A Peaceful Walk in Belfast

Murals in Northern Ireland, are strong symbols and depicting the region’s past and present political and religious divisions. There is peace now, but 1968-1998, ”the troubles” between working class protestants and catholics were very severe. I remember hearing and reading of them as a young girl. The IRA bombings made black headlines in our papers. In my first teaching classes I remember using a text called ”The Sniper” – about Northern Ireland. It was a ”must” to see these murals in reality.

In Belfast, it is estimated that there are approximately 300 quality murals on display,  These murals are mainly to be found in two streets – Shankill Road (protestant) and Falls Road (Catholic) in western Belfast.

The themes of murals can range from the 1981 Irish hunger strike, with strike leader Bobby Sands,  to murals of fallen heroes and international solidarity with revolutionary groups. For example we found Cuba’s Fidel Castro and South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.

After walking these two famous streets, we went to the Peace Wall. This wall goes all the way along this street, and most of the paintings are very neatly done. If you look closely, every letter and separate painting is covered in texts on peace. Imagine how wonderful it must have been to participate in the making! Finally, ”War is Over”!

Annonser

22 comments on “A Peaceful Walk in Belfast

  1. It’s beautiful how the murals are changing recently. Schoolchildren got involved and painted new murals celebrating peace and the famous gunman on sandy row was painted over with a commemoration of the world war. Truly lovely to see progress 💕

  2. I’m now reading a book about Belfast by a Polish lady leaving there for years. I learn for the first time that the Trouble means not only clashes on the streets but also secret killings and tortures used by both sides. And the hatred is still there. And a lot of problems with alcohol, drugs and lack of future. There are a few hundreds peace walls all over Belfast. It’s a deeply hurt city, if I can say so.

    • It is…but according to the people we talked to – they manage to live side by side now, as nonfighting neighbours. Those two roads run parallell.

  3. A-C, yes … Northern Ireland has shown that everything is possible when it comes the power of the people and the will to make changes. Even if I lived in Belfast for 10 years I have never really paid any attention to the murals, they are everywhere, even on my street – lived next door neighbour the Ian Paisley’s church. Very glad over that they have decided to keep the murals.
    Shankille and Falls Road wasn’t any area to visit in my days, even if I spend a birthday on a very shady on Falls Road once.

  4. I love how the content of the murals has changed over time as peace has been allowed to flourish. The peace wall also looks more peaceful now than when I last saw it :o)

  5. Fascinating, A-C. I was in Ireland during the mid-seventies and we stayed overnight north of Dublin. When we walked to a restaurant, we had to go over a bridge that was being guarded by lots of soldiers with machine guns. Found out it was the road to Belfast and a shipment of some sort was expected. The soldiers were there to guard against any attacks. That was the farthest north we went, despite Irish people telling us they went to Northern Ireland and weren’t worried. Not for me!

    I also thought I’d never see the Berlin Wall come down. Another great moment.

    janet

    • Interesting memories. We went to Berlin when the wall was coming down. Strange things happen…maybe we should not give up on us, human beings.

  6. Amazing! Isn’t it interesting how prevalent good graffiti has become and how much interest it can add in the right places?? I was in Ireland in 1972 and the troubles were very frightening. I was so happy to see things calm down. Such a sad time.

    • I suppose you did not visit the worst areas? I agree on the good graffiti – it is more than recognized as an art form nowadays.

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