A new mural showcasing people and places in Bawnmore in Newtownabbey has transformed the area, with help from Clanmil Housing and the Housing Executive.
Titled Bawnmore Through Time, the re-imaging project was created by artist Dean Kane, better known as Visual Waste, assisted by local young people who participated in workshops to generate mural ideas. Dean, who has painted dozens of bespoke graffiti art projects across Belfast for hotels, businesses and sporting bodies like Ulster Rugby, brought the young people’s ideas to life on a stunning new installation.
Bawnmore and District Residents’ Association members and students at St Mary’s Primary School also helped create the final artwork, making it a real community endeavour. The eye-catching mural was jointly funded through the Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion Fund and Clanmil.
Bawnmore community worker, Colin Denvir said; “We wish to place on record our thanks to the Housing Executive and Clanmil Housing for their support with this amazing initiative. It was a community-led project encapsulating lots of local stories, places and people. Probably the most incredible local story featured on the mural dates from World War Two.
“A local woman, who was employed at Belfast Zoo, famously brought the elephants home with her to protect them from the Luftwaffe’s bombs during the Belfast Blitz. Molly Seaton also features – she was born close to here in 1905 and became the captain of the Ireland’s women’s football team after starting a local women’s club called Castle United. She died in 1974, but her legend lives on locally and it’s great to see her immortalised in such a stunning way.
“In a wee twist, one of the local kids involved in the mural workshops is also called Molly - she plays for Crusaders and we hope she makes a similar mark in the football world. Wolfe Tones GAA club are featured on the mural, as is Greencastle Rovers football club and there was great excitement recently when they captured the County Antrim Junior shield. We’ve also managed to incorporate the train which used to stop at Bawnmore and a popular fishing spot named Cockletown that is dear to many local people. A rainbow heart has also been placed on the mural as the young people see our community as open and diverse."
Clanmil's Community Cohesion Officer, Gerard Rosato said:
"Clanmil was delighted to be involved in the Bawnmore reimaging project. As well as telling the story of the local area the artwork has also brought a flash of colour and vibrancy to Mill Road. A great effort by all involved. Clanmil’s contribution to this project was funded through the Department of Communities Housing for All initiative and is part of the Felden Good Relations Plan.”
Housing Executive Good Relations Officer, Stephen Gamble added:
“The Bawnmore Through Time reimaging project reflects the great history, diversity, culture and future vision of the local community. It was amazing to see the young people from the area generating incredible ideas at the workshops, learning the local history of the area at the same time as they discussed the past with older members of the community. Everyone we have spoken to is very proud of the final outcome – we’re always happy to support positive cohesive community projects that make a difference in our neighbourhoods.”