It’s hard to visit Northern Ireland without feeling your heart flutter at the memory of the conflict. The Emerald Isle is divided into two countries, where the pain can still be felt.
However, it wasn’t until I visited Northern Ireland that I realised just how much of a trail it had left behind.
In this post I’ll tell you a bit about that history and the tour I took of Belfast’s murals in one of its famous black taxis.
🗺 Visiting Belfast’s murals
The Irish conflict has become a tourist showcase for travellers seeking to learn about the convulsive history that brewed between the UK and Ireland during the second half of the 20th century.
When I planned my trip to Belfast, it was clear to me that I wanted to spend a full morning getting to know the city wall by wall. Although it is true that seeing the more than 100 murals that remain in the city of Belfast is almost mission impossible.
In this article, I wanted to include few pictures of the Belfast murals because I don’t want to give away all the mystery before your visit.
📰 History of Belfast’s murals
Writing about Belfast or Derry and their troubled situation is always hard for me. Both cities shook me to my core and I don’t like to talk about conflicts that have claimed the lives of many people, as in this case.
From 1968 to 1998, Northern Ireland was in a period known as “The Troubles”. This period was marked by armed conflict between the (mainly Catholic) Republicans, who sought Irish independence, and the (mainly Protestant) Unionists, who fought to preserve ties with the United Kingdom.
Belfast became a perfect canvas on which to capture the history of a broken country. Through urban art, through its denunciations and demands, we can discover the history of a country whose wound has not yet fully healed.
I have to admit that Derry or Londonderry touched my heart much more than Belfast. In Derry you will also find a lot of murals, but what had the biggest impact on me was visiting the Museum of Free Derry. I found it quite hard to contain myself.
🚕 The best way to visit Belfast’s Murals
Belfast’s Murals can be visited in a black taxi, on foot by taking a tour or on your own initiative.
My recommendation is a tour in one of the black taxis; you’ll save time on your visit and learn about the history of the murals from a local.
You don’t need to hire a tour to see the murals. You can do it on foot with a map showing you where each one is located.
However, I find it very interesting to learn about the history behind each one from a local. A person who lives in the place will tell you the story in a different way, with a more emotional touch.
My taxi tour Belfast was with NI Black Taxi Tour and cost about 30 pounds for 3 people.
📍 Belfast’s Mural Map Locations
The murals are located in the Shankill and Falls. On the Belfast Mural website you can find the exact location of each of the murals in the city and on Virtual Belfast Mural Tour you can find each mural by name.
One of the things that struck me the most was to see that there were houses that still had the protective measures that were used during this conflict. The tour is not a pleasant one; you have to be prepared to assume that it is going to be a bit of a nerve-racking experience. I am still getting goose bumps as I write this.