The old handball alley in Belmullet now boasts a beautiful mural.

Old handball alley in Mayo town proves ideal canvas for magnificent new mural

There was a time when large handball alleys stood tall in towns and at crossroads all over Ireland, but now many of them have unfortunately become deserted or derelict.

The prominent and imposing alley in Belmullet, located in the town park, was an ideal canvas for a magnificent mural by visual artist James Kirwan, who featured on Sky’s Landscape Artist of the Year in 2022.

Baile Slachtmhar Bhéal an Mhuirthead is proud to be one of the sponsors of this colourful and unusual initiative, along with a number of other local and regional community groups and organisations.

The impressive mural is titled ‘Dúlra agus Dúchas’ and features beautiful references to the unique heritage and biodiversity aspects of the Erris region, including some of the endangered species that reside in, or frequently visit, the Mullet Peninsula.

The mural includes a lapwing, a corncrake, nettles, machair, the Old Church and, of course, the Great Yellow Bumblebee.

Eva Reilly, joint treasurer of Baile Slachtmhar Bhéal an Mhuirthead (Belmullet Tidy Towns), said: “We are delighted with this strong message of biodiversity in the heart of the town. Biodiversity has been such a key part of our work for many years and we wanted the mural to reflect the importance of valuing and respecting our environment and our heritage.

“Our ambition to use the ball alley for a mural goes back to 2019 and it has taken a lot of time and effort to get to this point, with cleaning and whitewashing projects, etcetera.”

Margaret Tallott, joint treasurer, added: “James was wonderful to work with – he really understood the message that we wanted to get across and the resulting art piece speaks for itself. We are pleased that it reflects the significance of our local biodiversity and heritage, and how important it is for our community to look after our environment.

“The public reaction has been fantastic and we are absolutely thrilled with the artwork. We are very grateful to James and to all of the different organisations and groups who have worked with us to facilitate it.”