City Council commissions mini murals to cover bollard boxes

Margaret Nolan with one of her mini-murals at the bottom of High Street. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnesy.

The ugly bollard boxes which control vehicle access to the pedestriansed zone have received a colourful makeover with iconic Galway scenes.

Artist Margaret Nolan was commissioned by the Tidy Towns Committee to paint over the graffiti and create mini works of art to brighten up the 12 boxes which dot the centre from Eyre Square to the Spanish Arch.

So far the project has seen the completion of three boxes, with the Galway Races, Nora Barnacle and a Galway hooker so featured.

Margaret plans to depict swans, Una Taaffe, Galway hurlers and footballers, the Tribes of Galway on the rest – weather permitting.

“I was hoping to get one and a half done a day but the weather has been against me,” reveals Margaret.

“A lot of people are interested in them alright, taking photos. So far I haven’t had anyone giving out or anything like that. They are colourful and I wouldn’t say they’re sensitive, so people seem to like them.”

Tidy Town committee member Niall McNelis got the idea to spruce up the boxes following similar initiatives across Europe and in Dublin and Cork.

The small cost is covered by a grant from the Department of the Environment.

“We’re delighted with the reaction. Nobody has abused the ones done, they seem to be respected by the taggers and we hope they’ll last as long as the bollards – which are due for the chop with the overhaul of the pedestrianisation,” explained the Labour councillor.

As well as having paintings displayed in the Jury’s Inn Hotel on Spanish Arch, Tigh Neachtains and the Black Gate Cultural Centre, Margaret is a well-known street artist. She is behind the mural on the side of Colleran’s Locksmiths and created the Una Taaffe mural on Taaffes some years back.

The mural she created for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2012 has recently resurfaced after the hoardings finally came down on the new Palás cinema.