Street has the power to cheer people up and brighten up even the most desolated aream and it is also a formidable way to talk to a mass audience. The quality and diversity of Dublin street art have improved a lot in the last years. But large-scale artworks are under threat from planning laws. Dublin City Council has ordered their removal and some pieces have been actually painted over, like the famous Stormzy mural is Smithfield, or one of my favourite, Gracie in Rathmines. In order to change the laws surrounding large-scale public artwork in Ireland, the Grey Area Project was launched by the artist group SUBSET. The plan was initially for a series of 25 artworks to be produced over the course of two months, but the artists have decided to extend the project indefinitely. Watch the Grey Area Documentary below to know more about the project.
Today the line between public art and public nuisance is still grey, but hopefully, this will change anytime soon. Nevertheless, some remarkable street art pieces can be found in Dublin. In this post, I decided to list my favourite 10 places where you can find street art in the capital of Ireland. After the list, you can find a map which indicates all the mentioned places plus some additional others. When you click over the pins of the map you can see a picture of the work and the exact location. Unfortunately (or, I rather tend to think, fortunately), in a few months, or even days, this map might be out of date. That’s why I made it public so that you can contribute to updating it by adding new or missing Dublin street art pieces.
Here is the list of my favourite 10 places where you can find street art in Dublin.
Portobello Harbour is home of the MART Creative Hub, which is decorated by an impressive piece of street art created by Dan Leo. Dan is a graphic artist known for his murals of animals recreated with colourful pattern elements. The street art piece in Portobello is an ode to the swans swimming along the canal.
In Stirrup Lane you can find “the horseman”, a beautiful piece made by SUBSET. It is a trippy image of a boy on a white horse. The artist was inspired by a photo taken by the Australian photographer James Horan to depict the Irish horse culture which used to be very strong in Dublin. The background of the mural is Smithfield Square itself.
I like to think of Burgess Lane as the heart of the Grey Area project because this is the place where I saw the hashtag #greyareaproject painted on a wall for the first time. The graffiti on the wall of this lane are deadly! If you are in Dublin and you haven’t seen them, you are missing out!
Temple Bar is the most touristic area in Dublin. Here you can find pretty cool street art pieces besides old pubs and buildings.
In Temple Bar, you can find the largest public artwork in Ireland, painted by James Earley on the exterior of Blooms Hotel. On the wall of the Button Factory there is another beautiful piece which is part of the SUBSET’s Grey Area project. If you are a romantic, then you cannot miss the “Love Lane”, the alleyway which links Essex Street to Dame Street, which was transformed into a tribute to love by Anna Doran.
The Bernard Shaw is one of my favourite going out places in Dublin and, most importantly, it is a place you have to check out if you are looking for deadly street art in Dublin. You can find graffiti all around the building and also on the back line of the pub. Unfortunately, the wall of the back lane of the pub is getting demolished, but artists can still use the internal wall of the buildings.
This mural in Grantham Street gives me so much energy every time I pass by. The author is the Dublin-born artist Maser, who created also other pieces which brighten up other streets in the city.
Standing in front of Bernard Shaw birthplace, this colourful mural, “Thoughts”, is a clear tribute to the Irish playwriter. The author of the mural is Fink, who wanted to visually represent the thought process of Bernard Shaw.
8. All over Dublin (follow the bees)
Small bees are all around Dublin and they keep popping up all over the city thanks to the amazing work of the artist Buzzy Be. These bees are usually accompanied by small messages: “Be Happy”, “Be Curious”, “Be Paddy”, “Be Kind”, “Be Strong” and, my favourite one,“Bee Free”. The artist wants to invite us to be better persons through these small but powerful street art pieces.
This red squirrel is created by combining painting and city rubbish by the Portugues environmental artist Artur Bordalo. The subject of the installation is a red squirrel because the artist wants to bring awareness of threats affecting this species and its survival.
In Richmond Place, you can find another work of Maser. The artist painted Seamus Heaney’s last words ‘Noli timere’ – ‘Don’t be afraid.’ Maser twitted that he painted this for Good people in Hard times.
Below you can find the map with all the street art pieces I managed to find in Dublin. Red pins indicate the pieces which were washed over. Grey pins indicate the pieces which are part of the grey area project. In yellow all the bees which I found around the city. You can edit the map and add more pins and more photos if you want so that the map is constantly updated.
Drop me an email if you modified the map and want your contribution to be mentioned in this post.
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