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Northern Irish Muralism contains references to and descriptions of controversial political ideologies as they are relevant to the subject of the page, which may be distressing for some people. User discretion is advised. This page exists for the purpose of documentation. The administrators and moderators do not necessarily endorse the philosophy associated with the aesthetic.

Northern Irish Muralism is a political and propagandistic art movement in Northern Ireland which depicts the history and past of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (also called The Troubles). The art is made from several political points of view, including but not limited to Unionism, Ulster loyalism and Irish Republicanism. Rarely, some murals may have no political affiliation.
Generally, as they represent the history of The Troubles, they also use political and historical symbology representing the groups and political factions, which were or still are active in the area, the British royalty, the soldiers of a specific conflict, etc. Sometimes the murals may also honor and remember the people who passed away during terrorist attacks in the area, or people who fought for their faction during The Troubles (either loyalist Irish republican).



An early Loyalist mural in Derry, made sometime around the 1920s.

From a cultural context, Northern Ireland is home to some of the best propagandistic art in the world due to its recent history. Many of the most famous political murals in Europe can be found in the Northern Irish cities of Belfast and Derry. Over 2000 murals have been made in Northern Ireland since the 1970s. The most well-known mural is possibly the Bobby Sands in Belfast. Another well known touristic attraction in West Belfast includes the International Wall[1] (also called solidarity wall or Peace Wall), where many murals can be found, representing not only Irish issues but international ones and solidarity for other like-minded movements.

The first Northern Irish Muralist artwork can be traced back to 1908 when various Ulster loyalists portrayed William of Orange on a white horse to promote Orange identity in Ulster. Irish Republican paintings on murals started appearing in the 1970s. Originally they were only supossed to represent the Irish reunification movement, however they became more radical after the IRA group got more serious about its political labor in Northern Ireland. This artistic practice has been conserved and nowadays is considered part of Northern Irish urban culture and symbology.


Aspects shared by both political factions[]

  • Political slogans and symbols
  • Propagandistic art
  • Imagery representing war or terrorism
  • Art representing important political figures of each movement
  • Art representing political groups which were or are active in Northern Ireland
  • Firearms and weapons

In British Loyalist Murals[]

  • Flags of the United Kingdom, including the Union Jack, the English flag, the Scottish flag and the British Ulster flag
  • Propagandistic depictions of the British royalty
  • Art representing British politicians

In Irish Republican Murals[]

  • Celtic knots and elements from Irish/Celtic mythology
  • Irish symbology, including the harp or the coats of arms of the four traditional Irish counties (Ulster, Connaught, Leinster and Munster)
  • Art representing IRA members and important figures of the Irish independence movement
  • Art representing solidarity with other similiar political movements


As it surged as a form of political expression, Northern Irish Muralism is closely related to the political, historical and social context of Northern Ireland. The murals reflect the deep divisions between the two main communities in Northern Ireland: the unionist/loyalist community, which identifies with Britishness and wishes to remain part of the United Kingdom, and the nationalist/republican community, which seeks a united Ireland independent from British rule. Because of this, the murals often represent key political figures of each side, key historical events during The Troubes, and symbols associated with each community, including flags, symbology, coats of arms and other national symbols. Some murals might also completely reject the conflict of Ireland and instead represent solidarity for other political movements or promote pacifism.

Because of this, visual elements in the murals often act as representatives of history of The Troubles, and therefore they visually narrate historical interpretations and fuel cultural/political identity. Sometimes they are also used to mark territory, as Republican neighborhoods are more likely to have Republican murals and viceversa. Also, as they visually narrate some key moments of Irish history, they have become a touristic attraction.



  • The Belfast Mural Guide by Robert Kerr (2014)


British Loyalist Murals[]

Irish Republican Murals[]