New public art commission unveiled at ‘The Banks’ for Balbriggan

Artist Sean Molloy Pic: Fintan Clarke/Coalesce

Ken PhelanFingal Independent

Fingal County Council has unveiled a new and completed public artwork for Balbriggan, called “The Banks”.

The work, entitled ‘The Banks’, is by Fingal artist Sean Molloy and is located at this prominent coastal site of the same name in the town.

The work has been made possible through collaboration with Iarnród Éireann, Balbriggan and the Our Balbriggan team.

The project is part of the many initiatives currently underway that demonstrate how art and artists can enliven and celebrate our public spaces.

Mayor of Fingal Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh, welcoming the artwork, said: “I wish to express my praise to great partnerships and opportunities that allow for local artists to be showcased prominently in our villages and perfectly describes how we in Fingal value the arts and we would like to extend our sincere thanks to Iarnród Éireann Building Surveyor Joy Murray and her Maintenance Team for all their care and attention applied to realise the install of this work at this unique location.”

Sean Molloy was commissioned through Fingal County Council’s Infrastructure programme under it’s Buildings and Public Spaces Strand.

Caroline Cowley, the Council’s Public Art Co-ordinator explained that “As a painter there are limited opportunities to think about scale up, compositions and the arts office saw an opportunity to explore this prospect through a landscape painting commission which has been created as a bespoke edition which can be displayed outdoors, and for the longer term, while we retain this beautiful new and timeless work of Balbriggan as it goes through all its positive changes”.

Sean Molloy’s work is inspired by the genre of 17th and 19th century Dutch and English paintings.

Of the process, Sean explained: “The original painting measures 5 x 8 ft. and took about 18 months to complete.

"I referenced the marine paintings of the 17th Dutch masters and also later work by19th century artists.

"When working on the painting, I wanted to create an immersive experience for the viewer, to give the feeling that they were on location standing on the grassy embankment looking out to sea.

In order to mimic the atmospheric effects employed by the master marine painters, Sean sourced traditional painting materials as used by the old masters.

He also cites a personal to the place: “The history of Balbriggan is an impressive one, and while working on location I took the chance to study further the town's key features.

"For further research I found the publication 'Balbriggan, A History of the Millennium' published by Balbriggan and District Historical Society 1999 a very useful source of information.

"The book provided a great grounding in the town's history and provided a backdrop to the various topographical features that I constantly observed while working on the painting, particularly the lighthouse and the nearby Martello tower”.

The Banks is currently on view at the Banks from this month as work continues on another work for the area with another local artist and painter Dave West.

For further information: Please Contact Caroline Cowley – Public Art Co-ordinator 01-870 8449 or