4 July 2017

Works from Dublin Port Communities to exhibit at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane

Tuesday 4th July 2017: More than 30 aspiring artists from Dublin’s north and south inner city will see their art work displayed in Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane as part of an unique Dublin Port Company project.

Drawing Clubs were held with five community groups in recent months as part of Port Perspectives, Dublin Port’s arts commissioning series for 2017. It is aimed at strengthening the bond between Dublin Port and the City and bringing Dublin Port to new audiences through the arts.

Sketches, watercolours, pastels and collages capturing images and memories from life at Dublin Port were created by young and old during the series of workshops across the capital. The artists range in age from as young as 11 to almost 80-years-old.

The Drawing Clubs were held in:

  • St Andrew’s Resource Centre, Pearse Street, with artist Ivan Connolly
  • Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre, Ringsend, with artist Chris Maguire
  • Sean O’Casey Community Centre, East Wall, with artist Liz Smith
  • St Andrew’s Resource Centre Youth Club, with artist Genevieve Harden
  • East Wall Youth Club, with artist Janine Davidson

Each Drawing Club visited Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane for inspiration from the recent Eugeen Van Mieghem exhibition, which documented life in the port of Antwerp at the turn of the century. For some members, it was their first time visiting the gallery. Now, they have their own works mounted and hung in the gallery on Dublin’s Parnell Square.

The exhibition will be launched by Ardmhéara Mícheál Mac Donncha (Lord Mayor) on Tuesday 4th July 2017. It will be open to the public from Wednesday, 5th July until July 16th 2017. Entry to the Gallery is free.

Speaking ahead of the launch the Ardmhéara said: “I am delighted to open this exhibition which celebrates the historical life of Dublin Port brought to life by local artists. This will further enhance the partnerships between the Port and the City and the Community and the Arts. Tá sé go hálainn go bhfuil an ealaín ar taispeáint i measc na mórshaothar i nDánlann na Cathrach’’.



Mairead Cullen, 70, attended the Drawing Club in St Andrew’s Resource Centre. Already a keen artist, the class brought her back to her childhood in Sheriff Street in Dublin’s north inner city, when her father Tommy Byrne was a docker. His nickname was Glimmer Byrne.

She said: “I remember my dad going to work every day and one of us would go down with the billy can filled with tea and bread and jam for a sandwich. Our job as children was to bring them down on the bike over the cobble stones and half the tea would be spilt on the way.”

Mrs Cullen is a member of Dublin Dock Workers’ Preservation Society and has painted several images of the Port. For this project, she painted an acrylic of the old Guinness boat on the River Liffey and the Liffey Ferry Boat.

“I love painting and photography. I can’t imagine having a piece hanging in the Hugh Lane,” she added.


Felicity Murphy, 65, of Grand Canal Street Upper, also attended the Drawing Club in St Andrew’s Resource Centre.

“This has been a very nice project, it’s great to have a project on the area. I’ve really enjoyed doing it. I loved visiting the Hugh Lane. It is brilliant to have my work hung there.

“My childhood memory of the Port is going to the boat yard at Ringsend Bridge. There was an old building there where they made glass bottles. There was an opening in the building and we could see the molten glass coming out and being turned into bottles. We were fascinated as children. Little did I know then that I’d marry someone who worked there, my husband William.”


Dick Nugent, 75, from North Strand, is a member of the Drawing Club in the Sean O’Casey Community Centre in East Wall. He sketched an image of a herd of cattle boarding the cattle boat at Dublin Port, which brought him back to this childhood.

Mr Nugent grew up in Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin 7, and recalls being paid “a few bob” to help drive the cattle down to the port as a child. He later worked at sea with Irish Shipping and at Dublin Port, where he was a port radio operator. He retired in 2002 and only began drawing earlier this year when he joined his local art group.

He said: “I get terrific enjoyment from the class. My only experience would have been in mechanical and technical drawing. I loved working for Dublin Port and it’s great to be part of this project. It’s been very interesting. It’s very humbling to think one of my pieces would be hung in the Hugh Lane.”


Dympna O’Halloran, from Pearse Street, Dublin, is a member of the Drawing Club in Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre. She has been painting for several years and for this project completed an oil painting of a Tall Ship sailing up the River Liffey.

“I got the idea for this from seeing the sailing ships at the Tall Ship Festival in Dublin in 1998. I have wanted to do this painting for 19 years but I felt I didn’t know enough about the ships then. They are really beautiful magnificent creations made by hand to bring people from one place to another.

“When I heard about this project I knew it was the right time to start the painting. I had been waiting for so long. I started two weeks before the project started, so it took eight weeks to complete.”


Eamonn O’Reilly, Dublin Port Company Chief Executive, said: “For decades, Dublin Port touched almost every family living in the vicinity of the north and south quays. Now they have brought those memories back to life through drawing and painting.

“Dublin has always been well known as a port city, but up to now we’ve had no pictorial representation of that. This is the start of that process.

“This has been a very special project. Not only are we bringing the arts into the Port communities, but we are bringing their works created to the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. It is amazing to have this exhibition in such a prestigious gallery.”


Jessica O’Donnell, Head of Education and Community Outreach at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, said: “We are delighted to exhibit the artwork made by the Port Perspectives community clubs and to congratulate all involved for embracing the theme so successfully.   The opportunity of seeing the participants’ responses to the Eugeen van Mieghem exhibition and their personal reflections of port life in Dublin city will be greatly enjoyed by all our visitors.”

The exhibition will be open to the public on Wednesday, 5th July until 16th July 2017. Opening times: Tuesday to Thursday 9.45am – 6pm; Friday 9.45am – 5pm; Saturday 10am – 5pm; Sunday 11am – 5pm. Closed Mondays. Admission is free of charge.

About Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane

Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane is a public gallery of modern and contemporary art. It is part of Dublin City Council. The gallery’s original collection of modern art was presented by Sir Hugh Lane in 1908 and, in the ethos of its founder the gallery continues to collect and exhibit modern and contemporary art. The role of the gallery is to enhance public engagement, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts by way of temporary exhibitions, exhibitions of the collection, education programmes and projects and publications. As Dublin’s city gallery The Hugh Lane has a responsibility to give value added to the cultural life of the city through its engagement with the people of Dublin and beyond. The purpose of the gallery is to promote understanding and public engagement with modern and contemporary art and to contribute to public discourse on the creative arts especially visual art.


About Dublin Port ‘Port Perspectives’

Port Perspectives is a Dublin Port Company commission that will create a series of original and innovative public artworks/installations. The commissions will be realised throughout 2017 and respond specifically to the built environment, local areas, history and context of Dublin Port. The commissioned artworks will be part of a programme of activity in 2017, which includes an exhibition of works by the Belgian artist Eugeen Van Mieghem at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and a range of related arts education and engagement activities including the Drawing Clubs.


Other initiatives include Sheelagh Broderick’s Port Walks, which is a series of podcasts that brings together recreational walkers and workers aboard the vessels that enter the Port each day, and Silvia Loeffler’s Transit Gateway, a series of seminars that map the changing shape of Dublin Port over the centuries.

Port Perspectives builds on recent commissions by Dublin Port including Starboard Home, a partnership with the National Concert Hall, Dublin Ships created by Cliona Harmey with Dublin City Council and the restoration of the Diving Bell on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

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