By Kieran Healy – The Kerry Journal – 30/05/2019
If you’re walking down College Street in Killarney your eyes will definitely be drawn to the new street art down Dan Linehan’s lane (St. Anthony’s Place).
One side is bright, vibrant green with a Killarney sign which looks every bit as good as the legendary Hollywood sign in California and the other side is a usual suspects line up, but instead of shifty looking ex-cons, the line up is made up of Killarney’s best and brightest with A-List Hollywood Superstar Michael Fassbender, Rising star Jessie Buckey, Kerry Footballer James O’Donoghue, Champion winning jockey Jim Culloty and the legendary man himself Dan Linehan completing the line up.
Speaking to The Kerry Journal, the person behind the makeover Siobhan Linehan said “I have an interest in street art – the colour, vibrancy, creativity. How an artist can take a scruffy old space and turn it into something beautiful. Two years ago I started trawling Instagram for Irish artists who’s work I admired in the hope we could collaborate to brighten up Linehan’s Lane.
When asked how the project began Siobhan said “Padraig Treacy popped into the pub last year before the Tidy Town judges came around marking and suggested we paint our laneway to tidy it up. I imagined that something bigger and bolder than a lick of paint would probably go down well and be welcomed from a Killarney Looking Good perspective. I began emailing artists in earnest.”
“After many ‘no’s’ and ‘can’t do its’, I found Garreth Joyce @gw.joyce. A Cork native living in Dublin. Outstanding work, colour and style. When he agreed to take on the project I had a vague idea of one wall being an identity parade of notable Irish hero’s and legends and the other showcasing scenic spots of Kerry. A plan was hatched. Garreth and I thrashed out ideas back and forth via email for months. Garreth came up with ‘Killarney’ as the Hollywood Hills idea which prompted me to think that our Irish legends should perhaps be more localised and from Killarney. Picking our local talent was easy after that! My grandad Dan Linehan was an obvious choice to take the stage. Dan’s grandson and my cousin James O’Donoghue in his Kerry kit was another clear contender. Our pub has always been associated with horses and racing. Dan was great friends with Jim Cullotys father so Jim was in. Then came the actress Jessie Buckley whose family in the Arbutus are our neighbours in college Street and the our very own Hollywood hunk Michael Fassbender.”
“At this point Garreth recruited the extremely talented Rachelle O’Donohoe @rorartist, a Dubliner, to take over the portrait side of the project. Her forte is in fine art and detail.
So now we had Garreth on the Killarney wall and Rachelle on the identity parade.
When the final decisions were made I got excited and Garreth and Rachelle got to work. They completed the bulk of the work over the last six weeks in their homes in Dublin. Next we agreed dates to paint and booked them rooms in Dan Linehans B&B! That’s how it all happened!”
Siobhan added “Eileen O’Donoghue from Killarney Council was very supportive allowing us to have freedom of the lane while the artists worked. That really meant everything in terms of getting the job done and I’m very grateful for that. There has already been many people walking past stopping to take pictures. The feedback is so positive. It looks great, it has made in unremarkable laneway remarkable. Garreth and Rachelle were a joy to work with and their delivery has exceeded my expectations. I’m delighted how it has turned out and hope it pleases everyone who passed by brightening up their day a little. A splash of colour and creativity to showcase our talented townspeople and celebrate the beautiful town and surroundings of Killarney we’re lucky enough to call home.”
So if you’re walking down College St in Killarney in the next few days be sure to check it out and you might as well call into Dan’s while you’re at it!