Belfast: City of Murals

Belfast, the largest city in Northern Ireland, is known as the City of Murals. Vibrant murals are painted on the outside walls of buildings throughout the city. They provide visitors a visual political commentary depicting both the City's troubled history and its current attempts to end the divisiveness that has characterized Belfast for generations.

Great Britain and Northern Ireland
by Jacques Arnold.
West Mailing : Patricia Arnold, 2006-
Queen Victoria, the British Monarch who dominated the nineteenth century, has left an ever expanding family of descendants, including most continental royal families, now numbering more than 1350 including spouses, and stretching to eight generations. This book contains the Family Trees of all her descendants. This is the Master Volume of the Great Britain series of this publication, and extends to 213 pages.
Making sense of the troubles : the story of the conflict in Northern Ireland
David McKittrick and David McVea.
Chicago : New Amsterdam Books, c2002.
Compellingly written and evenhanded in its judgements, this is by far the clearest account of what happened through the years in the Northern Ireland conflict, and why.
The Northern Ireland peace process : ending the troubles?
Thomas Hennessey.
New York : Palgrave, c2001.
This book traces the genesis and evolution of the Irish Peace Process. The author argues that the Peace Process was the merging of two quite separate streams. First, there were inter-party talks which involved the British and Irish governments and the constitutional parties in Northern Ireland. Second, there was the inter-nationalist dialogue, initiated by John Hume, which gradually moved republicans away from violence towards the political arena. The Belfast agreement was a junction of these two processes, attempting a compromise between the center of unionist and nationalist politics.

The murals reflect the political and religious allegiances of the people living in Belfast's neighborhoods. Some depict events during the 'Troubles', while others honor specific people. On one side stands the unionists -- those who want Northern Ireland to remain part of Great Britain and are generally Protestant. Opposing them are the nationalists-- those who would like Northern Ireland to unite with the Republic of Ireland (the independent nation that makes up the southern part of the island) and are mostly Catholic.

Belfast's other attractions

Belfast offers more than murals.  Visitors will enjoy:

Navan Centre
Queen's University
C.S. Lewis Trail
W5 Museum
Irish pubs
Five-star dining
Black taxi tours

(Explore Belfast)

Today there is hope for reconciling the two sides. Community leaders are attempting to project a more positive, inclusive, and non-violent image of the city. They are doing this by painting over many murals that glorify violence and by commissioning new murals that are non-political, non-sectarian and positive. One of them shows the DeLorean car from the "Back to the Future" movies (DeLoreans were built in Belfast). Another depicts two characters from C.S. Lewis's "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" (the author was born and raised there).

The murals of Belfast are some of the most beautiful and interesting features of this city. Old or new, the murals show how art can help document the past and shape the future. No visit to Belfast is complete without a walking or cab tour to see the murals up close.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff