Beauty from Conflict: Murals of Belfast

A Brief History

The most political murals of Europe can be found in Belfast & Derry (Northern) Ireland. These murals both commemorate and communicate aspects of history, culture, and (now more than ever) artistic beauty. 

Some murals in Belfast date back to the 1920s and are reminiscent of traumatic historical events; a three-decade long conflict between those who wanted to remain a part of the United Kingdom and those who wished to withdraw. It was an aggressive and violent time. During this period (also referred to as, “The Troubles”), murals were commissioned by both sides with a common goal of spreading propaganda – walls displaying images meant to blame each other for atrocities like torture, famine, and murder. Some of the most intimidating have since been removed but a few original murals still remain.

If you want to dive deeper into the specific historical and political murals of Belfast I suggest an article written by Niamh McGovern – Find it here.

While venturing through the winding streets and alleys of Belfast, one can bare witness to the beauty born out of the violent conflict and civil unrest that marred the city in the 20th century. Now, artist are taking to the streets and beginning to tell new tales. Here are a few I captured:

This piece is by far my favorite mural that we found in Belfast. Art by: Sancho Medina You can see more from this artist on Instagram @sancho_medina or Facebook @sanchomdn
Artist Instagram @elphone
Artist Danni Simpson Instagram @dannisimpsonart
Artist: Andy Council Instagram @andycouncil
Artist Instagram @verzbelfast
Artist JMK Instagram @artjmk
The Northern Ireland Peace Wall
“Lost in the shadows of Belfast gone/ Abandoned to descend/ Its soul wilts/ Swept away/ No one speaks/ This/ ShameSee” – more from this artist on Instagram @faigyartist

Since our visit, I have found tour groups that will take you through the city discussing the murals and their history. However, because we did not actually do this I don’t want to link or suggest any specific companies. The tour is probably an awesome experience and I recommend future Belfast travelers to look into it.

Until next time,

Ali

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