Today a maginificent mural was unveiled at the Old St Peter’s Graveyard, Railway Street, Portlaoise.
The Walls project endeavours to inspire interest in the heritage and archaeology of the town and county for the next generation. It is part of the greater Fort Protector project and rejuvenation of the central of the town.
Old St Peter’s is included in the recently announced Urban Regeneration funding for the historic core of Portlaoise.
The impetus for the project came from the late councillor Jerry Lodge and the Portlaoise Tidy Town Committee.
This follows on from conservation works to the graveyard started in 2017, and aiming to open it to the public as a “pocket park”.
The project is a part of the Creative Ireland Laois programme, which was developed in partnership with the Arts Office, Heritage Office and students at Coláiste Dhún Mas.
The Coordinator of the Laois Creative Ireland programme, Arts Officer, Muireann Ní Chonaill, contacted Edel Tobin, Founder of The Waterford Walls Project in to discuss recruiting a suitable mural artist.
A shortlist was made from a selection of leading mural artists and the successful artist appointed was Shane Sutton.
The mural depicts Rory Óg O Moore and his wife Margaret O’Byrne (of the famed O’Byrne Clan of Wicklow). The iconic Laois site the Rock of Dunamase, is in the background. Wolves and wolfhounds are also featured in the mural.
Heritage Officer with Laois County Council Catherine Casey said “There has been a lot of focus on Fort Protector in recent years, and we are delighted with that.
“But the fabric of the Fort, built by the English planters, is just one part of the origin story of Portlaoise.
“We wanted to use this mural as an opportunity to commemorate the people the Fort was built to keep out – the Gaelic tribes led by the O’Moores.
“The location of Old St Peter’s – just outside the walls of the Fort – makes it a perfect place to remember the people outside the walls.
“We’re grateful to Creative Ireland for their support for the project, and also to the Heritage Council, whose ongoing support for Old St Peter’s has been crucial over the past number of years”.
Coordinator of the Creative Ireland programme , Muireann Ní Chonaill added, “It is hoped that further projects to enhance streets in towns and villages throughout the county will take place with help from the Creative Ireland programme.”
You can see the pictures below: