Northern Ireland murals

Murals are large works of art painted on walls, fences and the sides of buildings. Northern Ireland’s political murals are a stark reminder of the island’s nationalist and religious divisions. More than 2,000 murals have been documented in Northern Ireland and most can be seen today. Many of these murals can appear confronting to visitors. Some feature intimidating ‘guardian figures’ who watch over neighbourhoods, their eyes and weapons following the viewer as he or she moves. Some murals contain implied or explicit threats of violence, scrawled on ebony backgrounds. Some are memorials or commemorative pieces, paying tribute and martyrising dead paramilitary volunteers. Others are gentle depictions of the innocents lost during the Troubles, like 14-year-old Annette McGavigan. With their emotive content and clear political perspectives, most Northern Ireland murals are obvious examples of propaganda. But they also stand as historical evidence, telling a story that cannot be ignored. These pages contain a sample of Northern Ireland political murals, for study and analysis. All images on this page are © Rebekah Poole and may not be republished or used without the express permission of the author or Alpha History.