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Murals in Northern Ireland

Ireland mural

The Murals in Northern Ireland depict the area’s past and present political and religious divisions and are the symbols of Northern Ireland. There are approximately 300 quality murals on display and many more in varying degrees of age and decay.

Belfast and Derry have the most famous political murals in Europe. The themes of murals express an idea or message and are generally an expression of the important values of the area. The Murals have been painted throughout the last century and represent all important historical and political developments for all to see in the form of unique wall paintings. William III of England was portrayed in 1908 on a white horse by the Ulster Loyalists to strengthen the Orange identity of the Ulster Protestants. It was in the late 1970s when the Irish Republican’s started wall paintings to visually display the social movement of the IRA fighting for a greater political voice and a United Ireland.

The Murals are mostly located in the working class areas of Northern Ireland, primarily in Belfast and Derry. The most well-known and easily identified mural is of Bobby Sands, the strike leader of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike. This mural is found on the side wall of Sinn Féin's Falls Road office in Belfast. Another would be the collection of Irish republican and international-themed murals located at what is known as 'The International Wall', also in Belfast. In 1969, shortly after the Battle of the Bogside, the slogan "You Are Now Entering Free Derry" was painted at Free Derry Corner. However, some people do not consider the Free Derry Corner to be a true mural because it consists only of words and not images. However, the Free Derry Corner has been used as a model for other murals in Northern Ireland.

Some of the Murals also commemorate events such as the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849), other moments in Irish history and events from Irish mythology. Murals representing peace and tolerance have become popular with school groups.

Join our Tour Host, Jo-Anne Tinlin, in July 2019 when the “Exploring Ireland Coast to Coast” tour will visit both Belfast and Derry for your opportunity to see some of these historical murals. 


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