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Down memory lane

From an old Guinness boat to herding cattle: Capturing life at Dublin Port

More than 30 aspiring artists from Dublin will see their artwork displayed in the Hugh Lane Gallery as part of a new project.

DrawingClubProject-43 Emma Currie (11) with her brother Sean (8) with her artwork Conor McCabe Photography Ltd Conor McCabe Photography Ltd

MORE THAN 30 aspiring artists from Dublin’s north and south inner city will see their artwork displayed in the Hugh Lane Gallery as part of a new project.

Drawing clubs were held with five community groups in recent months as part of Port Perspectives, which was organised by Dublin Port.

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

DrawingClubProject-64 Mairead Cullen viewing her artwork Conor McCabe Photography Ltd Conor McCabe Photography Ltd

Mairead Cullen, 70, attended the drawing club in St Andrew’s Resource Centre. 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.

“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 cobblestones and half the tea would be spilt on the way,” Cullen said.

She 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.

DrawingClubProject-18 Dick Nugent with his artwork Conor McCabe Photography Ltd Conor McCabe Photography Ltd

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 a boat at Dublin Port.

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.

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.

The exhibition will be launched by Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha today. The exhibition will be open to the public from tomorrow until Sunday, 16 July. Entry to the gallery is free.

For more information, visit the Hugh Lane website.

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