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Dublin: 13 °C Friday 20 July, 2018
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Double Take: The story behind these brightly-coloured CS Lewis murals in Belfast

Have you ever wondered how they got there?

Every Thursday, we pick a visual detail somewhere in Ireland and tell the story behind it. This week: How did the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe end up on a gable end in east Belfast?

CS LEWIS IS one of Belfast’s most famous sons. The author, who is best known for writing The Chronicles of Narnia, was born in the city and spent part of his childhood in the Strandtown area of East Belfast.

There are many nods to the writer dotted throughout the city, including CS Lewis Square, a community space that’s home to statues of Lewis’ most famous characters, including Aslan and Mr. Tumnus. Additionally, there are plaques commemorating Lewis’ birthplace and his childhood family home.

But perhaps the most eye-catching celebrations of Lewis are two murals that can be seen in the city centre and have become a destination of sorts for Narnia enthusiasts.

The first mural can be found on a gable wall on Convention Court on Ballymacarrett Road in Belfast.

The brightly coloured mural depicts Lewis alongside scenes from his most famous book, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and has been around since 2003. According to Ulster University’s Conflict Archive, the CS Lewis design replaced a loyalist paramilitary mural.

In the Dee Street area of East Belfast, there’s another mural commemorating Lewis’ beloved creation.

The Narnia mural was painted by artist David Dee Craig in 2008 and replaced another loyalist mural. It was launched by First Minister Peter Robinson, who said the mural signified a willingness on the part of people in the area to move forward and put the past behind them.

This mural wouldn’t be here today if there wasn’t people comfortable with changing it from a paramilitary mural to this. That indicates to me that people are moving on and people want to see a brighter future for young people.

Both murals are now featured on the city’s mural tours and serve as fitting tributes to one of Belfast’s most distinguished writers.

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Amy O'Connor

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