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Dublin: -1°C Saturday 23 January 2021

'Remove the street from your feet': 6 photos of old boot-scrapers around Dublin city

(Plus, what a boot-scraper actually is.)

Image: Ste Murray/Instagram

“LOOKING OUT FOR the overlooked.” 

This is how Ste Murray aptly describes why he started photographing boot-scrapers around Dublin city. 

Perhaps you haven’t noticed them before, but boot-scrapers are located all over Dublin – and architectural and performance photographer Murray wants to capture as many as he can.

“Boot-scrapers are often found in 18th and 19th century dwellings in western Europe,” says Murray. “They were designed to remove the street from your feet, and they were invented at a time when a taste for civic strolling in parks and boulevards became fashionable.” 

“Upon return from these leisurely jaunts, the people needed to décrottoir (‘remove excrement’) before entering the home. Enter the boot-scraper.

Since starting the project in 2018, Murray has shared 248 photos of different boot-scrapers on his Instagram account, @bootscrapersofdublin. He’s focused mainly on the ones in Dublin 7 and 8 so far, but hopes “to get many more over the summer.”

Below is a selection of Murray’s images, while there’s a number on display in Two Pups Coffee, Dublin 8. Prints of the boot-scrapers are also available on his website, ste.ie.

1. A simple but effective design that stands out

2. … while this boot-scraper is almost hidden away

3. Curved bricks add interest to this installation

4. This boot-scraper holds pride of place beside two plant pots

5. A boot-scraper or a place to put an ornament? You decide 

6. This boot-scraper has been re-designed for a more pleasant use than its original intention

More: 7 pieces of head-turning shop-shutter art around Dublin city

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