Waterford Walls

40 Artists transform Ireland’s Oldest City with vibrant, colorful murals

The Elephant Stomp by Louis MasaiWaterford Walls is an international Street Art Festival, which took place the last week of August, saw 40 talented artists create beautiful murals of all sizes across the city over four days. Founder and project manager, Edel Tobin said year two of the unique, dynamic festival which aims to regenerate vacant and unloved spaces around the city, surpassed all expectations; “Since last year, the festival has really grown in size and it was a huge undertaking with almost double the number of artists. Following the overwhelming success of 2015 we wanted to deliver something even bigger in 2016 as we knew it was something the public would appreciate. With 49 vibrant murals now in place, the city streets have been hopping all weekend as the public have strolled around the art trail meeting and engaging with the artists. The response from those who have experienced the festival has been incredibly positive. The ethos of the festival is to regenerate vacant or unloved spaces and walls, to encourage people to connect with the city and with art and we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved.”   

In addition to official Art Trails led by Waterford Walls team members, many of the artists gave live ‘art demo’ talks each day, whilst the New Street Gardens (a pop-up urban garden) was a hub of activity with a daytime festival club featuring live music, food and family activities.
Kathrina Rupit - Photo by Hayley K. Stuart Thiago Ritual.KasArtTypeArt Photo by Hayley K. Stuart

“The great thing about Waterford Walls is the legacy of the murals,” says Louise FLynn, Curator of the project. “Though the festival has concluded, the murals will remain for a while anyway. Like the transience of city life, street art murals are not permanent but will last as long as walls are not painted over or required for other purposes. 

Walking the ‘art trail’, visitors will be able to explore the city at their own pace, discovering beautiful pieces of street art nestled near ancient medieval walls and architecture.

Portrait of Dermot McConaghy by Smug“We are delighted to have so many incredibly talented artists on board. Many have returned for a second year following the incredibly warm welcome they received in 2015 so it’s great to see an even bigger response this year from the public.”

Project manager Edel Tobin added: “the generosity of the community has been overwhelming. Permission to use the various walls was generously granted by a large number of different owners around the city whilst sponsorship for the project was a community effort and came from a variety of sources. These included the Waterford Council, and many local businesses.” 

She concluded:  “Waterford Walls would not have happened without the incredible level of commitment from the entire team, all of whom are volunteers. It’s wonderful to see Waterford leading the way in this creative endeavor and we hope other towns and cities around Ireland embrace street art and continue to support these exceptional artists.”
Dermot McConaghy and Jonny McKerr James Earley Smug ADW
Waterford Walls will run for up to a year or as long as the buildings and spaces permit. Some murals will start to erode faster than others as the elements take hold. Our advice is to visit as soon as you can. The experience is free for all to enjoy and a great day out for families, art enthusiasts or anyone seeking a city excursion with a difference.

For more information visit www.waterfordwalls.ie.
Photography: Hayley K. Stuart (http://www.hayleykstuartphotography.com/)

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