THIS summer, locals and visitors alike can gaze at and enjoy a new piece of artwork in the heart of Carrigaline. A mural depicting a pair of nesting swans can be found on the gable end of the St Vincent de Paul shop on the main street in Carrigaline.
The mural was designed and painted by mother and daughter duo, Mary and Teresa O’Regan. It was commissioned by Carrigaline Tidy Towns, with support from Cork County Council.
Liam O’ Connor is the chairperson of Carrigaline Tidy Towns. Carrigaline is a gold medal winning Tidy Town. Volunteers work throughout the year to keep Carrigaline tidy and neat. The mural was commissioned in an attempt to enhance the main thoroughfare.
The committee approached Mary and Teresa O’Regan and asked them to brainstorm some ideas for a mural for the gable end of the building, which houses the St Vincent de Paul shop and The Carrigdhoun newspaper.
Liam explained that the Tidy Towns committee were particularly interested in promoting the ideas of biodiversity and the local environment.
He said: “Because we have swans in Carrigaline, in the estuary and the pond, we wanted to explore the idea of capturing the swans and the estuary in a piece of artwork.”
So the committee asked Teresa if she would be interested in painting a mural. Because it was such a large art project to undertake, Teresa enlisted the help of her daughter, Mary, and Teresa’s husband, Ted.
Teresa is a painter who focuses on creating seascapes, landscapes and portraits. Her creative talents rubbed off on her daughter, Mary, who now runs her own pottery business called Mary O’ Regan Pottery. Mary’s father, Ted, is a retired teacher and vice principal who is an avid writer and enjoys painting. The trio worked together on the mural.
Mary and Teresa sketched a number of designs for the mural and sent them to the Tidy Towns committee for approval. A pair of nesting swans was chosen to make reference to the local estuary and swans in the area.
Mary said: “A mural is art for everybody. You want the artwork to be inclusive of everyone and be something that everyone can enjoy. Everyone in Carrigaline appreciates the natural environment that surrounds us.”
Mary and her parents were more than willing to be part of the process in enhancing Carrigaline.
Mary said: “We were delighted to be involved in this project to help brighten up the village. The Tidy Towns team do such a brilliant job, tidying the village, planting beautiful flowers everywhere.
“The town is situated in a naturally beautiful environment, so it was great to be involved in painting the mural and adding to the beauty of the town.”
Translating the design onto the wall was tricky. Mary worked from a cherry-picker, drawing the outline onto the wall with charcoal while Teresa and Ted gave directions from the street.
“We did the initial sketch on the wall in charcoal and continually revised it, rubbing parts out and re-sketching, to make sure the design was right. The mural is a stylised image of swans and we wanted to make sure the swans had a classic swan shape and looked right for those looking at it every day.”
The mural was then painted. It took four days to complete the artwork. During those four days, Mary, Teresa and Ted received lots of positive comments and praise from the people of Carrigaline.
Mary said: “It was a really lovely experience to paint the mural with my parents in the heart of the village. As we were working, people stopped to chat. We had a lot of positive feedback from members of the community.”
The primary focus of Tidy Towns is to encourage communities to improve their local environment and make their area a better place to live, work and visit.
Liam said: “We meet a few times a week, especially during the summer. We have approximately 25 volunteers out and about on each of those evenings.
“We support Cork County Council, keeping Carrigaline neat and tidy, picking up litter, painting, weeding, and we support the council with a lot of the planting around Carrigaline.
“We work to make Carrigaline a nice area to live in and to visit. We work with the community and the local schools, and we all work together to make Carrigaline a nice area in which to live.
“When local people and business owners see volunteers out a couple of times a week, they witness the work we do, and a lot of people will stop us in the street and say thanks for all the work we do for Carrigaline. A lot of people then join us as volunteers after seeing us out picking up litter, weeding or planting.
“Our numbers are growing every year because people see what we do, and they want to get involved in making Carrigaline a nice place to live. Carrigaline has so much potential, and we keep working to make it even better for the local community and tourists.”
The committee have received positive feedback from members of the Carrigaline community on the mural.
Liam said: “Lots of people have commented on the mural, saying it has enhanced that area of Carrigaline and is very picturesque. There are very vibrant colours in the mural and people really like it.”
A mural is art work for everybody. You want the artwork to be inclusive of everyone and be something that everyone can enjoy.