27Apr2018

The Icon Walk

The Greatest Story Ever Strolled!

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Believing that art civilizes, that it can be an educational tool, that it can function to instill a new civic regard for public spaces – we saw our opportunity to put our ideas to the test in the neglected lanes and alleyways immediately behind Fleet Street, the main thoroughfare in Dublin’s Temple, the city’s cultural area. We also knew that Ireland’s economic slump had depressed many of us and we sought to remind people of the riches of our cultural heritage – how we had riches aplenty across our cultural spectrum.

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This motivated us to create the Icon Walk, a series of imaginative and inclusive snapshots of iconic Irish historical and contemporary figures. These creative representations of cultural icons, past and present, are posted on the walls of the streets leading up to the Icon Factory Gallery. The public art project worked and now this once down-trodden area in the city is undergoing a cultural and artistic transformation that is rapidly seeing it become one of the highlights on any walking tour in Dublin.

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The Icon Walk Dublin is a multi-street public art installation which showcases original artwork by many different local artists of Irish icons from many disciplines including:  writers and playwrights, sports icons, musicians, and actors from the performing arts. The Icon Walk Dublin is accessible and relevant, collaborative and inclusive, efficient and adaptable. It is a sustainable and economical model for public art projects, that is truly iconic and inspirational.

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The Icon Walk has been credited with reducing crime in the area, increasing visitor satisfaction and has been praised as offering a new educational tool to the many student groups that visit the city. As several of its larger art works feature Irish writers, of all genres, The Icon Walk has been endorsed by the city’s UNESCO City of Literature office as an important site for the celebration of Irish literary talent and culture.

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The impressive array of panels exhibited on the Icon Walk indicates a conscious effort to celebrate the local as well as the international icons with Irish roots. While many of the depicted icons already have an international standing, there are many lesser known figures from the margins of Dublin and Irish life who are remembered and who fascinate tourists. Iconic figures from the world of literature, rock music, fashion, sport and the world of acting all get a look in, often with clever taglines or perceptive social commentaries along the Icon Walk.

Sections:

1.Harry Clarke Stained Glass
2. Irish Clothing since the 20’s
3. Folk and Traditional Music Revival
4. Oddballs, Crackpots and Assorted Genius
5. The Playwrights
6. Great Moments of Irish Rock
7. Poets and Novelists
8. Irish Humour
9. Irish Movie Actors
10. The Wall of Irish Sport

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Irish identity, that charming something that is largely regarded with a smile around the planet, draws millions to visit this island nation.
We are who and what we are; possibly as a result of mystical mists, druid’s spells or leprechauns gone inane. Perhaps; but not likely.
More realistically we are the product of our unique culture.

This walk through a gallery of Irish Icons attempts to allow one a sampling of this culture and hopefully wet the appetite to explore it further. We admit that we have omitted many more clues to this investigation than we have included, and this is not a “best of ” list but simply an introduction to those whom, among the many, we think will excite, deepen, flavor and inform your visit and your understanding of the Irish enigma. Take your time and enjoy the stroll through this slice of Irish land.

WHERE IS THE ICON FACTORY AND THE ICON WALK?
Temple Bar, Dublin 2 – Just off Fleet Street (Behind the Temple Bar Hotel, The Hard Rock Cafe and The Morgan Hotel)
Look For – Aston Place, Bedford Lane and Price’s Lane for the Icon Walk.