Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Signs, Signs: Belfast Murals

The Twelfth of July parades in Belfast and elsewhere in Northern Ireland commemorate the victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of The Boyne in 1690. People begin celebrating this event on the Eleventh Night with the lighting of huge bonfires that have been months in the building.
Gathering fuel for the fire...
This ‘marching season’, as it is known, historically re-ignites sectarian violence. Members of the Orange Order assert their right to walk with Protestant marching bands along the same route every year, accompanied by the racous protests of nationalist groups decrying what they consider a  blatant show of Unionist dominance over their Catholic neighbourhoods.

This year was no exception:
violence broke out and
riot police were called
upon to deal with the

On a visit home a few years ago, I took
pictures of the murals that were painted
at the height of the Troubles.

These murals are beautiful, horrifying
 and heartbreaking
 all at once…they are people’s lives and
hearts laid open for
 the world to see.

I pray that my beloved Northern Ireland will one day find its way to a lasting peace that recognizes each of her citizens as equal and free...

For more signs from all over, pop into Lesley's wonderful meme and check them out...


Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...


Thank you for your very clear and balanced explanation, of the meaning behind the murals and the historical background.
I feel so sad this evening, watching television coverage, of rioting and violence in parts of Belfast.
I think we both must be happy with our memories of better days in that city of our birth.
I have attached a link to my latest poem, associated with the same points about Belfast.

Thank you for your support at my poems Lynette,
Best wishes, Eileen

Katy Cameron said...

Alas the irony is now, that the clinging on to the troubles is actually from outside Northern Ireland. We have a HUGE marching season in certain areas of Scotland, mostly in the west, where there's been such a lot of moving back and forth across the water for the ship building.

My neighbour currently has the best part of 10 flags adorning his tiny terraced house, and it annoys the hell out of me every single time I walk past. He's not Irish in any way, shape or form, and yet he and his pals in the Orange Lodge down the road, are desperately stoking up the bigotry so they don't lose their boys' club, and their excuse to lord it over another group of people. Saying that the Catholics also have their marches and their own turn at stirring it all up. Grrrrrr. And to think this was the whole reason we left Belfast int he first place...

the wild magnolia said...

Militant hearts and minds, need peace to cover like a blanket.

Thank you for sharing.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

What amazing photos, Lynette. So sad, the troubles, that go on and on. One wonders if peace will ever come. I pray it does.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Incredible, dramatic murals with such a sad message!

adrielleroyale said...

Unreal...it's like something you feel like you need to see for yourself to believe it's real. Just crazy..

joo said...

I more than agree with you, beautiful, horrifying and heartbreaking!
Wonderful post.

Luna Miranda said...

that's a lot of fuel--it must be a huge bonfire. these are beautiful and surreal...makes me wonder if we would ever see real peace in our lifetime.

Anonymous said...

you found the right place to find signs.

RedPat said...

It was indeed sad to see more violence this year! Some people are just violent and are looking for any excuse (like after a hockey game) and others have such deep-rooted hatred within them. Wonderful post.

Lesley said...

Either memories are very long... or some people just refuse to change. When you are far removed from the scene, I found it shocking that there was more such violence this year again.

Genie said...

What a memorable post. These murals are both sad and beautiful at the same time. I wonder if the hostilities will ever end there and around the world. Your writings about the situation and your photos of the murals are wonderful. I adore Ireland from one end to the other. Have been there 6 times through the years, and I would give my right arm to move there. I hope to get back just one more time before I am too old to travel. Thanks for a fine, fine post. Genie

Pat said...

After I returned from Ireland to the US in June of 1969, I began hearing about the demonstrations, riots, bombings and deaths in Northern Ireland and it saddened me terribly. I had had such a wonderful experience living in Ireland...everyone I met was warm and friendly and I had so much fun. I had not known about the undercurrent of anger that was boiling just under the surface in Northern Ireland--I never sensed any of that. I was naive, I suppose.

Pat said...

Interesting, scary and heartbreaking, all rolled into one.

aka Penelope said...

Interesting post, Lynette, that speaks of mankind’s profound inability to solve age old issues. Such difficulties are seen world over and never seem to end. It is perplexing until I look within families and various other groups and see there are often conflicts within smaller circles as well. Learning how to resolve quarrels seems to be one of our biggest challenges individually and in the world.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Lynette, So glad to see you back on my blog. Please keep coming!!!!! WE are not 'imagination' travelers since we just returned home from a great 3 week trip out west. Hubby and I took a total of over 5000 pictures on that trip.... I've been blogging about it ---and will for YEARS to come I'm sure. ha

Hope that your home country is having some peace now. I know it grieves you to see so much heartache and unrest. I've never been to Ireland --but hear that it is gorgeous there.

Kim Nelson said...

The topic is intense and this post is compelling.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I agree with Kim Nelson and also have to say that this a powerful post.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Lynette -- that's an amazing post nad explains things from the point of view of "real people" very well. Just as your posters, the words are beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.

Mad Kane said...

Thanks for a very interesting post!

Mad Kane