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Train station mosaics in Bray being pieced together (ahem)

New tile mosaics show the Co Wicklow train station through the ages.

Detail of 1920s mosaic panal
Detail of 1920s mosaic panal
Image: (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)

MURALS THAT HAVE decorated the walls of Bray Dart station for many years are currently getting a face lift. As part of the ‘mural to mosaic’ project, the fading large square murals which depict Bray’s train station through the ages are being updated with tiled mosaics.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie Jay Roche, one of the original artists who is also under-taking the restoration project, said:

The latest panels that are being restored are the 1870s, 1970s and 1980s panels. We are about 60 per cent done now – it was looking like a bit of a refurbishment job last year but they are really looking great now.

Back in 1987, when Ireland was in the middle of a recession, a competition to design a mural for Bray Dart station was set up by community arts organiser Anne Hennessy. Jay Roche and John Carter were art students at the time and thought it would be a great summer job for them. The two won the competition and painted 19 panels of passengers at the station from the opening of the train station in 1852 up to the 1980s.

The paintings are an iconic part of the train station and also to the heritage of Bray. However over time, the murals began to deteriorate. Both Roche and Carter decided to transform the painted murals into mosaics, with a little help from their colleague Anthony Kelly. They are also assisted by Eileen Maguire of the art consultancy company Works on Paper.

Each panel is like a window into the past that tells a story about the people, dress or time of the mural. One mural signifying the 1920s, makes reference to a man in a Black and Tan uniform.  On the website Mural to Mosaic, which chronicles the progress of the project, the artists state they are trying to show that dramatic events were unfolding around that significant time in Irish history.

Companies and individuals have come forward to sponsor the project and give it their financial support. “Both Iarnród Éireann and Bray Town Council have contributed to the project,” said Roche adding that some panels are still in need of sponsorship from businesses. “So far 12 panels have been sponsored by various public and private individuals. We are hoping to complete the project with the help of further sponsors to cover the remaining eight panels that are still available. The cost of sponsoring a panel varies depending on the image chosen and this can be discussed directly with the artists,” he said.

President Michael D Higgins officially opened the completed panels 23 years ago and Roche said that he gave a great speech about the importance of local history.

Although they have not approached President Higgins yet Roche said they do know that he is aware of the refurbishment project adding “It is our hope that when the time comes, as our president, he will open the mosaic project when it is completed.”

Train station mosaics in Bray being pieced together (ahem)
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  • Bray station mosaics

    Detail of one of the completed mosaic panals. (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    Newly refurbished mosaic at Bray Dart station shows uniformed 'Black andTan' figure with dog with Union Jack collar. (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    One the original mural paintings. (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    Detail of a mosaic of a dog being walked on the station platform (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    A mural which suffered from the corrosive properties of the sea air at Bray Dart station. (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    One new mosaic panels at Bray Dart station (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    One deteriorated panels at Bray Dart station (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    One of the new mosaics panels at Bray Dart station (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    One of the original panels that are to replaced under the mural to mosaic project. (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    The 1930s panel and large sketch at Bray Dart station that are to replaced under the mural to mosaic project. (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    Detail of the mosaic work carried out at Bray Dart station. (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    Jay Roche and John Carter at Bray Dart station in the 1980s when they first painted the panels. (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    The panels at Bray Dart station that are to replaced under the mural to mosaic project. (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)
  • Bray station mosaics

    The view of the station platform with new mosaics. (Via mural-to-mosaic.blogspot.com)

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