War Murals; Belfast, Northern Ireland
This is actually the back of someone’s home. In Northern Ireland, there are about 2,000 of these murals painted on houses. They vividly depict the region’s recent past, known here simply as “The Troubles.”
I took this photo in the Protestant section of Belfast. The homeowners are staunch “Unionists” (also referred to as “Loyalists”), meaning they believe Northern Ireland should remain under British control. And they’re not shy about expressing their willingness to back-up their beliefs with force.
The Catholic part of town is just a few blocks away, on the other side of a steel-reinforced wall that still divides much of Belfast. There, the murals present an entirely different point of view.
The Catholics who want the British out of Northern Ireland are known as “Republicans.” Their murals support the Irish Republican Army and salute people like Bobby Sands, a member of the IRA who died in prison during a hunger strike.
Tensions in the region have greatly subsided in recent years. Violence between Catholics and Protestants is becoming more and more infrequent.
Fortunately, a wave of peace has made these murals outdated relics of the past, rather than realistic portraits of life today in Northern Ireland.
Copyright © Dan Fellner 2012