Sunday, January 12, 2014

Graffiti and Murals from Northern Ireland: Taking a Walk in Belfast in Autumn of 1998

A few days ago I watched Steve McQueen’s “Hunger”, the British-Irish historical drama about the 1981 Irish hunger strike which took place in protest to the inhumane conditions inside the infamous Maze Prison - quite a relevant topic considering our current predicament (2).

After finishing the movie and taking a moment to catch my breath, I remembered that I had a few pictures from my trip to Ireland that I wanted to share.

In autumn of 1998 I made my way to Northern Ireland. I was in Belfast a few months after the signing of the Belfast Agreement (Good Friday Agreement). When I arrived in the city, I was told that it wasn’t the best of times to be there. There had been some outbreaks of violence and tensions were running high. I was warned that it wasn’t safe to venture the city and that I should stay in the well-known areas. I didn’t follow this advice.

I put on my walking shoes, grabbed my camera and some supplies, and went for a two-day excursion in and around the city. I got some inquisitive looks during my journey but I kept on smiling and nodding and making sure that people understood that I was just a passerby, probably lost and of no threat. I’m not even sure if that was necessary since no one really paid me heed, but better safe than sorry when travelling in unknown territory.

Below you will find 32 pictures taken of some graffiti, murals, writings, and tags from Belfast during this short 1998 walkabout. The first image is a mural of the ten prisoners who died during the 1981 hunger strike depicted in Steve McQueen’s “Hunger” (click images to enlarge and expand).

Originally shared these images in 2009 on the previous site.


  1. Thank you for your bravery and such great images

  2. You're very welcome, but I wouldn't call it bravery. I didn't live through the conflict, I was just a 'tourist'.

  3. Powerful photos, almost hard to believe that such conflict could take place in modern western Europe, but it did, and it was a war zone.