Mural depicting the Burning of Cork gives locals sense of what 'fellow Corkonians experienced 100 years ago'

Mural depicting the Burning of Cork gives locals sense of what 'fellow Corkonians experienced 100 years ago'

A man and his dog walking past the Middle Parish Community Centre on Grattan Street, Cork, where artist Peter Martin created a mural depicting the burning of Cork taking from an old Irish Examiner picture. Picture Dan Linehan

A Cork artist whose mural depicting the Burning of Cork is on display on Grattan Street has said that he wanted to “recreate one of the famous images of the ruins of Cork city after the fires”.

Peter Martin who has created various works of art around the city which look at Cork’s history and identity was contacted by Chairman of the Middle Parish Community Centre George Patterson in early March.

Mr Patterson who has been undertaking a research Masters on the history of the Middle Parrish had received funding from the Lord Mayor to create a mural based on the Burning of Cork.

Things came to a standstill on the project as lockdown measures were implemented but were picked back up in June.

 A man walking past the Middle Parish Community Centre on Grattan Street, Cork, where artist Peter Martin created a mural depicting the burning of Cork taking from an old Irish Examiner picture. Picture Dan Linehan
A man walking past the Middle Parish Community Centre on Grattan Street, Cork, where artist Peter Martin created a mural depicting the burning of Cork taking from an old Irish Examiner picture. Picture Dan Linehan

“The idea was to give passersby today a sense of what it was like to see their city in ruins, something our fellow Corkonians experienced 100 years ago,” Mr Martin explained.

“It can't be sugar coated or dramatised anymore than that. Our city was burned to the ground by a bunch of irate, undisciplined soldiers during a bloody War of Independence but the message of the piece is that we rose again as a city and a people, something that hopefully resonates in a society that now faces its own challenges,” he said.

A mural depicting the Burning of Cork has been painted by artist Peter Martin on Grattan Street.
A mural depicting the Burning of Cork has been painted by artist Peter Martin on Grattan Street.

Mr Martin said that if the work, which was painted over five days, helps to spread awareness to people about the city's history then he feels as though the project has been successful.

“I think it's only once you finish a mural like that and step back that you feel proud of adding something to the city landscape.

A mural depicting the Burning of Cork has been painted by artist Peter Martin on Grattan Street.
A mural depicting the Burning of Cork has been painted by artist Peter Martin on Grattan Street.

“My studio used to be around the corner from Grattan street but it wasn't until I painted on the street for a week and spoke to the local people that I realised that it really is the beating heart of the city centre with a feeling of community and strength.

“When I was younger I used to spend the days up in my grandparents house on Blarney street and working on Grattan street for the week gave me the same feeling of community spirit.

“I felt proud to add something to their daily backdrop and add to their sense of community,” he said.

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