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Belfast Murals Explained

The Belfast Murals Explained

Northern Ireland has a complicated political past, and although today the country is prosperous, peaceful, and vibrant this was not always the case. Rich in culture there are many Belfast murals you need to see.

From the 1960s until the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, Northern Ireland was a country at war. The conflict between Nationalist and Unionist citizens over the partition of Northern Ireland, and its British Control, resulted in extreme violence, destruction, and killings lasting 30 years and more. This conflict however can be traced back hundreds of years to the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, when Britain first seized Northern Ireland from the Irish.

Belfast Troubles Tour

Northern Ireland’s murals today are arguably the most famous political murals in the world, symbols of the troubles, depicting these conflicts, political and religious divisions, and commemorating, communicating, and displaying aspects of culture and history. Today there are over 2000 wall paintings and scattered murals in Belfast alone and many Belfast murals you need to see.

Cab Tours Belfast a leading Belfast Black Taxi Tour Company run a daily Belfast Black Taxi Mural Tour that visits the city’s best-known murals. This article lists the best murals in Belfast that are worth seeing.

Belfast Black Taxi Mural Tours

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1. James Connolly Mural

James Connolly Mural Belfast on our Belfast mural tours

Seen at Clondara Street, James Connolly was a Socialist and a trade union leader, and an Irish Republican who was one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising. This is one of the Falls road murals you can experience on our Belfast taxi tours.

2. Pearse Jordan’s Mural

Pearse Jordans Mural Belfast on our black taxi tour Belfast

Seen at Hugo Street, another of the falls road murals you can experience on our Belfast black cab tour is of Pearse Jordan who was shot in the back by Police. His death was one of a number of high-profile shoot-to kills by the security forces.

3. Bobby Sands Mural

Bobby Sands Mural Falls Road Belfast

Painted in 1998, and seen on the Falls Road, Sinn Féin Head Quarters, the Bobby Sands Mural depicts the One of the most famous Belfast Murals is the Bobby Sands Mural. Painted in 1998, and seen on the Falls Road, Sinn Féin Head Quarters, the Bobby Sands Mural depicts the smiling image, often considered iconic of IRA leader and hunger striker Bobby Sands.

4. King Billy Mural

King Billy Mural Shankill Road Belfast as part of our Belfast mural tours along with Falls Road murals

The King Billy mural can be found in the Protestant Shankill RoadBelfast area that commemorates the Protestant King William of Orange, who defeated the Catholic James II at the Battle of the Boyne on 12th July 1690. Protestants today celebrate this victory every 12th of July. It is one of the most known Shankill Road murals.

5. Gaelic Athletic Association

The Gaelic Athletic Association Mural on our Belfast mural tours

This Belfast mural is of Ireland’s largest sporting organisation and this mural can be seen at Hawthorn Street, as part of the Falls Roads murals in Belfast.

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6. Failte Feirste Thiar

Failte Feirste Thiar Mural Belfast on our Belfast mural tours showing Shankill Road murals, Falls Road murals, and Bobby Sands mural

This mural found on Falls Road, Belfast is one of the Falls Road murals and is a welcome message to Belfast and can be seen at Divis Street Irish Culture. It’s one of the more visible Belfast murals in the city centre.

7. Jim Bryson Mural

Jim Bryson IRA Mural Belfast on our black taxi tours Belfast

This Belfast Mural can be seen at Ballymurphy Road and is of 25-year-old Jim Bryson an IRA volunteer who was shot in Ballymurphy by British Forces on August 31st, 1973. Jim died from his injuries three weeks later on September 22nd. It is one of the IRA murals that can be seen on our Belfast murals tour.

8. Welcome to the Shankill Road

Welcome to The Shankill Road Mural on our black taxi tour Belfast

Mural Location:

Religious Goup:

Gardiner Street, Belfast

Protestant / Loyalist / Unionist Mural

Painted on a gable wall at the corner of Gardiner Street the ‘Welcome to the Shankill Road’ mural welcomes visitors to the mainly unionist area in a varied selection of 20 languages including Welsh, Spanish, German, Chinese and Arabic. This Belfast mural on Shankill Road, Belfast is aimed at an international audience to convey a positive and welcoming message.

9. A-Z History of the Shankill Road

A to Z Shankill History Mural with Belfast Black Taxi Tour Driver on our Belfast mural tours

Mural Location:

Religious Goup:

North Boundary Street, Belfast

Protestant / Loyalist / Unionist Mural

The A to Z History of Shankill Road Mural consists of digital images, chosen and created by the Shankill community and printed onto aluminium, detailing the history of the Shankill. This Belfast mural comprises images representing all aspects of the area’s history, from housing, traditions, politics, and famous people, places, and events that are from or took place in this protestant community. The accompanying text panel, explains each image in context, not only for the benefit of the community but also for the many tourists who visit the area of Belfast.

10. Jackie Coulter Mural

Jackie Coulter Mural on our Belfast taxi tours including Shankill Road murals, Falls Road, and Bobby Sands.

Mural Location:

Religious Goup:

Boundary Way, Shankill Parade, Belfast

Protestant / Loyalist / Unionist Mural

This Belfast mural found at Boundary Way, Shankill Parade is the Jackie Coulter Mural and was painted to commemorate the life and death of Coulter a loyalist paramilitary. Jackie Coulter was a lieutenant and leading member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) that was shot and killed by the rival loyalist paramilitary organisation the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in August 2020, in a loyalist feud. This is one of the UDA murals found in the city.

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11. The 'Summer of 69' Mural

The Summer of 69 Belfast Mural on our city sightseeing Belfast tour

Mural Location:

Religious Goup:

Hopewell Crescent, Belfast

Protestant / Loyalist / Unionist Mural

This loyalist mural at Hopewell Crescent off the Belfast Crumlin Road commemorates the sectarian riots and bombings of 1969 when families in mixed communities were burnt out of their homes by their neighbours on religious grounds. The sight of furniture dumped in the street and the word “taken” painted on an empty house next to a burned-out one was common. This Shankill Road mural shows two boys standing in front of their homes after they have been destroyed.

12. The Women's Quilt Mural

women's quilt mural on our black taxi tour Belfast

Mural Location:

Religious Goup:

Hopewell Crescent, Belfast

Protestant / Loyalist / Unionist Mural

Another mural you can expect to see as part of our famous black taxi tour of murals in Belfast is The Women’s Quilt Mural found in Lower Shankill Road, Belfast. 

Created by the Lower Shankill Women’s Group using the theme of a traditional family quilt as their inspiration, the women decided to decorate the quilt with words that described themselves and family members. It shows a patchwork quilt of words related to women and the roles they play in families and communities, such as “aunt”, “mother”, “sister”, “granny”, and “caring”, “diverse”, “strong”, and “unheard voices”. The words “loud” and “stubborn” represents the men.

13. Stevie McKeag Mural

Stevie McKeag Belfast Mural on our Belfast mural tours

Mural Location:

Religious Goup:

Hopewell Crescent, Belfast

Protestant / Loyalist / Unionist Mural

This Belfast mural of Stevie McKeag is one of the UDA murals you can see on our black taxi tour. Stephen McKeag, nicknamed “Top Gun”, was a Northern Irish loyalist paramilitary and a Commander of the Ulster Defence Association’s (UDA) ‘C’ Company in the 1990s. He is believed to have been responsible for many killings of Catholics and Republicans. Although most of his operations took place from the Shankill Road in Belfast, Stevie McKeag was actually a native of the lower Oldpark Road in the North of Belfast. 

Stevie McKeag was found dead by family members at his home at Florence Court off Crumlin Road on 24th September 2000. With his face heavily bruised and a crossbow bolt embedded into the wall nearby, it was initially assumed that he had been killed; however, a post-mortem found that his death was caused by a lethal combination of painkillers and cocaine. The mural in Hopewell Crescent depicts McKeag wearing a beret amid a blue sky background with the words ‘Remember With Pride’.

14. Stevie McCrea Mural

Stevie McCrea Belfast Mural on our black taxi tour Belfast

Mural Location:

Religious Goup:

Hopewell Crescent, Belfast

Protestant / Loyalist / Unionist Mural

The Belfast mural of Stevie McCrea can be found in the Shankill Road Belfast area on Hopewell Crescent. Stevie McCrea was a Red Hand Commando (RHC) volunteer imprisoned in Long Kesh for his role in the killing of a 17-year-old Catholic James Kerr in a Lisburn Road Garage. 

After serving 15 years he was killed from an IPLO attack on the Orange Cross (Shankill Social Club) on the 16th of February 1989. Three IPLO gunmen burst into the main bar and started shooting indiscriminately. Stevie sacrificed himself to protect his friends by throwing himself in front of a hail of bullets. He died two days later from his injuries in the Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital. 

The IPLO was a small but very violent Irish republican paramilitary organisation that was formed in 1986 by disaffected and expelled members of the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army). It developed a reputation for intra-republican and sectarian violence and criminality.

15. Sam Rocket (YCV)

Samuel Rocket Mural is part of our black cab tour Belfast showing Shankill Road murals, Falls Road murals, and Bobby Sands mural

Mural Location:

Religious Goup:

Disraeli Street, Belfast

Protestant / Loyalist / Unionist Mural

Samuel Rocket Mural is part of our black cab tour Belfast showing famous murals of Belfast including Shankill Road murals, Falls Road murals, and the Bobby Sands mural. This is one of the UVF murals that can be found in the many Belfast murals.

Members of the UDA killed Samuel Rockett (21), a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), in front of his girlfriend and 18-month-old child while in his girlfriend’s home in the Lower Oldpark area, North Belfast. The killing was part of a feud between the UDA and the UVF. The UVF killed Bobby Mahood and Jackie Coulter earlier and Rockett was killed by the UDA in retaliation for their deaths.

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16. Shankill Star Flute Band

uda mural on the Shankill Road murals tour as well as Falls Road murals, and Bobby Sands mural

Mural Location:

Religious Goup:

Disraeli Street, Belfast

Protestant / Loyalist / Unionist Mural

This is one of the UVF murals on the Shankill Road murals tour as well other murals in Belfast as part of our famous taxi tour of murals in Belfast which also include Falls Road murals, and Bobby Sands mural

This mural commemorates Belfast loyalist and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) member Brian Robison who was killed on 2nd September 1989 by an undercover British Army Unit. His death is one of the few shoot-to-kills to have involved a loyalist victim. The mural contains images from the First World War such as soldiers (both British and German), trenches and poppies and was sponsored by the Shankill Star Flute Band, in Disraeli Street – where Robinson grew up. Robinson’s mother Margaret suffered a fatal heart attack upon hearing the news of her son’s death. The two were buried on the same day.

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