Incredible Belfast Street Art You Need to See

Everyone in the UK (and beyond) has heard about the political murals in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  In fact, that was pretty much the only thing I knew about Belfast before I came here.  However, after spending several days exploring the city, I discovered that there is far more to Belfast than it’s difficult past.  Yes, the murals are still there, but there is a buzzing street art scene which has emerged in Belfast, where a different kind of art is taking over from the traditional political murals.  Walking around the Cathedral Quarter, I was blown away by the Belfast street art all over the walls, so I’ve put together a collection of my favourite pieces of street art in Belfast.

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Traditional Belfast Murals

Belfast still bears the marks of Northern Ireland’s violent past.  Although the political conflict known as ‘The Troubles’ is over, there are some areas of Belfast where Republican and Loyalist communities are still segregated, and old rivalries are hard to forget after decades of violence which claimed the lives of over 3500 people. 

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It must be difficult to move on when there are murals all over your neighbourhood.  Some of the murals have changed in the last few years, to be replaced with murals of peace and unity, but some remain as memorials to the fallen, and as constant reminders of what was effectively a civil war.

Traditional Belfast Street Art - One of the Political Murals in Belfast
Traditional Belfast Street Art – One of the Political Murals in Belfast

The Peace Wall marks a boundary between Republican and Loyalist Communities, and gates between the two are still closed at night to prevent any potential clashes between the two.  Murals on the Falls and Shankill Roads are certainly worth visiting, and there are plenty of Belfast mural tours and Black Taxi Tours you can take to learn more about the murals and the Troubles.

Another option for tours to see the murals is the Belfast Hop on Hop Off bus tour which takes you around the major sights in Belfast including the Peace Wall, and is valid for one or two days so you can fully explore the city.  Hop on and hop off as many times as you like, and listen to the live tour guide on board as they share the history of the city and tips for what to do in Belfast.

Belfast Street Art Today

The Cathedral Quarter in Belfast is now home to a new kind of mural, where street artists from all parts of the community, and from across the world, come together to share a new vision of the future.  Walls are covered in colourful grafitti murals which are telling different stories, and even if we don’t know exactly what the artists want to say, there is no segregation here. 

To find some of the street art in Belfast I checked out the Urban Kultur blog which has an article about some of the street art you can find in the area.  I also met Adam from Seedhead Arts, who is a street artist himself and explained more about the meaning of some of the murals, including a couple of his own works. 

If you would like to learn more about each piece of art instead of just getting pretty pictures, I definitely recommend taking the street art tour arranged by Seedhead Arts, which runs every Sunday at 12pm.  BOOK YOUR TOUR 

Inbetween my two explorations there was a street art festival in Belfast as part of Culture Night, so on my second walk around the area, there was a lot more to see.  That is what I love about street art, it is changing all the time.  Old murals are painted over to create new pieces of art, although unfortunately that also means that some beautiful works get replaced or defaced with new art and grafitti tags.

Where to Find the Best Street Art in Belfast

The Cathedral Quarter has the highest concentration of street art in Belfast.  Murals and art pop up all over the neighbourhood, and while some are easily found by just walking the streets, some require a detour and keen eyes to spot. 

North Street between Royal Avenue and Union Street has a stretch of paintings which you have to see, and across the road, in Winetavern Street Car Park you’ll find some more murals, including my favourite (if it is still there!) from a Colombian artist.

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Hill Street and Talbot Street have more, as does the corner of Academy Street and Exchange Street.  The Sunflower Pub is also a street art hub, with more works on Union Street and Kent Street.  I’m working on a Belfast Street Art Map to help you find the key hot spots for street art, but if you walk around this area you are bound to find some wonderful pieces!

Where to Stay in Belfast

The Cathedral Quarter is the best place to stay if you want to explore the street art in Belfast.  The trendy Bullit Hotel is a good option which also has its own hidden street art viewable from the roof terrace, or if you are on a tighter budget I stayed at the Ramada Encore which is just opposite another of my favourite pieces of street art (below).

Belfast Street Art - A Night-time street
Belfast Street Art – A Night-time street, one of my favourite street art works in Belfast

If you are backpacking Belfast then the hostels tend to be further out of town, closer to the University.  I also stayed a couple of nights at the Global Village Hostel which is about half an hour walk from some of the best Belfast street art.

BOOK YOUR HOSTEL NOW

Or check the options on Airbnb

What do you think about the street art in Belfast?  What is your favourite piece of Belfast street art?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Here are a few more cool pieces of Belfast street art for your viewing pleasure, click on an image to zoom in.

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There is some amazing street art in Belfast, here is some of my favourite Belfast Street Art #Belfast #NorthernIreland #StreetArt #UnitedKingdom #grafitti    You can find some amazing street art in Belfast, here is some of my favourite Belfast Street Art #Belfast #NorthernIreland #StreetArt #UnitedKingdom #grafitti

8 thoughts on “Incredible Belfast Street Art You Need to See

  1. Claire says:

    Thank you very much for sharing that information, it is a lovely painting and I hope it is a fitting tribute to her. Best wishes, Claire

  2. Anonymous says:

    The woman in the first photo, is Alice Eather a First Nations woman from Maningrida Australia. Alice was a poet, political activist and teacher who did amazing things for her community. She is sadly missed by many.
    It was a friend who was living in Belfast who asked the artist to do the painting.
    Please do not publish my name or any of my details, thankyou

  3. Nick says:

    Been flicking through your blog and was going to say “get yourself to Northern Ireland ffs”.
    But you already have! Very thorough too!!

  4. Medha says:

    The street art in Belfast is beautiful, especially at Cathedral Quarter. Glad to know that political murals are slowly being replaced by more colourful, positive images. Street art intrigues me particularly because I live in a country where it is banned and illegal. Belfast even has a street art festival, wow!

  5. Carrie says:

    I love that mural of the woman with the parrot! Is that the one by the Colombian artist? (It reminds me of the street art in Cartagena.) Street art fascinates me, and I’d love to take the seedhead arts tour…I definitely appreciate the murals more when someone explains them to me 🙂

  6. Clazz says:

    These look aMAZing! I love street art so much, so I’d be in heaven in Belfast I think, haha. I didn’t realise how good it actually is there! I haven’t been yet, but this has definitely pushed it up the list a bit. 🙂

  7. Ryan Biddulph says:

    Street art impresses the heck out of me Claire. Folks spending hours and days and weeks crafting these masterpieces is just fabulous. I would be interested in the war era stuff, remembering all the news headlines when I was a kid. I love your photos.

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