Jimmy gets to see his mural portrait

Jimmy O'Connor and the mural depicting him
Jimmy O'Connor and the mural depicting him

Marisa Reidy

IT'S certainly not every day you get to see a life size mural of yourself on a village wall, but when you had no idea the masterpiece was even being created then the surprise is all the better.

For Tralee's Jimmy O'Connor, the first he knew of his portrait being displayed on The Forge in Athea was when his family saw the picture in The Kerryman last week. Artist Jim Dunne had taken the photograph of Jimmy at Listowel Horse Fair a few years back, but never asked the identity of his subject at the time. Last week, when the story of Athea's mural appeared in The Kerryman, Jimmy's family were inundated with calls asking it he was indeed the man on the wall.

On Saturday, 84-year-old Jimmy from Dromtacker visited Athea to see the work for himself and was blown away by the life size image staring back at him.

"He was delighted in fairness. He thinks he's a celebrity," his niece Maura joked aferwards. "He is delighted with his claim to fame."

Jimmy's niece, Ann, who also travelled to Athea with her family on Saturday, explained that her uncle was a regular at Listowel Horse Fair, but hasn't been there in a few years. She said that he had no recollection of his picture being taken, so he was stunned to see the story in The Kerryman last week.

"So many people got in touch after seeing it in the paper and he was shocked when he saw it," Ann said. "He really enjoyed going out to Athea and seeing it. He thought it was really lovely."

Artist Jim Dunne said he was thrilled that he is finally able to put a name to the face he photographed in Listowel and he hopes to meet with Jimmy and his family very soon.


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