Northern Irish murals


Northern Irish murals

Northern Irish murals have become symbols of Northern Ireland, depicting the region's past and present divisions.

Northern Ireland contains arguably the most famous political murals. Almost 2,000 murals have been documented in Northern Ireland since the 1970s. The murals more often than not represent one side's political point of view.

History

Almost all of the Northern Ireland murals promote either republican or loyalist political beliefs, often glorifying paramilitary groups such as the Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Ulster Freedom Fighters, while others commemorate people who have lost their lives in paramilitary or military attacks.

The most famous of the murals in Northern Ireland may well be Free Derry Corner, where the slogan "You Are Now Entering Free Derry" was painted in 1969, shortly after the Battle of the Bogside. However, some do not consider Free Derry Corner to be a true mural as it is only words and not images. Free Derry Corner has been used as a model for other murals in Northern Ireland, including the "You Are Now Entering Loyalist Sandy Row" mural in Belfast, which was a response to the republican message of Free Derry Corner, and the "You Are Now Entering "Derry Journal" Country" mural, which is an advertisement for a Derry publication.

Not all murals in Northern Ireland are political or religious in nature, with some commemorating events such as the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849), and other moments in Irish history. Many portray events from Irish mythology, though images from Irish myths are often incorporated into political murals. A few murals avoid the subject of Ireland altogether, instead focusing on such neutral subjects as litter prevention and the C. S. Lewis novel "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/mccormick/photos/no1919.htm] . Murals representing peace and tolerance are becoming increasingly popular with school groups who have children either design or actually paint murals in areas around their schools. Additionally with many paramilitaries now involved in community work there has been a move to decommission many of the hard-edged murals across Northern Ireland. Some warlike murals have been replaced with iconic figures from the area, for example George Best and James Joseph Magennis. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/4562793.stm BBC website story on the softening of some murals in loyalist areas of Belfast] ] This change was further highlighted in 2007, when the Bogside Artists artists were invited to Washington, D.C. for the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival. The three artists were invited to recreate murals in the Washington Mall. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6231216.stm Painting a new image of NI, BBC News] ]

See also

*Bogside Artists
*Public art
*Propaganda

References

External links

* [http://www.belfastmurals.net/ Quality photographs of Belfast murals]
* [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/murals/ Political Wall Murals in Northern Ireland]
* [http://www.scottishloyalists.co.uk/murals.htm A collection of loyalist murals in Northern Ireland]
* [http://irelandsown.net/murals.htm A collection of republican murals in Northern Ireland]
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/abusinan/sets/1628534/ Collection of Republican Murals and Monuments]
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/abusinan/sets/1628528/ Collection of Loyalist Murals]
* [http://flickr.com/groups/nimurals/ Flickr group: Northern Ireland political murals]
* [http://peacelinetours.g2gm.com/reviews/murals.html Ireland mural reviews from residents and tourists]

Further reading

*cite book | author=B. Rolston | title=Drawing Support: Murals in the North of Ireland| location=Belfast | year=1992|
*cite book | author=Oona Woods | title=Seeing is Believing? Murals in Derry| location=Guildhall | publisher=Printing Press | year=1995| id=ISBN 0-946451-31-1
*cite book | author=B. Rolston | title=Drawing Support 2: Murals of War and Peace| location=Belfast | year=1995|
*cite book | author=B. Rolston | title=Drawing Support 3: Murals and Transition in the North of Ireland| location=Belfast | year=2003|


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