Athy is on its way to becoming the mural capital of Kildare! A fantastic creation commissioned by Athy Sing and Sign Club was recently finished in the town, located across the road from The Auld Shebeen at Boortmalt.
Created by Cork artist Peter Martin, the mural investigates ‘Signs of Change’ and draws from Patrick Kavanagh’s poem ‘Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin’, while alluding to local history, stories, climate, and the deaf community. In Kavanagh’s poem, he references a barge on the Grand Canal bringing supplies from Athy. This barge was owned by the Hughes family, who over generations worked on the canal and in the Minch Norton factory.
The artwork also celebrates the beautiful natural landscape surrounding the town and in particular the importance of nature in our current global climate discourse. The inclusion of the monarch butterfly refers to its status as a creature heavily affected by climate change as well as being a symbol for the deaf community. The hope is that this artwork will engage people of all generations in Athy and encourage them to examine its rich past while also looking into the future.
Last year, an eye-catching mural of a ballerina wearing boxing gloves was unveiled, commissioned by Athy Sing and Sign with the support of Kildare Co Council and Creative Ireland, as part of a Visual & Virtual ISL (Irish Sign Language) Festival. The work of Derek O’Sullivan (aka Solus Art), it features the ISL alphabet spelling out the word ‘strong’, as this mural epitomises strength and beauty.
Maggie Owens from Athy Sing and Sign explained that they loved that whole experience and “we wanted to do another one this year.” Of the new mural, she said “it’s absolutely beautiful, we’re delighted with it, absolutely delighted.”