My walk round Manchester city centre a week ago provided so many street art photos it would have been impossible to put them all in one post. Last week I concentrated on some of the many door and window shutters which I wouldn’t normally see if all the shops were open, this week I’m featuring street art in general with a couple of quirky bits thrown in.
There’s one thing about looking for street art in the city centre – you never know where you’re going to find it, so although I did start with a vague route in mind I went down so many side streets and back alleys I doubled back on myself more than once, meaning the photos have lost any sense of order and I can’t remember where many of them were taken. The first three shots were actually the last three I took but somehow it seems better if I use them first. Not technically street art they were part of the wall along the walkway above the rail lines at Victoria Station and I thought they looked attractive enough to be included.
The next artwork, on the side of an old substation, was painted in September 2020 by Louis Masai for Meridian Foods and is ‘twinned’ with the door shutter featured in last week’s Monday post. The 3-D effect of the blue and white boot was so good that it looked like it had been made by sticking pieces of rubber to the wall, and the quirky tree on Affleck’s wall spread so far along the side of the building I couldn’t get it all in one photo.
Sponsored by Fred Aldous art and craft store the Outhouse Project has been running since 2010, with artists from around the country regularly producing new artworks on the walls of disused substations and public toilets; the next three shots were taken in Stevenson Square, while the brightly coloured paintwork in Little Lever Street was definitely an optical illusion, giving the impression that the flat wall was wavy.
Northstar is a recently renovated and refurbished building offering flexible and creative workspace for individuals and small businesses, and I think its brightly coloured and attractive frontage makes a good photo to end this section of Manchester’s very diverse street art.
To be continued…
My Monday walk this week was an opportunity not to be missed. A friend had asked me to accompany her to Piccadilly station in Manchester and as I would otherwise have been on my own for Mother’s Day, at least until the early evening, it was a chance to photograph some more street art in and around the Northern Quarter. A quiet Sunday morning and most shops being closed meant that I could photograph many of the door and window shutters which I wouldn’t get to see under normal circumstances so I’m concentrating on those for this post.
The next one was covering the window of an adult ‘party shop’ and is so ugly I passed it by without photographing it, but when I went back that way later on I decided that even though it wasn’t particularly attractive it deserved to be included just because it was so ugly.
Oldham Street has quite a diverse range of businesses from cafes to tattoo and body piercing places and the next series of shots were all taken as I walked along its length from Piccadilly to Great Ancoats Street. The black and white rose design covered the front of a tattoo place and while I dislike tattoos intensely I think the shutter design is very attractive.
The next shutter is quite special, it’s ‘twinned’ with a mural on the side of an old substation in Thomas Street. Painted by artist and environmentalist Louis Masai it was commissioned by Meridian Foods, a UK company producing foods without using palm oil, and supporting the rescue and rehabilitation of orangutans whose rainforest habitats have been destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations. Between September 23rd and October 7th 2020 murals were painted in Manchester, London, Glasgow and Birmingham to help highlight the plight of orangutans – you can read more about Meridian Foods here.
The Thomas Street tattoo place was the last shutter I photographed and almost the last shot of the day. As well as the NQ I’d also been to another couple of areas and I’d been roaming around the city centre for four hours so it was time to get the train back home, make a brew and chill out for a while.
Just one week after my foray into Manchester last summer I was back again to find and photograph some more street art. Heading from Victoria Station towards the Northern Quarter it wasn’t long before I found my first mural. On a double gable end wall it was huge and although it would be visible from the nearby main road I only found it by chance as it was tucked away down a dead end side street behind the site of the old wholesale fish market.
After forgetting the names of many of the streets I’d walked round the week before this time I’d mapped out a bit of a route for myself and as a reminder I photographed the name of each street where I found a mural, although not all the pieces of artwork included their creators’ names.
The door shutter and the following four murals, variations of the same face, were on the side and back walls of Afflecks indoor market and emporium on the corner of Church Street and Tib Street. Affleck & Brown was started as a drapery business in the 1860s with the original premises in Oldham Street eventually growing to occupy the whole block between there and Tib Street and becoming one of Manchester’s principal department stores. After WW2 a gradual decline in business over the years led to the eventual closure of the store in 1973 then in 1982 it was re-opened as Affleck’s Palace, with units and stalls which could be rented at reasonable rates by entrepreneurs and small businesses on a week-by-week basis.
During the 1990s, when local bands were at the height of their popularity, Affleck’s Palace was the ‘go to’ place to get oversized flared jeans, tie-dyed t-shirts and all the latest underground dance tunes of the time. In March 2008 the market and emporium ceased trading but re-opened just one day later under new management and simply called Affleck’s, with an eclectic mix of 73 small shops, independent stalls, boutiques and cafes. The emporium’s popularity continues and under normal circumstances can attract an average of 24,000 shoppers per week.
On the corner of the dingy and narrow upper reaches of Back Piccadilly and the equally narrow Little Lever Street I came across Mother Mac’s, for decades a typical no-nonsense back street boozer popular with older locals and football fans but which underwent refurbishment in 2016, hence the decoration on the side wall. Dating from the 1870s the pub was formerly The Wellington but in 1969 was renamed Mother Mac’s after Mary Maclellan, a former landlady.
In 1976 the pub became the site of a rather macabre murder when in June that year the landlord at the time, after being given notice by the brewery to quit, murdered his wife, his 6-year old daughter, and his step-sons aged 11 and 13. Unfortunately the cleaner innocently walked into the carnage so he killed her too then set fire to the pub to destroy the evidence, but he was never brought to justice as his own life was claimed by the fire.
Those four door shutters were the last photos I took on my walk round the NQ but heading for home I managed to get my final snap as the train passed through Salford Central station. Taken through the train window it’s not the best shot but hopefully the mural will be there for a while so I can get a better photo of it on a future trip to Manchester.
Although I can neither draw nor paint to save my life I’ve become really interested in street art over the last couple of years. It all began after I came across, quite by accident, a huge tiger mural on a double gable end wall during a visit to Manchester’s Cat Cafe in 2019. I was so impressed that back at home I did some Googling, made a ‘street art’ list and returned to the city the following day to track down as many street art examples as I could and since then I’ve photographed artwork in Blackburn, Dublin, Limerick, Morecambe and my home town.
Knowing that after a while many murals get painted over and replaced with something else, last summer, once circumstances allowed, I made two more visits to Manchester. Some of the murals I’d already previously seen but thanks to some ‘inside knowledge’ from my blogging friend Paul, who lives in the city centre, I was able to photograph many I hadn’t seen so my Monday walk this week takes in some of the main roads and side streets of the Northern Quarter although I can’t remember all the street names, nor have I been able to find out who all the artists are.
The first two shots are of plaques on the front wall of the City Pub on Oldham Street; not exactly street art and definitely worse for wear but I liked them enough to include them, especially the one with the lion and unicorn. The following four images, taken on the corner of Spear Street and Hilton Street, were all by Kelzo and the next four on the corner of Spear Street and Stevenson Square were by Tankpetrol, a Polish stencil artist based in Manchester.
The next mural, on the wall of a redundant substation, is quite significant. Painted by Akse it’s a portrait of Manchester-born Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Facebook for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Diagnosed with the rare blood cancer Follicular Lymphoma in November 2016 she underwent chemotherapy and immunotherapy then in November 2019 she established the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation to raise funds to find an effective treatment and give support to other people diagnosed with the condition. The mural was painted to help raise awareness of the Foundation and a video of Akse completing the artwork went viral, being viewed millions of times. Also on the walls of the same building are two artworks by Ketones6000.
The next mural, at the corner of Thomas Street and High Street, replaced the tiger one I saw in 2019. Painted by the same artist, Jim Vision, it’s my favourite one so far.
Across the main road from the Northern Quarter into Ancoats I came across the Waterside Coffee Bar facing a section of the Rochdale Canal on Redhill Street, and though the window decoration wasn’t exactly street art it was pretty and I liked it enough to take a photo of it.
That was to be my last photo of the day though I knew I had many more streets and back alleys to explore so it wouldn’t be long before I was back in Manchester to see what other artworks I could find.
Previous to my ‘behind the scenes’ theatre tour at Morecambe’s Winter Gardens I’d found out that back in 2016 several murals and mosaics were commissioned and created as a project to help reinvigorate the town and celebrate its heritage so when I came out of the theatre after my tour I went in search of them, although with the exception of one I’ve been unable to find out who the artists were.
The first piece of artwork to be produced and the last one I photographed was, to me at least, the best one, and was on the side of what was once the Victoria Inn. It was a collaboration between Morecambe artist Kate Drummond and Sheffield-based artists Faunagraphic and Rocket01; given the title ‘The Sands and Seas’ it was so large and detailed that I had to take several separate shots of it.
Walking down a side street on my way back to the seafront I discovered the Central Methodist Church with its attractive front portico. Built in 1875/76 it was given a Grade ll listing in January 1993; unfortunately I’ve been able to find very little information about it but the lack of a board outside detailing service times etc. leads me to suspect that it’s no longer used as a chapel.
Not having Poppie with me meant that for once I was able to have a look round the stalls in the indoor Festival Market where dogs aren’t allowed, then after coffee and a meal in Rita’s Cafe I went to have a wander along the Central Promenade. Above the shoe shop near the cafe was a brightly coloured psychedelic pattern and not far from the Midland Hotel and the stone jetty the walls surrounding the area where the fairground is usually situated were painted in many different patterns and colours.
Although it had only been a couple of months since my previous visit to Morecambe the weather and the views across the bay were so good that I couldn’t resist taking several more photos. The gardens and flower beds were looking particularly attractive, possibly even more so than in July, and though I don’t profess to be any sort of gardener I do have a great liking for bright and colourful flower beds so the camera was put to good use.
To say that it was well past mid September the weather was fabulous, and still warm enough to be wearing a t-shirt even though there was a breeze. I would have loved to stay to see the sunset but I had a little dog waiting for me at home so eventually it was time to think about going back, but not before I’d had another coffee in Rita’s Cafe, which just finished the day off nicely.
I originally had today’s post sorted out at the beginning of the week but it was put on hold when I got wind of something else – a new street art installation has just appeared on the side of a building on the fringe of the town centre so I just had to go check it out and take a few photos.
The building in question was once a 4-storey textile mill dating from the late 19th century, joined to its 4-storey twin by a 2-storey central annexe, and set in the wall above what would once have been a doorway is a carved date stone – ‘J B & Co 1890’. Abandoned and derelict for many years the buildings are now owned by a north east property development company and are in the process of being converted into luxury apartments as part of a regeneration scheme, and it was this company which commissioned the artwork.
Measuring 50ft x 40ft and depicting much of the town’s history and heritage the mural was painted over the last three months by Manchester-based artists Kelzo and Entise using eight tiers of scaffolding, and it was only fully revealed last weekend. Included in the picture are Samuel Crompton’s Spinning Mule, the town hall and three of the town’s symbolic elephants, plus a couple of Manchester bees which represent the two artists. The peaks of the old mill’s original roofline are depicted in the hills at the top of the picture and the man featured is Joshua Barber, a Victorian cotton waste merchant who once owned the mill and whose initials are carved in the date stone.
Unfortunately a high wall and solid double gates prevented me from getting the very bottom of the mural in the photo but I didn’t miss much out. A comment in the local press said the mural has ruined the side of the building but I’m sure many others will think differently – after all, a well painted piece of artwork brightening up a currently run down area has got to look better than a blank brick wall. I know which I prefer.
What little there is of it anyway.
My Monday walk this week is a relatively short one across the town centre from north to south, starting at the 1st Edition tattoo parlour just on the north edge of town. It’s round the corner from one of the places where I work so I pass it regularly ; the mural on the side wall has been done by a Hungarian-born Preston tattoo artist with over ten years experience working as a graphic designer, illustrator and street artist.
Down into the town centre itself now, and the Greyhound pub on Deansgate. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to find out any history of the pub other than for some strange reason it’s referred to locally as the Kicking Donkey ; on its side wall is one of several murals done by an artist going by the name of Kaser.
A few minutes walk from the Greyhound and past the open market took me to the Griffin pub on Great Moor Street and a Kaser mural on the corner wall, though again I can find no history of the pub itself.
Another few minutes walk and I came to the Sweet Green Tavern on Crook Street, and more murals by Kaser. Yet again I’ve been unable to find out much history of the pub though the very friendly young lady behind the bar did tell me that the building used to be three separate premises. The window on the far left was once a doorway and that and the two windows on its right were the original pub which was just one room. The existing doorway and the two windows to its right belonged to a bakery and the other three windows were the doorway and windows of a house.
Stretching along the pub’s rear wall, and bordering the main road, is a large mural which pays tribute to the photos of Humphrey Spender and the Mass Observation of 1937/38. Seen close up it’s just a jumble of black and grey shapes but from across the road (or in my case the middle of the road!) it makes more sense.
On the end wall of the pub is another mural by Kaser, taken from a photo of the 1918 Crook Street train crash. On March 16th that year a coal train with an engine weighing 70 tons pulling wagons carrying over 400 tons of coal ran out of control going down the incline approaching Bolton Terminal Station. It was diverted into the Crook Street goods yard but ran through the yard, smashed through the buffers and the boundary wall, crossed the road diagonally and smashed into two small houses. The guard jumped from the brake van but the driver and fireman stayed on the footplate ; fortunately none of the men suffered more than minor injuries but eight people living in the houses were injured, though not seriously. In addition to the damage to the engine and the houses five coal wagons were completely wrecked and seven others were damaged.
Going through the pub and out into the outside smoking area I found a plethora of murals by Kaser. Unfortunately some of the canopy supports prevented me from getting completely uninterrupted photos of some of the murals but the shots I got were good enough. My favourite was the hummingbird on the end wall, and even though it was looking a bit worse for wear it was still quite pretty.
As far as I’m aware these murals are the only examples of street art in my town ; I can think of several places which could be brightened up with a mural or two so it’s a shame that most of these are hidden behind the outside wall of a pub’s beer garden. I’m glad I found out about them though, and at least I’ve added a few more photos to my street art collection.
In which I take a long walk round Dublin city centre, find more street art than I ever imagined, and have a very unusual coffee….
Since my two visits to Dublin in September an internet search had provided me with maps of four street art walks around the city ; one of these seemed to be a distance out of the centre itself but the other three were definitely doable. Not sure if I would have enough time to do all three in one day before I lost any decent daylight I concentrated on the first two which were both in the same part of the city ; the starting points of each walk were close together but the end points were a distance apart so to save back-tracking I started at the end of one and followed the route in reverse to join up with the start of the second, thus turning two two-and-a-half mile walks into one five mile circuit.
My walk began on the south side of the river at City Quay with a large Irish Wolfhound done by James Earley, the artist who painted the outside of the Blooms Hotel ; I’d actually photographed this one in September but still took another shot of it. Right along the riverside, past the Samuel Beckett Bridge and almost before I ran out of road, a right turn took me up to Hanover Quay on the huge basin of the Grand Canal where I found another work by James Earley, though this one was partially obscured by several leafless young trees. There was another one close by done by Decoy but the bottom half of it had been painted over which rather spoiled it, so I gave that one a miss.
Past the end of the canal basin a good walk involving two right and two left turns took me to the next piece, a 2-part work on the side of a business premises. Not far from there was Merrion Square followed by St. Stephen’s Green and Iveagh Gardens and as I was going that way anyway I took a look round all three and also photographed some more of the colourful Georgian doors for another post. I was particularly interested in seeing Iveagh Gardens properly as I’d abandoned my visit there in September due to a sudden rain shower.
The next artwork I wanted to find was just a few streets away from Iveagh Gardens. I couldn’t get all of it due to a couple of parked cars being in the way but the line at the bottom actually reads ”So get your head out of your phone”. A very true sentiment when so many people these days walk round with their heads down, eyes glued to their phones and constantly texting or internet surfing as they walk. From there a long zigzag route down towards the Temple Bar area provided me with more street art than I ever thought possible and I took so many photos it’s been really hard deciding which ones to include in this post.
Now although certain individuals may think it’s fun to get a cheap can of spray paint and scrawl amateurish pictures and tags over random bits of blank walls proper works of street art need permission from the council and this permission isn’t always granted. Street art though is a constantly changing medium, murals can often be changed twice in the time it takes to get that permission and headed by the artist group Subset the Grey Area Project was born, a movement to paint murals on walls quicker than the council can paint those same walls grey. Although some of the murals I found may not be completely ‘official’ they certainly brighten things up and look a lot better than blank grey walls.
The next few murals I wanted to find were all in Temple Bar but as I headed down the main road in that direction I unexpectedly came to the entrance to an indoor shopping arcade. With shops on each side and stalls down the centre it looked quite intriguing but I didn’t want to linger so once I could get a clear view with no-one close by I took a quick shot then continued down the road to Temple Bar and hopefully some coffee and cake.
A while ago Queen of Tarts, an Irish cake shop and café, had been recommended to me though I can’t remember now who or where the recommendation came from, so I thought I’d give it a try and found it down the pedestrianised Cows Lane just off the main road. It seemed to be quite a busy place but I found a small vacant table and ordered a latte coffee and a slice of the ‘Queen of Chocolate Fudge’ cake ; it was going to cost more than I would normally pay for something like that but I was on holiday so deserved a treat. Well that’s my excuse anyway!
After the young waiter had taken my order I was quite surprised when he returned a couple of minutes later with a carafe of chilled water and a glass – this was something totally unexpected and I began to feel I should have dressed for the occasion! My coffee and cake arrived not long afterwards and that’s when I got another surprise – instead of the coffee being in the usual type of tall glass mug with a handle it came in a small handle-less glass, the type of thing you would have orange juice in if you had a hotel breakfast. This was weird, and when I looked round to see other people being served drinks in the sort of glass mugs I’d expected my coffee to come in it seemed even weirder.
Wondering if the young waiter had made a mistake I went up to the counter to query it and was told it was usual to serve the coffee like that as that was how the owners liked it to be done. I must admit though, of all the different places I’ve been in over the years I’ve never encountered that one before. The coffee itself however, although not mad hot, was very nice and the cake was absolutely divine ; I’d actually expected to only get a small slice with a tiny blob of cream but I got a sizeable piece with a good portion of cream, in fact there was so much cake that I couldn’t quite eat it all. Price-wise it hadn’t been too much of a blow-the-budget expense either and although the coffee situation was weird the cake was wonderful so I’d definitely go back there another time.
Back along the main road from the end of Cows Lane was Crampton Court, a courtyard and narrow alley leading between the road and the main street through Temple Bar. In 2014 ‘Love The Lanes’ was a joint initiative between Dublin Council and The Temple Bar Company to allow artists to visually improve some of the lanes around Temple Bar and this alleyway was one of them, being decorated on both sides by various artworks. By the time I emerged from the alleyway the daylight was starting to fade so I got my last four shots as I walked along the main street through Temple Bar then headed back towards the river and the bridge which would take me towards the bus station.
At the far side of the river I noticed that the pyramid rooftops of George’s Quay Plaza were lit with purple lights round the edges and in the fading sunlight they looked quite attractive. On the side wall of the building down below was the outline of what had once been a work of street art; created by Portuguese artist Bordalo II it was a red squirrel and had been made up of different items of trash, including an old bike, found in and around the city. Unfortunately it fell foul of Dublin council’s drive to build as many new hotels and office blocks in as many derelict or run down parcels of land as possible and it had to be removed, although nothing has been built there yet.
With the sun finally setting over the river I made my way round to the bus station and got the 4.30pm coach back to Roscrea. I hadn’t had time to do the third street art walk but I’d certainly got plenty of photos during my day and I can look forward to doing the other walk another time.
Where I find some colourful horses and lots of street art…
A cold but sunny morning on the second full day of my holiday saw me heading off to Limerick in search of some street art. I’d found a few examples when I was there in September and since then I’d found a website listing several more and their locations so with a list written in my notepad I was now on a mission to find and photograph them. Getting off the coach at Arthur’s Quay park I crossed the grass to get a view of the Shannon river, and though I took a photo from there back in September it looked so nice I just had to get another shot. Sitting on top of a post in the water was a seagull, so still that I thought for a moment someone had somehow put a stuffed toy up there, but eventually it moved so I zoomed in and took a snap ; its red beak and legs told me it could have been a red billed gull, one which also seemed to be still quite young.
Along the road from Arthur’s Quay was the Hunt Museum, originally an 18th century Customs House designed by an Italian architect. After a major restoration and refurbishment in the mid 1990s the building was established as a museum to house the important and extensive art works and antiquities collected by John and Gertrude Hunt during their lifetime ; more information about the museum can be found here.
Standing outside the museum were two life-size and very colourful horses from the Horse Outside Project, a joint venture between the museum and a community arts initiative. The work on the horses evolved over several months and the colours and images painted on them were inspired by various objects in the museum’s collection, including sacred and religious items.
Just along from the museum the road took me over the river and I followed it past St. Mary’s Cathedral to St. Mary’s Church where information led me to believe there could be a mural on the opposite corner. There was, a large and very colourful one on a gable end wall with a smaller one on the back yard wall of the butcher’s shop next door, and though the pig needed no explanation I couldn’t really see the significance of the wording. It was rather amateurish compared to others I found and wasn’t on my list but it was worth including it.
Heading back towards the city centre I came across a narrow street off the main road and set at an angle to another street with a triangle of grass and trees between the two. The houses were double-fronted and the door and window surrounds were all painted different colours making the terrace look quite attractive. There was a car parked outside the far end house and four or five young cats were playing round it, chasing leaves and whatever else they could find. One of the cats looked particularly pretty and while I didn’t want to get too close in case I spooked them all I managed to get a shot of that one.
Back across the river and in a small courtyard on the side wall of a solicitor’s premises near the bridge I found the first ‘proper’ mural, and though it wasn’t on my list, right across from it on the side wall of a small modern 2-storey office block was another one, presumably done by the same two London artists known as Church of Best Ever. At the far side of the office building, between that and the library building, was a long narrow alley and as I passed the end I spotted some more street art about halfway down ; none of it was on my list so I had no idea of the artist(s). The alley was a dead end, leading to what seemed to be a boat repair business ; a few old dinghies were lined up alongside the wall of the workshop and these had been painted to incorporate them into the art on the wall ; unfortunately I couldn’t get the full mural as a couple of cars were in the way.
Back past the Hunt Museum and across the ground floor windows, doors, shutters and walls of a disused building was the slogan ”Culture is where we are from” while round the corner was the same slogan but with the word ‘from’ replaced by ‘going’. Back in 2014 Limerick had been Ireland’s first National City of Culture and the slogans were produced in a 2016 bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2020, though the city lost out to Galway. Unfortunately due to the amount of traffic and/or parked cars I couldn’t get either slogan completely but with a lot of patience I managed to get the best bits.
Although I’d made a list of the artworks I wanted to find and the street names of their locations I’d forgotten to print out a street map before I left home so my next port of call was the tourist information office, where I got chatting to a very friendly and helpful lady who gave me a street map and also marked on it the locations of the artworks I wanted to find. I didn’t get the lady’s name but I did tell her about this blog and she made a note of it – so if you’re reading this, whoever you are, then thank you, your help was much appreciated.
Walking up the road from the tourist office my eye was caught by something which appeared to be flying above a narrow lane on my right so I stopped to have a look. There was a pub and bar on the right with seating outside and this ‘thing’ was suspended on chains between the upper floor of the bar and the wall of the building across ; it was a bird of prey, possibly an eagle, though what ever it was supposed to be it looked rather weird and seemed to have no significance to the bar.
Further up the road I came to the Biodiversity Garden and the next two artworks on my list. The garden was created several years ago from a corner plot of derelict land, to coincide with Limerick being the 2014 National City of Culture ; over 100 small native Irish trees were planted, along with over 35 species of Irish wildflowers and several larger trees in recycled oil barrels decorated by local artists. Now while I have no doubt that the garden initially looked very pretty it certainly doesn’t look like that now ; with overgrown and untidy shrubs, a stack of pallets against one wall, a couple of traffic cones lying on the floor and a hotch-potch of other detritus in various places it looked very unkempt, unloved and abandoned.
The artwork, called Love Me So, is on two adjacent walls in the garden and was painted in 2013 by Dermot McConaghy. One section stands at 30ft x 50ft and the other is 20ft x 30ft, with both pieces taking a total of four days to complete. The larger piece features a woman looking back on herself as a child and the smaller one features that same child. Unfortunately the child’s face was looking a bit worse for wear and both pieces were partially obscured by overgrown trees and shrubs but I managed to get a reasonable shot of each of them.
Across the road from the Biodiversity Garden was Fox’s Bow arch at the entrance to a narrow back lane leading to the shopping street beyond ; on the side wall of the arch was a mural by Louisa Donnelly but I couldn’t get the whole thing as there was a car parked right in front of it. Unfortunately it had been defaced in a couple of places but seen face on it was the abstract face of a big cat, possibly a tiger. Towards the top of the road the whole frontage of one particular building had been given a makeover with some psychedelic art ; at the time I didn’t know who the artist was but I suspected it could have been Maser as his artwork is very distinctive, and later information told me I was right.
At the top of the road I turned right and right again into the road behind, where I found the next artwork on my list. On the corner of a 3-storey car park building it was painted in 2014 by an Australian artist of Irish parentage, and though the colours may have faded a bit from when it was originally done it’s still a great piece of art and so far has managed to escape being defaced by senseless graffiti.
Having temporarily run out of street art with that last piece I made my way down the road to take a walk along the riverside in the direction of the docks, though I only went as far as the Shannon Bridge. At the far side of the bridge was a skate park with a sea theme painted on its outside walls, and though the shark wasn’t in the same league as most of the street art I’d seen it amused me enough to take a photo of it.
Retracing my steps I came to the Seamens’ Memorial, set down off the quayside and with its back to the river. Originally it was in remembrance of the lost seamen of the Shannon estuary and wasn’t specific to wartime casualties, however in 2004 a stone tablet was added to the base of the memorial, listing the names of the Limerick and Clare men who lost their lives on three Irish Merchant Navy ships during WW2 ; this was because the bodies of the men were never recovered and their families wanted them to be remembered in some way.
Further along the riverside, where Bishop’s Quay becomes Howley’s Quay, was the Dockers Monument, commissioned by Limerick City Council and erected in 2010. At the time when Limerick’s dockyards were a major source of employment working there was one of the most enduring and difficult ways to earn a living so the life size bronze sculpture by Limerick-born artist Michael Duhan now pays tribute to all those men who served at the docks, with their names on a commemorative plaque beside the monument.
Heading back in the direction of Arthur’s Quay park I was beginning to feel quite peckish – it was time for coffee and cake, and I couldn’t think of anywhere better than Jack Monday’s Coffee House where I’d had a nice lunch on my day in Limerick in September. Crossing the river at the next road bridge I repeated my September walk along Clancy’s Strand which would bring me out opposite Jack Monday’s. Towards the end of the riverside boardwalk and displayed on a tall pedestal was the Treaty Stone, a large irregular-shaped block of limestone which was once used as a mounting block for horse riders and where the Treaty of Limerick was reputedly signed on October 3rd 1691.
After indulging in coffee and a slice of gooey chocolate cake I crossed back over the river to find the last artwork on my list ; it was situated on a gable end wall across from the castle although what’s there now isn’t what I was originally looking for. After my visit to Limerick in September I’d found out about a large artwork in that location, though I couldn’t understand how I’d missed seeing it at the time as it was very much ‘in your face’, however the lady in the tourist information place had told me it had been removed in September, obviously just prior to my visit there which would explain why I didn’t see it.
Just along the street from the new artwork was a piece which had only appeared since I was there in September. It was on a side wall set back off the street but so far I’ve been unable to find out who the artist is and what it represents. Further along still my eye was caught by an old advertising sign on the wall above the Cauldron Bar, a premises no bigger than an ordinary terraced house though maybe years ago it was once a little hardware shop. Although not strictly street art I took a photo of the old sign as I like things like that and I remember the brand name from my early childhood.
And so to the new artwork across from the castle. Designed and painted by Dublin-based artist Aches it’s dedicated to The Cranberries lead singer, Limerick-born Dolores O’Riordan, who died suddenly almost two years ago at the age of 46. It was created by overlaying three separate images of her performing on stage back in 1993, images chosen to immortalize her as a young woman at the peak of her career. I must admit to not being terribly familiar with any of The Cranberries songs, I only really know Linger, but for the people of Limerick memories of the singer will certainly linger on in this colourful artwork.
That was to be my last photo of the day, I’d been wandering round Limerick for four hours and though it was still only just after 3pm I didn’t want to be too late in getting a coach to Roscrea as the ride back would take over an hour. I’d found all the artwork on my list and more besides so my day out had been very successful – it was now time to get back to Roscrea and relax in front of the fire.