Northern Ireland – Republican Murals

Derry (2)I haven’t posted in a long time, but I have been wanting to post some pictures from a trip I took in 2012. While in Northern Ireland for a wedding last year, I had the chance to visit the sites of many of the famous murals in Northern Ireland. Murals have been a way for both sides of the “troubles” to express their views, honor their dead, and tell their story.

Most of the murals that I visited were “Republican”, so I will admit that this is a one-sided depiction of this art form. I will start with the murals in Londonderry (or Derry if you are republican).

1. “Bloody Sunday” – represents the events that took place in 1972 on Bloody Sunday in Derry.  The British Army opened fire on a Civil Rights demonstration and killed 14 people. They are standing on a civil rights banner stained with blood.

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2.  “Bloody Sunday Commemoration” –  A mural depicting the 14 victims of that fatal 1972 event.  There are also 14 oak leaves representing each victim. Derry derives it’s name from the Irish word Doire, which means Oak grove.

Derry Bloody Sunday

3.  “The Runner” – a young man fleeing from CS gas.

Derry The Runners (2)

4.  Adjoining “The Runner”, this painting is called “Operation Motorman”. Operation Motorman was executed in the early hours of July 31st, 1972. Their goal was to regain the “No Go Area” with bulldozers in Derry and Belfast. Two people were killed during this operation. The few hours after this there was retaliation in the form of three car bombs where 9 civilians were killed.

Derry Operation Motorman

5.  “Saturday Matinee” – A typical Saturday riot.

Derry Saturday Matinee

6.  ” A Tribute to John Hume”  – John Hume was a Northern Ireland politician in Derry. He founded the Social Democratic and Labour Party.Derry John Hume

He won the Nobel Peace Prize with David Trimble in 1998.  He also won the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Award, the only person to win all three major worldwide peace prizes.  This picture puts him with four people, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, and Mother Theresa. They all have won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Brooklyn Bridge is also depicted. The artist was showing how all of these people are bridge builders.

7.  “Death Of Innocence -Annette McGavigan Mural”- Annette was a 14 year old girl who was shot while standing outside of her house in 1971. This mural is not far from where she died.

Derry The Death of an Innocent

8.  “Bernadette – Battle of Bogside” – The Battle of Bogside happened in 1969. The sign, “You are now entering Free Derry” is within eyesight of this mural. Bernadette McAliskey was imprisoned for her participation/inciting this riot.

Derry Bernadette

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9.  “Civil Rights – the Beginning” – This is one of the first protests that ended in bloodshed. October 5, 1968. These protests were inspired by Martin Luther King Jr’s protests.

Derry Civil Rights

10. “Petrol Bomber, Battle of Bogside” – this shows a boy in a gas mask holding a petrol bomb. This was the most striking mural for me.

Derry Petrol Bomber

11.”Hunger Strike, Raymond McCartney mural” -depicts the first of two major hunger strikes.

Derry The Hunger Strikers Initially 7 Republican prisoners in the H block of the Maze Prison decided to go on a hunger strike on October 27th, 1980.  Three other women from Armagh prison followed. 23 more prisoners joined on December 1st.  They ended the strike on December 18th for a total of 53 days. They ended the strike because they thought that the government had conceded on the issue of political status.  Four months later they started the second hunger strike, due to the fact that they did not get the political status that they desired.

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