Ever since this trip began in Belfast, I have noticed that murals painted on the side of buildings is a common thing to see. Belfast was covered in them, especially around the Peace Wall.
Now beginning day two on the Shamrocker Bus Tour, we are driving through Derry, and just like Belfast, this city has faced tragedy and despair. Our tour guide, Daithi told is a little about its history. During the Irish War of Independence in the 1920s, Derry experienced violence and war between the Irish Republican Army and British Forces. In the 1960s, the city also faced disputes regarding discrimination between their Catholic and Protestant residents. Similar to Belfast, though the violence is now a rarity between the religious groups, there is still some tension.
All along the streets of Derry we drove through, murals, which seem to be on at least every other building, depicted these dark times the city faced during the political unrest.
I consider these political murals all as, of course a form of art, but also a form of media. Some murals tell the stories of horrific events that took place and give perspective to others as to what the tragedy was like. Some cormorants the victims that were lost in the chaos. Some honor the heroes who fought to bring peace. Many of these murals all seem to symbolize hope for a better day and a call to establish and keep peace.
The plethora of murals I have seen on this trip is astonishing to me because where I come from, we don’t have murals painted throughout the sides of buildings. Sure there is street art like graffiti that cover the cracks in cement under bridges, but nothing like this. I realize the Ireland and its cities are full of history that have seen times of both prosper and despair, and they celebrate and preserve their past through these murals.