The Art of Banner Banter

“Angela Merkel thinks we’re at work.” It’s so simple and yet so clever. And so Irish True, with that spirit of defiance and intelligent humour that flows so deeply through the veins of the Irish character.

With this six-word slogan and its witty take on such a serious topical issue, these Irish football fans at Euro 2012 showed how banner writing has been elevated to an authentic artform.

There is an Irish True spirit and defiant humour which is displayed by supporters in countries across the world. From football to rugby, cricket, tennis and golf, displays of ever-more thought-provoking banners at sporting events have grown in recent years. But we see this defiant spirit most often in those Irishmen and women in stadiums and sidelines from Dublin to Denver. Irish sports fans have a natural flair for this form of lyrical rebelliousness. Humorous banners poking fun at opposition fans or the establishment have long been a mainstay of Irish culture and sporting events. The All Ireland Finals Day at Croke Park is always awash with banners held aloft by supporters.

There’s a real skill to fashioning playful and provocative wordplay on banners. To celebrate this, we have been paying tribute to the creative and clever humour of sports fans with ‘The Art of Banner Banter’, a touring exhibition and competition.

To kick things off and inspire a new wave of sports fans to create witty banners, a photography exhibition of the finest examples of sporting banner banter was gathered together and housed on board a beautifully transformed bus.

With a bar on board, the exhibition took to the road, visiting London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Brighton, Cardiff, Bristol, Porstmouth and Melrose.

While the touring exhibition has now come to a close, the ‘Art of Banner Banter’ competition is still open to UK residents and surges ahead until 1st August. For more information, visit -


Thanks to James Crombie at INPHO for the photo.