Dublin City Council v stickers: Dozens of Temple Bar street poles coated in special paint

Local authority says stickers are a ‘serious issue’ but fans argue they are ‘mini masterpieces’

More than 50 street poles in Temple Bar have been coated in special paint as part of a trial by Dublin City Council to tackle what it describes as the “serious issue” of stickers on public property.

The council said a recent proliferation of stickers in the city centre came to fore during a full public domain survey carried out during the summer. It prompted the local authority to scrub clean hundreds of poles in the city centre and to engage with a graffiti removal contractor to source specialised paint for poles and bollards where a lot of stickers appear.

But sticker advocates argue that many stickers are “mini masterpieces” which add character to the city. Stickers can be seen on surfaces all over Dublin and often express political or commercial messages; declare support for football teams or depict some other artwork.

“I have not come across one single person who does not appreciate the stickers seen around Dublin,” said photographer Carl Foran, who runs the Instagram account @stickerzofdublin.


“If you are like me and you walk the streets of Dublin a lot, then you will find yourself at a traffic light staring at a pole having a glimpse of a sticker,” said Mr Foran. “I always referred to the stickers around Dublin as ‘mini masterpieces’ — tiny artworks around the city that stop you in your tracks.”

Mr Foran’s Instagram is one of several social media accounts dedicated to documenting stickers around the capital. Another page, @dublincitystickers, says stickers add “so much character” to Dublin city.

“Why they appeal to me is because they have connected me to so many amazing artists. Most of the time, each sticker has a website or the artist’s name and I always try and find them on social media to tag them in my posts so that I can also connect with them,” said Mr Foran. “I have made some great friends through the @stickerzofdublin page and have seen so many artists grow over time and have seen their artwork become incredible and it’s an exciting thing to see.”

Dublin City Council said a pilot project to paint 55 poles in the Temple Bar area commenced on September 21st. The special paint prevents stickers adhering to public property but “will not change the appearance of the pole at all”.

“We will be monitoring the cleanliness of the poles over a two-month period to review the success of the trial and whether it warrants a further roll out,” the council said.

It added that it had also cleaned 242 poles of stickers between August 22nd and September 6th at locations on O’Connell Street, Aston Quay and Temple Bar.

Mr Foran said people will continue to “slap” stickers around the city centre. “Sticker-proof paint can be added on poles, but art will always find a way and will always emerge victorious in the end.”

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin is an Irish Times journalist