There’s nothing like a spot of color on an old building to liven up an urban scene, especially when that country is prone to fits of rain like in Ireland. In Cork, the street art springs up on you in bits and pieces, a delightful surprise as you turn a corner or an electrical box catches your eye. Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and has a large student population. County Cork is also nicknamed The Rebels and has a history of nonconformity. All of these traits combine to make a fertile ground for some very cool, intelligent and witty street art. You can find this street art in several different cool neighbourhoods several different cool neighbourhoods in Cork.
Mad About Cork
There’s even an organised group called Mad About Cork who promote the city through street art and guerrilla gardening. They even encourage visitors passing through Cork to join them in their graffiti projects! Having tried my hand at street art in Shoreditch in London, I hope their volunteers are more talented than I was at expressing myself with a spray can and a wall.
Started in 2016, Mad About Cork have organised meetings and volunteers to beautify their city. It sounds not so much rebel-like but more positively civic-minded to me!
Street Art in Cork City
Keep in mind, that Cork only has a population of 125,000 so it is much smaller than other cities that I have visited with extensive street art such as Valencia in Spain (population 800,000), Los Angeles (population 4 million) and Sao Paulo in Brazil (population 12 million). The quality of the artistic expression on the city streets of Cork are all the more impression for its diminutive size.
Travelling around the West Coast of Ireland on a bite-size Irish road trip, I loved the candy-coloured buildings in the little villages I passed through. I don’t think there’s much of a difference between that sort of color-strewn village buildings and Cork City’s murals.
Here are some of my favourite pieces of street art in Cork City.
We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.
– Winston Churchill
With deep affection and recollection, I think of those Shandon Bells
– Francis Sylvester Mahoney
When words fail, music speaks.
A language which we do not know is a fortress sealed.
– Marcel Proust
Of course, there’s more to Cork than street art but it’s a colorful free way to get to know the city!