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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Friday, 20 September 2019

Belfast Murals.

My trip to Northern Ireland was well overdue. I have been to the Republic of Ireland a few times but only once had I crossed the border into N.I and that was at the height of the troubles. In the early seventies, I travelled with my then boyfriend (who was from Londonderry) very briefly through N.Ireland. We had come over from England by ferry and embarked at Larne near Belfast. As my brother was in the armed forces this was not a safe place for me to be and we did not stop as we drove through the country and across the border on our way to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. However, I was shocked to see the soldiers with blackened faces carrying guns. I had never seen armed police or soldiers before and it was unbelievable to think this was happening in the UK.  I think J wanted me to see what it was like living in N.I.

As a result of the Anglo-Irish War of 1919-21, six of the nine counties of the province of Ulster became known as Northern Ireland, remaining part of the United Kingdom, but with their own government. At the start of the civil rights movement in 1968, many catholics  could not vote in the local elections. Only those who paid rates could vote and as many catholics were unemployed they wanted some sort of equality and fairness when it came to employment and housing.  This demand for equality led to the existence of the IRA and Sinn Fein. So whereas the troubles began with a peaceful objective and protest it became a war zone between Catholics and Protestants; between Loyalists and Republicans. During the 30 years of the Troubles, over 3600 were killed with many more thousands injured.  300,000 British soldiers served there with more than 500 killed. It is twenty years since the Peace process resulted in the Good Friday Agreement  in 1998. By and large there is peace in N.I. now but there are still isolated incidents of violence with some people not willing to move forward and embrace peace.













 The gates between adjoining Loyalist and Republican areas are closed from 6.30 pm and not opened until 6.30 am. You have to go a long way round to enter once these gates are locked.



















 6 metre high peace walls are still there as neither side wants them removed. The walls are so high so that missiles can't be thrown over them.













Since the 1970s, 2000 murals have been documented. Here are just a few.
Just off the Falls Road is one of the most photographed murals. It is a memorial to Bobby Sands, elected as an M.P. as he was dying. He was the first of 10 republican hunger strikers to die, aged 27 in 1981.



A memorial to those on the Republican side who lost their lives during The Troubles.














The International wall of murals.












Some Loyalist murals.  If you can see their faces they are no longer alive.
















More recent murals now focus on other events. George Best, the footballer, for instance and the Titanic.









15 comments:

  1. Many thanks for sharing these murals, quite a collection here.

    All the best Jan

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  2. I didn't realize there were still walls between the sections. The Brexit situation won't he helpful either for either side will it?
    Of course you would have done the iFly! You are such a risk taker as seen in all your travels. Dan has no intention of jumping from a plane either. This was it for him.

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  3. What incredible murals. Thank you for sharing them with me. I hope that Brexit will not reopen these wounds, which are not healed, obviously. :-(

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  4. Great photos and a good brief history. I didn't know about the gates.

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  5. I didn't know about the wall. Great pictures. Thanks for sharing the history.

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  6. I lived in NI for nine months and still haven't seen those murals! I heard about them and have seen some in Derry (or Londonderry), but not in Belfast.
    I never felt that much at ease living in NI. Everybody was nice and friendly, but for some reason it never seemed real. July 12th and the world got crazy again. My prejudices from before never were dispelled.

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  7. I remember well the war between the catholics and protestants, at that time I worked with an English and an NI girl in an American company. It was terrible. So when I saw the city, the murals and all these memories I thought how many people were killed again in the name of a religion ! And there was still the feeling that in this city something was wrong. I only hope with the Brexit it will not start over again !

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  8. So interesting. I was there a bit later than you, 1978 or 1979 I think, and was also stunned by the armed soldiers, the bombed out areas of Londonderry, etc. The most shocking was having my bags searched when I went into a store in Belfast, something that is now a regular occurrence everywhere, in schools! in airports! at historical sites! How the world has changed.

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  9. This is really interesting, some parts sad. But it is a great way to document the murals. Because I live to far away, it is also educational for me.

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  10. I didn't like that city with all the hate murals. It is a shame to have to look at them for the people who live there....

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  11. Hello, what a wonderful collection of murals. The memorial is beautiful too. Enjoy your day!

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  12. This was such a good review of what is really recent history .. I thought it interesting that people on both sides don’t want to tear down the wall. Here ..between us and our neighboring country, I’m so upset that hateful people want to build one.

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  13. Some very talented people painted those

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