Deaf community ‘delighted’ with mural celebrating Co Kildare history

The new mural by Cork artist Peter Martin in Athy, Co Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)
The new mural by Cork artist Peter Martin in Athy, Co Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

A mural that represents Athy Waterways, a Patrick Kavanagh poem, climate change and the deaf community has been unveiled in Co Kildare.

The painting, by Cork artist Peter Martin, investigates “signs of change” and draws from Kavanagh’s Lines Written On A Seat On The Grand Canal, Dublin which refers to a barge on the Grand Canal bringing supplies from Athy.

The local Sing and Sign group commissioned the mural at Boortmalt Wall.

Caitlin and Caoimhe Owens, who are children of a deaf adult, admire Peter Martin\u2019s new mural in Athy, Co Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

Maggie Owens, of Sing and Sign, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the finished mural. Cork artist Peter Martin has delivered beyond expectation.

“Initially, when we first commissioned the mural, we suggested Patrick Kavanagh’s poem because it mentioned Athy in it.

Little did we know that the barge actually belongs to the Hughes family in Athy.

“It is barge number 113B – we just had to find out more.

“We were delighted that Brian Hughes, a grandson of Thomas Hughes (the man on the boat), agreed to meet us, as he had buried his father, Liam Hughes, just the week before.

“Brian met with us and told us, yes indeed, that is the barge in the poem and that his grandfather used to carry Patrick Kavanagh on the barge up in Baggot Street.”

The artwork also celebrates the natural landscape surrounding the town, and in particular the importance of nature in the current global climate debate.

The inclusion of a monarch butterfly refers to its status as a species heavily affected by climate change, as well as being a symbol for the deaf community.

Ms Owens said she hopes the artwork will engage people of all generations in Athy and encourage them to examine its rich past while also looking to the future.

“It’s Athy heritage, it’s history, it’s the past, it’s a story. We are delighted to highlight that story as part of our Signs Of Change festival,” she added.

“It is also on the new Barrow Blueway path beside the Grand Canal – an ideal location for this wonderful story.”

The Conversation (0)