Life on Strabane estates to be depicted on new mural

Terry Boyle at work on the project.
Terry Boyle at work on the project.

Daily life on six housing estates in Strabane is to be depicted on a new wall mural.

Melmount Community Forum has been awarded over £4000 by the Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion unit to re-image a wall in the Ballycolman estate.

The 16ft x 8ft mural will replace an existing small dilapidated Celtic one on the gable wall of the Forum’s offices.

Work is due to get underway this week and it is expected to be finished next month.

The mural will enhance and re-image an area that presently has a dilapidated look and is prone to graffiti and anti-social behaviour.

Graffiti has been removed on a number of occasions and it is envisaged that the mural will have a positive impact and discourage further graffiti.

Strabane-based artist Terry Boyle has been brought on board and he will work with young people and residents on a programme “to promote positive actions and reduce negative actions” in the Melmount area.

Mickey Cunningham is Community Development Officer of the Melmount Forum, which is an umbrella group for Ballycolman, Calvert Cross, Lisnafin, Bridge Street, Carlton Drive and Castlemurray estates.

He said: “Having engaged with residents and young people we decided that the theme should be community.

“It will focus on inter-generational relationships, local sporting activities including soccer and gaelic, and scenes from the annual St Patrick’s Day parade.

“Having spoken to the more senior residents on the estates they said they wanted a colourful inviting mural that would brighten up the area.

“We will represent life on the community allotment plot and the football pitches andfinish the mural with a rainbow to show that the area has a bright future ahead.”

Noel McNulty, the Housing Executive’s manager in Strabane, said: “We are delighted to be funding Melmount Forum for this re-imaging project. The group is proactive in carrying out environmental and other community development work in the area.

“This mural will enhance the quality of life for local residents through increased respect as well as building of trust between other neighbourhoods.

“It will leave a lasting impression of transformation and actively address anti-social behaviour,” he added.

The mural, when finished, will be erected by scaffolders.

Showcasing his creative skills is nothing new to the local artist.

Terry Boyle has been making art for as long as he can remember and already has a number of murals displayed across Strabane.

He was recently commissioned to bring to life the bygone days of the Donegal/Strabane railways at the home of historian Pat Gillespie.

Terry has also reflected the local passion for hurling, gaelic and soccer in a mural in Carlton Drive.

Terry works as an Art Technician at Holy Cross College, where he supports the teaching staff in the art department to give guidance and advice to the exam students whose powerful visual creations line the walls.

“It’s great to have been commissioned to do this piece and to know that people like your art but more importantly it’s recreating community life on a wall for people to see long after I have gone.”

The mural will be unveiled in early April on the gable wall of Melmount Community Forum offices.