholics and Unionist Protestants. The Agreement on Good Friday (April 10th, 1998) brought an end to 30 years of suffering and bitter feuding between these communities. Throughout The Troubles both sides painted large murals on buildings, particularly in residential areas on houses at the end of terraced rows:

http://night-fall.net/belfast-1.jpg

Many of these murals glorify paramilitary groups such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) or the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The murals of Belfast have acted as beacons to people, declaring allegiances from one area to the next:

http://night-fall.net/belfast-2.jpg

Murals of Belfast have in the past and still do create a sense belonging and identity for residents. However, not all such murals were designed to incite hatred or divide communities. Some show a more Celtic flair and inject colour into less established areas:

http://night-fall.net/belfast-3.jpg

Murals concerning the political polices of the USA and the war in Israel have been popular as well, because many Belfast residents feel they can relate to the violence in other countries:

http://night-fall.net/belfast-5.jpg

As Belfast emerges from a decade of peace brought on by the Good Friday Agreement, things have begun to change. Murals promoting a political or religious belief within Northern Ireland are being painted over and replaced by neutral colors or advertising for local businesses:


http://night-fall.net/belfast-6.jpg

Iconic soccer figures such as George Best and Samuel English now grace some of the walls too. Belfast residents now prefer looking up to a different kind of hero than the paramilitary fighters of the past. A new generation is emerging, growing up in less dangerous times:

http://night-fall.net/belfast-7.jpg

It is fair to say the murals of Belfast are as diverse as they are artistic, made with dedication and skill by people of different communities and differing opinions, each wanting to make their voice heard.

They are a way for people to make known who they are.

A way of belonging.

Source (http://www.weburbanist.com/2007/08/03/beyond-the-troubles-murals-of-belfast-northern-ireland/)

Fafner
Sunday, August 5th, 2007, 06:59 PM
Interesting article Einzelgänger. What's the opinion of Irish people? Are they mostly happy or unhappy about these murals?

nordicdusk
Tuesday, January 1st, 2008, 11:27 PM
I always find it hard to comment on N Ireland and the troubles because i live as far away from it as you can get. Im sure if it was on my door step i would have a different view.

Its always strange to me that people that live in the south of the country can say that the IRA are heros and such stupid comments when they are at a safe distance and do not have direct contact with the day to day fear of being blown up.

When the IRA was started its function was to stop what was happening in the country with the British taking our land. It was made up of local everyday Irish men that loved their country and freedom. When they shot or killed anyone it was army related men against men. They fought with guns and tactics but with pride in themselves and what they were doing was right.

I see the IRA of then and the volunteers of the 1916 rising as heros not the men of the 70,s 80,s and 90,s that blew up public places and killed children and women going about there daily lives. Where is the hero element in that.

How can murals of masked men that killed women and children on both sides IRA and UVF be kept in a society thats trying to move forward and grow.I have spoken to friends of my grandfather years ago about this and they were involved in early IRA activity and they were so angry with how the original ideas of the men that started it were perverted by crazed lunatics with no value on human life.

Murals to people like George Best is something people of all religions can be proud of. He is a true Irish hero that both north and south can be proud of.