Northern Ireland in detail

Other Features

Belfast Murals

Since the start of the Troubles, the gable ends of Belfast’s housing estates have been used as informal canvases, painted with colourful murals that serve as territorial markers, political statements and defiant symbols of Loyalist or Nationalist identity. More recently, many nonpolitical murals have appeared.

Hunger Strike

Several Nationalist murals in West Belfast commemorate the Hunger Strike of 1981, when 10 Republican prisoners starved themselves to death. Most prominent is the image of Bobby Sands, who was elected as a local MP shortly before his death. A favourite slogan ‘Tiocfaidh ár lá’, which means ‘Our time will come’.

Solidarity Wall

Another popular theme for murals in Republican areas is support for other nationalist and republican movements around the world, including Palestine, the Basque Country and Latin America, notably on the stretch of Falls Rd known as Solidarity Wall.

King Billy

The most iconic of the Protestant murals is the image of King Billy (William of Orange), whose victory over the Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is still celebrated annually with 12 July parades. He is usually shown mounted on a prancing white horse.

Nonpolitical Murals

Since the advent of the peace process there has been a concerted effort to replace aggressively partisan murals with ones that celebrate nonpolitical subjects, such as footballer George Best, novelist CS Lewis, the RMS Titanic and the Harland & Wolff shipyards.

The Causeway Coast

Known as the Causeway Coast, the north shore of County Antrim from Ballycastle to Portrush is one of the most scenic stretches of coastline in all of Ireland. Whether you drive, cycle or walk its length, it’s not to be missed.

Giant's Causeway

The grand geological centrepiece of the Antrim coast is the Giant’s Causeway, a spectacular rock formation composed of countless hexagonal basalt columns. A Unesco World Heritage site, it is the north coast’s most popular tourist attraction.

Causeway Coast

The Causeway Coast isn’t just about the scenery. There are picturesque villages at Ballintoy (famous as the Iron Islands’ Lordsports Harbour in Game of Thrones) and Portbradden, historic ruined fortresses at Dunluce and Dunseverick castles, and the chance to savour a dram of Irish whiskey at Old Bushmills Distillery.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Originally rigged and used by local salmon fishermen, the famous Carricka-Rede Rope Bridge is now a popular test of nerve for Causeway Coast visitors, swaying gently 30m above the rocks and the sea.

Antrim Coast

Although famous for its dramatic seacliff scenery, the Antrim coast also has some excellent sandy beaches. As well as the family-friendly strand at Ballycastle, there’s the harder-to-reach but twice-as-beautiful White Park Bay.