It rained for most of my time in Belfast this year and this prevented me from visiting some areas that I had planned to visit.
My main interest was to photograph street art and graffiti rather than the world famous political murals but unfortunately little has changed since last year other than an increase in commercial [paid for] street art.
When I ask people if they are aware of any interesting locations I am usually directed the the murals.
One thing that I have noticed in Belfast is that on asking for information one is directed to standard and approved tourist attractions.
Sometimes when I was photographing something of interest to me a helpful person would suggest that I was missing something much better down the road or on the next street giving me the impression that they wanted me to move on. I do not know if it is a carry over from the ‘troubles’ but I get the impression that people of Belfast are not comfortable with street photography.
Murals in Northern Ireland have become symbols of Northern Ireland, depicting the region's past and present political and religious divisions.
Belfast and Derry contain arguably the most famous political murals in Europe. It is believed that almost 2,000 murals have been documented since the 1970s. In 2014, the book, The Belfast Mural Guide estimated that, in Belfast, there were approximately 300 quality murals on display, with many more in varying degrees of age and decay. Murals commemorate, communicate and display aspects of culture and history. The themes of murals often reflect what is important to a particular community. A mural therefore exists to express an idea or message and could generally be seen as reflecting values held dear to that community.
In Irish republican areas the themes of murals can range from the 1981 Irish hunger strike, with particular emphasis on strike leader Bobby Sands; murals of international solidarity with revolutionary groups are equally common, as are those which highlight a particular issue, for example the Ballymurphy Massacre or the McGurk's Bar bombing. In working class unionist communities, murals are used to promote Ulster loyalist paramilitary groups such as the Ulster Defence Association and Ulster Volunteer Force and commemorate their deceased members. However traditional themes such as William III of England and the Battle of the Boyne, the Battle of the Somme and the 36th Ulster Division are equally common
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