Murals to bring ancient Boyne Valley myths to life

Murals to bring ancient Boyne Valley myths to life

A series of six murals depicting mythology from the Drogheda and Boyne Valley area has begun with the commissioning of a giant artwork featuring scenes from the famous story of Finn and the Salmon of Knowledge.

The following is a press release about the exciting new 'DRAWDA - Drogheda Urban Art Trail – Embracing our mythological past' project.

They say a picture can say a thousand words and we hope that the newly commissioned Salmon of Knowledge mural on the Fitzwilliam Court building will create a thousand conversations and a deeper understanding of our local heritage.

Love Drogheda Business Improvement District are working with our partners and co-collaborators Droichead Arts Centre and Louth County Council to create an Urban Art Trail throughout Drogheda that will focus on key figures and moments from our mythological past.

Artist Ciarán Dunlevy working on the first mural in Drogheda.

The pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to towns and cities across the country. However, as more people work from home and reconnect with their towns there is an opportunity to create a greater sense of place and building a greater engagement in our town's story. Love Drogheda BID, Droichead Arts Centre and Louth County Council are working together with local, national and international artists, and mythologist Anthony Murphy of Mythical Ireland, to deliver six murals based on some of the key figures from Irish Mythology who are rooted in the Boyne Valley region. Our hope is that people will enjoy learning more about mythological Ireland, the customs of the day, and the characters.

Our first piece will be linked to the River Boyne and the timeless story of the Salmon of Knowledge and how Fionn MacCumhaill gained all the knowledge in the world. The Salmon of Knowledge story is one of the most popular Irish Mythological stories with many areas and river systems but most strongly associated with Fiacc's Pool at Rossnaree, just five miles upstream of where the mural is being painted. Ciaran’s piece will help ground the story in place and will give an opportunity to open up other famous characters and stories form the past.

The poet Finegas had spent seven years fishing for the elusive salmon and when he finally caught it, he gave the fish to his servant Fionn to cook and left instructions not to eat the fish. While cooking the salmon, a blister burst on the salmon and burnt young Fionn. To help soothe the pain he sucked his thumb and in the process gained all the wisdom in the world. Throughout the rest of his life anytime Fionn needed to draw upon his wisdom he would simply bite his thumb. Fionn later became the leader of the Fianna.

The artist

Ciaran Dunlevy has been selected as the first artist to showcase Drogheda’s mythological past with the retelling of the Salmon of Knowledge story. Ciaran’s style of wall art is based on super realism and as part of the research process into the piece, Ciaran met with local artist Richard Moore and Anthony Murphy and local fishermen who identified a specific area where there would have been opportunities to catch salmon at a weir in the river, Knowth and Dowth stand proudly in the background.

Ciarán Dunlevy with his Salmon of Knowledge mural at night.

Many thanks to all the partners engaged in this piece including Louth County Council, Fitzwilliam Court, Wogans Interiors, Johnstone Paint & Height for Hire. Great appreciation to Declan Kierans, Leo Monahan, and Willie Smyth for their assistance in making this happen.

Project background

DRAWDA is be a curated multidisciplinary public arts programme that will take place in Drogheda, Co. Louth, between September 2021 and April 2022.

Led by Droichead Arts Centre and Love Drogheda B.I.D.S (Business Improvement District Scheme), in partnership with curators Dee Walsh and Brian Hegarty, and Louth County Council Arts Office, the project will be delivered across a number of strands which will draw on Drogheda’s significant rich heritage, mythology and architecture.

The first strand, the creation of six outdoor murals by local, national and international artists is already under way with the very talented Ciaran Dunlevy leading on the story of Fionn MacCumhaill and the Salmon of Knowledge. 

This will be followed by a mini festival in April 2022 with five pieces being delivered in close proximity to each other.  

Additionally there will be an outreach programme with local schools beginning in January 2022 to highlight and engage in the arts.

DRAWDA is a legacy programme that will continue long after the murals are created.

DRAWDA will make use of shared public outdoor streets and walls, and help engage with a new and wider audience. Working with local collaborators, the local authority and key cultural providers, it will create a visual vibrancy and a cascade of colour in the town, reinvigorating derelict public places and streets.

The project will be inclusive by working with local communities, and it will support over 14 artists in its delivery. This project is funded by the Arts Council, Louth County Council, Love Drogheda BIDS and Town & Village Accerelated Measures funding.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.