Northern Ireland news

Belfast's ghost murals


Cregagh Street Gospel Hall in east Belfast, complete with a manicule
Browns Undertakers, Newtownards Road in east Belfast


Irish News photographer Mal McCann's passion is documenting the fading and often hand-painted shop signage and advertising around Belfast. These are known as ghost signs or ghost murals, so-called because of their faded look. As he photographed them he posted them on social media @Belf_Ghost_Signs where followers grew quickly and even helped in the hunt for more. Sometimes these signs or murals are hidden and only revealed during building demolition or refurbishment. Sometimes they have been preserved because they were shielded from the elements.


Gallaher's Delux, Clifton Street, Belfast. Gallaher's was the largest tobacco factory in the world and based on nearby York Street.


Workshop for the Blind, Bedford Street Belfast


 "The first one that caught my eye was the Gallahers Delux on Clifton Street, Belfast, during my daily commute," Mal says. "It was an advert for the nearby tobacco factory on York Street, which at one time was the largest factory of its kind in the world. The sign covered at least two storeys of the three storey building facing onto the main road, but it was pretty faded and must have been impressive in its day. Many of the businesses don’t exist anymore which creates a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era."  


Elgin Street in south Belfast, S.Gamble & Son Grocery, Hardware, General Store



Phoenix Bar and Billiard Hall, Antrim Road, Belfast


"After locating a few obvious quality signs things got harder and I would always be on the lookout for more outside the city. I have a few favourites. The Picture Post on the Lisburn Road and the Coca Cola one on the Shore Road. Several have manicules which I now know is a hand with its index finger extending in a pointing gesture. It would be great to see these preserved and protected as has happened in London and New York," he added.  


India Tyres Shore Road, Belfast



Marshall's Booksellers and O'Shea, A. J., dispensing chemist, Donegall Street, Belfast




Picture Post, Marlborough Avenue, Lisburn Road.



Pottersglen aka Glenarm Co Antrim, a fictional village was created when the film A Christmas Star was being filmed there in 2014



J. Friar Grocer with manicule, east Belfast
Pictures and Posters, Cathedral Buildings, Donegall Street, Belfast



Laughlin Brush manufacturer, Castle Street, Belfast
Revealed, Stewarts Carpets, Donegall Street and Union Street
Vision and Radio, Iris Street off the Springfield Road in west Belfast



The Gem Sweets and Confectioners, Wholesalers. Falls Road, Belfast



Formerly seed warehouses of the rival firms McCausland & Lytle dating from 1867–8, now the Malmaison Hotel
Guinness extra stout, guaranteed pure 1/8 per Doz, east Belfast



A Coca-Cola mural on the Shore Road, Belfast



Ards Maltings, Portaferry Road, Co Down



Belfast Barbering Co, May Street, Belfast




Eclipse Tailors Co, 128 Donegall Street


Northern Ireland news