Pictured above is an “Eleventh Night” bonfire, one of many dozens erected across the north-east of Ireland by usually adolescent members of the British Unionist minority to commemorate a series of 17th century Protestant British victories over Catholic British and Irish opponents during localised conflicts in the pan-european War of the Grand Alliance. In Ireland the primary struggle, known as Cogadh an Dá Rí or “War of the Two Kings”, reasserted Britain’s colonial rule over the island nation and the association of militant Protestant fundamentalism with Britishness. As is now the (controversial) tradition in some districts the bonfire is “decorated” with a number of sectarian, racist and homophobic symbols and slogans aimed at those deemed outside or anathema to British ethno-national culture and identity.
Starting from the top of the pyre we have:
A number of Irish flags, both current and historical, including the national flag of Ireland (commonly called the Tricolour), the Irish Harp flag (superseded by the Tricolour) and the Gal Gréine or Irish “Sunburst” banner, a symbol derived from indigenous literature.
A Palestinian flag (some British Unionists in Ireland believe in the pseudo-historical and messianic myth that their community or “folk” is descended from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel while others identify with contemporary Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories).
A Rainbow or Gay/LGBT Pride flag, homosexuality and gender-realingment being widely viewed as a biblical abominations by Protestant fundamentalists amongst the Unionist minority.
Various banners painted with political acronyms and slogans:
Keep Antrim Tidy = KAT = Kill All Taigs “Kill All Irish/Catholics”
We’re Not Racist We Just Don’t Like Cotton-Picking Niggers / We’re Not Racist, Just Don’t Like Niggers
I Ran Away = IRA = Irish Republican Army
[With thanks to babeufinsiberia]