Tuesday 20 February 2018

Joyce’s words to be washed into Liffey walls

James Joyce
James Joyce

Cormac Murphy

WORDS from James Joyce's Dubliners are to be washed into the grime on the Liffey wall.

As part of a new €8,000 public art project, random words from the short stories’ collection will be power-hosed into the “patina of the quay walls”, Dublin City Council has revealed.

The artist who came up with the plan, Fergal McCarthy, has previously devised Liffeytown and No Man's Land, “two enormously successful interventions on the river in 2010 and 2011”, the local authority said.

Completing the trilogy, the new Word River project “takes the form of a site-specific, public art project on the Liffey quays in Dublin”, it added.

In a report, senior planner Mary Conway stated: “This project celebrates Dublin's unique status as a Unesco City of Literature and pays homage to the river that has inspired many of its writers, especially Joyce.

“Word River involves the washing of a 1.5km long sentence of words taken randomly from Joyce's Dubliners into the patina of the quay walls.

“The words will be washed using stencils and a power hose operated from a boat on the river.”


The project is to begin in late August or early September and take 10 days to complete.

“It will take up to 12 months for the words to fade and disappear,” Ms Conway said.

It will be stencilled on the south quay walls, between O'Connell Bridge and James Joyce Bridge.

In an effort to guarantee the quay walls will not be damaged by the process, a power washer with as low a strength as possible will be chosen.

Mr McCarthy, a visual artist from Co Limerick, developed an interest in the Liffey after moving to Dublin in 2000.

As part of Liffeytown, 11 red and green miniature houses were moored intermittently on the river between O'Connell and the Ha'penny bridges.

It was followed by No Man's Land, a man-made island moored in the middle of the Liffey.

Word River is to be presented as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival 2013.

The project will cost in the region of €8,000, excluding an artist's fee and insurance, with Dublin Unesco City of Literature and Failte Ireland willing to provide €5,000 in funding.

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