‘Belfast’s dreadful murals’


Sir, – Following the IRA ceasefires and the Belfast Agreement of 1998, a noticeable change occurred in Belfast’s republican murals. Many, probably most of those depicting armed men, were replaced by murals reflecting Irish mythology, hunger strikers such as Bobby Sands and events historical and current, nationalist and internationalist in nature. The mural shown above Newton Emerson’s article is the exception rather than the rule (“Belfast’s dreadful murals should be consigned to the past”, Opinion & Analysis, June 20th).

In contrast, Belfast’s loyalist murals in many, probably most, cases continue to depict close-ups of armed and masked men with such slogans as “Prepared for Peace, Ready for War’”. Has your columnist been cycling in the wrong areas or at such speed that he has missed these?

Finally, while I hesitate to question the artistic sensibility of your columnist, the murals of Belfast have often impressed me by their vibrancy and creativity, elements which he finds absent.

Perhaps he should have a word with Prof Bill Rolston of Ulster University, who has written widely on this subject and knows what he’s talking about. – Yours, etc,