Strict Galway stance on murals ‘a cause of frustration’

A wall mural at St Patrick's National School which has been praised by a city councillor. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway will be hoping to emerge triumphant over Waterford on Sunday in the hurling – but there’s one area where the Déise is already streets ahead.

This summer, Waterford hosted its fourth annual ‘Waterford Walls International Street Art Festival’ – seeing over 40 international street artists show off their talents in the city.

A local councillor is now calling for the relaxation of stringent planning bylaws that govern street art in Galway – citing “tasteful” murals as an opportunity to bring art to the masses.

Cllr Pádraig Conneely said that there has to be a line drawn between graffiti and street art – and that murals such as the recently installed feature wall in St Patrick’s National School should be encouraged.

“I am not a fan of graffiti – it’s not nice and it shouldn’t be allowed, but there is such a thing as ‘artistic’ street art and you can see it all over Europe.

“I went down to see the wall in St Pat’s and that is an example of what can be done – it’s inviting, its warm and friendly and it has people talking – loads of people have spoken to me about how well it looks.”

While the mural in St Patrick’s School is on private property, and not within the Galway City Council’s remit, the local authority has a reputation when it comes to murals.

City Hall was criticised last summer for its enforced removal of the now infamous beanstalk mural from Claddagh Jewellers on Mainguard Street – a piece of street art that had become a landmark.

The Council spent three years pursuing the owners for the mural’s removal – sparking a campaign to save it which culminated in its replacement earlier this year.

In September last year, it was revealed that the local authority had commissioned and paid for a mural to cover Taaffe’s on William Street – before swiftly calling for its destruction.
For more on the murals story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.