A bee-utiful new mural has been created in Letterkenny this week, providing an eye-catching display for all entering the Main Street.
The bee mural was created at the side of The Quiet Moment cafe by artist Ciarán Dunlevy.
The artwork was commissioned by Letterkenny Tidy Towns as part of their ‘Flight of the Bee’ mural trail highlighting the importance of bees and biodiversity.
Alongside a fresh new look for The Quiet Moment, the honeybee art brings a flash of colour to the Crossview junction and has the town ‘buzzing’ about its meaning.
Ciarán explains: “This is the fourth of the bee trail. A lot of people don’t know what a native honeybee looks like, they look more like a wasp but they are darker. The other message is that it is crucial that we are careful with weedkillers to protect bees. If the bees go, we are all gone, the pollen they drop feeds the world.”
Passers-by will notice the full pollen basket on the bee’s leg in the picture, showing the vital role they have in pollination.
Ciarán, who has created a mix of murals around the town, was delighted to get this particular commission because he himself has studied bees in detail. He has a beekeeping qualification in his back pocket and in the near future he plans to get some hives at his homeplace in Letterbarrow.
The mural was designed to coincide with a new paint job at the Quiet Moment, with the La Maison design team providing expert advice on the matching colours.
Brendan McGlynn, owner of the Quiet Moment, has long been involved with Letterkenny Tidy Towns and has been involved with the Ballymacool Residents Association from the early days.
He said: “I’ve always looked after the property on the Main Street and I always looked forward to the Tidy Towns awards to see was The Quiet Moment mentioned.”
Brendan said he was delighted to give permission to use the wall and to finally see the plan come together: “It’s been planned for almost a year but the weather has been against us.”
Local painter Kevin Robb of KR Decor repainted the cafe front, working side-by-side with Ciarán Dunlevy. The work was done in an impressive two days, with Ciarán using a projector to beam his design onto the wall at night. He used all water-based non-toxic paint and masonry non-toxic paint, with both a mini-spray and an air-brush for the detail.
“Spray cans aren’t great for the environment and the paint starts to flake off after two years, but these paints last about 15 years,” Ciarán said.
Gerard McCormick, co-chair of Letterkenny Tidy Towns said there is one more instalment of the ‘Flight of the Bee’ Trail on the way. Three other murals created by Karl Porter of UV Arts C.I.C are located at Devlin Hall, the Jim McCormick memorial garden near Century Complex and the former ESB building on the Port Road. The fifth mural will be on Church Lane, with support from the Letterkenny Catherdral Quarter Committee.
Gerard said: “The bee trail started with a lady called Maura Kelly who had this vision back in 2020 to promote biodiversity and sustainability, At the heart of biodiversity are bees and flowers. To take bees into public awareness, Maura came up with the idea of a range of murals on a trail. Maura has now moved to Tipperary. She and her husband did a huge amount of work here in Letterkenny and it is great to get this project over the line.”
With more street art cropping up around Letterkenny, artist Ciarán sees it is a positive way to breathe new life into towns.
“It’s great to see a mix of different artists and styles here, there are plenty of walls we can work on,” he said.
“Once you bring in some interest, heritage, old stories and folklore, you can bring them alive on walls and it really brightens up the place.
“Also the tourists love it, the amount of people that have been taking pictures is magic.”