Want to discover some free-to-view art in the city centre? If so, here are the ten most famous Belfast murals.
Belfast contains arguably some of the most politically motivated and poignant murals in Europe. However, politics aside, the city also boasts some seriously beautiful murals with pure artistic genius behind them.
No matter if you’re in the city centre, the east, the west, the south, or the north, you are guaranteed to find some endearing murals that will certainly pique your interest.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the most famous Belfast murals, both political and non-political.
10. Geisha Mural by Dan Kitchener – a stunning mural by a talented artist
The Geisha Mural that currently sits on the corner of Northumberland Street and the Shankill Road is not the first by professional mural painter Dan Kitchener.
Before the Geisha mural, people were in awe of Kitchener’s depiction of a Belfast Black Taxi in Tokyo. The mural that sits in the same spot today is absolutely worth checking out.
9. Nelson Mandela mural – the revolutionary hero
The mural of renowned freedom fighter Nelson Mandela is one of the most famous Belfast murals.
It draws a link between the Nationalist cause and South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle. The mural was unveiled on part of Belfast’s Peace Walls in 2013.
8. Summer of 69 – the devastation of the Troubles
Summer of 69 is a Loyalist mural that depicts the devastation caused by the Troubles. Many regard the mural, aptly named the Summer of 1969, as the beginning of the conflict.
The irony of the mural that shares its name with the Bryan Adams song is poignant as it shows two small children amongst the rubble, unable to enjoy their summer.
7. Wee Nuls and the Menstruation Matters Campaign – advocating for period poverty
Wee Nuls, real name Nuala Covery, created a mural on Belfast’s High Street while working with Homeless Period Belfast, who advocate for free period products while also destigmatising menstruation.
The mural that depicted an alien woman menstruating is unfortunately no longer there to witness. Sadly, it was vandalised and painted over with jet black paint.
That, however, didn’t stop Wee Nuls and Homeless Period Belfast from continuing to be advocates for such an important issue. This was certainly one of the most famous Belfast murals.
6. George Best – a uniting figure
Some murals in Belfast are divisive and sectarian. However, one thing Northern Ireland has always been united in is the appreciation of George Best.
There have been many depictions of George Best across Belfast in the form of murals. However, a new one was unveiled in the estate he grew up in in March this year and has been met with particularly high praise.
5. Solidarity with Palestine – hand in hand
Nationalist communities often portray images of Ireland in solidarity with Palestine in their murals, drawing similarities between internment and Israel’s oppression of Palestine.
4. Women’s Voices Matter mural – for women’s voices to be heard
Some people might not know this mural. However, it is an extremely important one created by the Lower Shankill Women’s Group.
The mural depicts a patchwork quilt with words related to women. For example, ‘mother’, ‘sister’, and ‘granny’, along with the words ‘strong’, ‘unheard voices’, and ‘diverse’.
3. Oppression breeds Resistance – women standing up
There is a Republican mural on Divis Street that shows groups of women from Andersonstown, along with their children, disrupting a British army-enforced curfew on the Falls Road, bringing with them groceries for locals confined to the area.
2. King Billy – William of Orange on Sandy Row
The mural of King Billy on Sandy Row is definitely one of the most famous Belfast murals. Replacing an Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) mural, the community unveiled the mural in 2012.
There are depictions of King Billy in many areas of Belfast, including King Billy crossing the River Boyne on the Shankill Road and other areas.
1. The Bobby Sands mural – an iconic mural known across the globe
The Bobby Sands mural on the Falls Road in west Belfast is arguably the most famous mural in Belfast, certainly on the Republican side.
Painted in 1998, the mural depicts a smiling IRA leader Bobby Sands. This is an iconic mural of the hunger striker who died in 1981 as a result of the protest in the HM Prison Maze in Long Kesh.
It’s hard to dwindle down hundreds of incredible pieces of artwork into a list of just ten. Belfast street artists have painted murals when they see injustices at home and worldwide. This we can see through depictions of George Floyd and Noah Donohoe in west Belfast.
Whether they are politically motivated or simply sharing beautiful art with the world, Belfast is home to some of the most incredible street art and murals across the world.