Why Were The Loyalists In The Early Twentieth Century

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The loyalists had a long tradition of mural painting, dating back to the early twentieth century in which they would paint murals to celebrate the Twelfth of July, a day which commemorates the Protestant victory over Catholics at the Battle of Boyne in 1690. Therefore, many of their murals reflect not only their ideals but make figurative stabs at the nationalist and Catholic communities. These types of murals remained mainly a holiday celebration until the 1980’s when nationalists, frustrated at their own inability to legally create similar murals decided to step up and begin doing so anyway, sparking rapid mural creation on both sides. The republican mural tradition got a slow start for several reasons. Not only did they lack the cultural celebratory reasons for creating them that the loyalists had, there were also economic factors at play. A simple…show more content…
For example, while the Red Hand of Ulster was originally used by both sides it came to “symbolize the loyalists’ willingness to fight on, whatever the cost.” The Red Hand of Ulster supposedly refers to a “mythic” contest between local chieftains in which the winner cut off his own hand in order to win the contest as well as to take control of disputed territory. For the loyalists, they used the symbol to show that they would sacrifice whatever was necessary to retain control of the territory they saw as rightfully theirs and to prevent rule by the republican Irish. Loyalists often also used the Union flag in their mural designs in an effort to link their cause with overall British causes, eliciting sympathy and support from other British people outside of Northern Ireland. Ultimately, loyalist murals tried to portray themselves as “heroic guardians of a fragile, but ultimately just, political system under constant threat from the dangerous and violent “terrorists” of the republican
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