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Symbolism At Its Finest

By Elizabeth Collins 
It seems this blog post was hiding in my "drafts" for some time. But I loved the pictures, so I thought I would still share.  

Symbolism seems to be everywhere you turn here in Northern Ireland. On our walking tour around the walls of Derry we saw many outward symbols of allegiance. And through our experiences speaking with people in the community we could tell there were many implied symbols as well. It seems no matter where you turn here there is an enormous amount of meaning behind things that are said and done – small and large things alike.

In the bogside there were Irish flags along with traffic signs graffitied with “IRA”. We saw many murals depicting notable events throughout the history of the Nationalist’s struggles. And of course the bloody Sunday memorial stands near a neighborhood in the bogside. 

Near the waterside there were Union jack flags in yards and on buildings. Curbs were painted read white and blue to show their commitment and murals clearly showed their feelings of loyalty.

There were many outright symbols that would be apparent to anyone visiting which “side” either neighborhood belonged to. We were also told about the parades that march through the streets and bon fires that occur that mark certain historical events. What you might not see are the smaller things; whether a person refers to the city as Derry or Londonderry, tattoos of significant figures in history, what pubs or shops people may attend, etc.
But then, thankfully there are many symbols of peace; the new building that the DiverCity Community Partnership will work out of, the peace bridge, the dove mural in the bogside, the Hands Across the Divide statues, etc.
Before this course began I may have simply seen a bridge or a picture on the side of a building but now I realize the vast amount of symbolism behind the many things you see and hear in Derry/Londonderry.
See below images of peace.

See below images from Bogside of Derry where Nationalists reside.
See below images from Waterside of Derry where Unionists reside.

See below Murals from Belfast City, depicting things important to the Nationalists.
See below Murals from Belfast, depicting things important to the Loyalists.

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