The importance of Murals during the Troubles: Analyzing the republican use of wall paintings in Northern Ireland

Maximilian Rapp, Markus Rhomberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

The Northern Ireland republican movement was visually emphasized by images on the gable ends of houses and walls in Belfast and (London-)Derry. These murals were used by the nationalist working class to get political messages across in order to mobilize people and to generate awareness as well as an iconographic expression of the ongoing social injustice. Soon the free space on the walls was exploited by paramilitary groups and was transformed into a visual medium for their political demands. Therefore, republicans developed different strategies over the years to use the paintings as a communication tool sui generis. In this paper we seek to analyze the political use of visual images on the nationalist movement during the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland. We argue that (1) nationalists took over the use of murals from loyalism to initiate a well-planned mobilization campaign and (2) the IRA used murals to convey a strong ideological message to cement support for the republican movement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVisual Communication
PublisherWalter de Gruyter GmbH
Pages677-696
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783110255492
ISBN (Print)9783110255485
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

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