Belfast's ghost murals
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.
"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."
"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.