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Contemporary Murals in Northern Ireland - Loyalist Tradition



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Text and Photograph: Bill Rolston ... Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna

Loyalist Tradition: Figure 1

King Billy Mural

The first loyalist mural was painted on the Beersbridge Road in Belfast in 1908. For most of the rest of the twentieth century loyalist murals were painted each July as part of the annual ritual celebrations of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, when King William III (‘King Billy’) defeated King James I in a struggle over the English crown. Consequently, the main image in the murals was of King Billy on his white horse crossing the River Boyne. By the 1970s and 1980s this image became much less frequent. There was a brief revival of King Billy murals in 1990, the tercentenary of the Battle of the Boyne. Today King Billy murals are rare. One recent example is on the Kilcooley estate in Bangor, County Down, painted in September 1997.

Location and Date: Kilcooley, Bangor, County Down, 1997

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