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”!