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Dunmanway’s Beautiful New Mosaic

Participants on the Arts for Health programme at Dunmanway Day Care Centre, along with artist Michael Greenlaw, recently completed a stunning mosaic that has been installed on a ramp at the building’s side door.

Inspiration for the project came from Anita, the Day Care Centre manager, who felt that the artwork would enhance an otherwise blank concrete space. The group began working on the project in summer 2022 and returned to the work in the last few warmer months of this year. 

Beginning by observing and discussing examples of mosaics from around the world including Ukraine, ancient Greece and Rome, as well as artwork from closer to home inside the churches of Drinagh and Leap, the group decided to take images of local significance to Dunmanway as their starting point. These images included a cow and calf, a tractor, the Sam Maguire Cup, a flower, a horse’s head, a castle, a bridge, a banjo, a horseshoe, a leaf, a yin and yang symbol, Duffy’s circus iconic elephant, and the head of a boxer dog, to honour one participant’s beloved dogs. Choosing the images led to lively discussions of fond memories, and moments of local learning for artist Michael Greenlaw.

Michael said that he took particular inspiration from the Leap church mosaic which shows circular images linked by a plant-like flowing line. In this style, participants could work on their own individual images, or plainer background areas, which would be brought together to form the final piece. 

In a stroke of good luck, one participant owned a tile shop in Dunmanway and supplied surplus tiles for the group to work with. This added another layer of challenge to the project as bathroom/kitchen tiles tend to be thicker than their crafting counterparts. After months of creating designs, cutting tiles, sticking pieces down to form the mosaic, and lots of grouting, the finished piece came together beautifully.

Michael spent two full days installing the mosaic with participants coming outside to see their work in its final place. The piece of art is a testament to all of their hard work. The project is complete but we have a feeling we’ll be seeing more wonderful mosaic artwork from Dunmanway Day Care Centre very soon!