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War of Independence mural spreads important message of hope and peace

July 20th, 2021 10:10 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

The new mural at Kent Street in Clonakilty commissioned by Cork County Council. (Photo: Martin Walsh)

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A DISTINCTIVE graffiti-style mural to commemorate the centenary of the truce after the War of Independence is proving a hit at Kent Street parklet in Clonakilty.

The impressive project was made possible with the help of funding given from the Cork County Council Centenary Commemorations programme to Michael Collins House.  Artists ADW and Darren Warren from The Walls Project were commissioned by Cork County Council to carry out the work which took place last week.

‘The mural tells the story of the War on Independence and the idea behind it is to really make the history accessible and appeal to a younger audience,’ said Jamie Murphy of the Michael Collins House Museum.

‘It also marks the passing of the centenary of a hugely significant even in Irish history, a central part of which was Clonakilty and the surrounding region.’

‘The Truce mural shows the history of the conflict, from its beginnings with the 1798 Rebellion and the Battle of the Big Cross at Shannonvale with local hero, Tadhg an Asna, through to the next generation of rebels, The Fenians, represented by another local, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.

‘Both were big influences on Clonakilty’s key figure in the War of Independence, Michael Collins, who stands to the fore of the mural,’ explained Jamie.

On July 11th 1921 a truce between the conflicting sides began and peace was restored. Locally, people who had been living under martial law, suddenly had the freedom to resume their lives and this led to much merriment in the town as people danced and played music and bonfires were lit on the surrounding hills.

The final third of the mural reflects this and there are lots of details and symbols in the background, telling the whole story of the local conflict and its journey to eventual peace in July 1921.

The Big Fella story can be further explored at the nearby Michael Collins House Museum, of course.

When the mural was unveiled last Sunday, the church bells of Clonakilty –  at both the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland  – rang out like they did 100 years ago, in unity for peace.

This is the second mural unveiled in Clonakilty in recent weeks.

It follows the completion of a vibrant mural in Deasy’s Yard carpark near where the new youth centre will be located. That was done by teens from Clonakilty Lodge Direct Provision Centre, The Shack and YMCA’s Youth Space.

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