Roddy Doyle unveils Kilbarrack Dart murals

Barrytown-themed artwork created by local Reach Out Project

Author Roddy Doyle reads from his Barrytown trilogy at Kilbarrack station to launch a mural by members of the Reach Out Project, a programme that aims to help young adults struggling with mental health issues.


Thirty years ago, Roddy Doyle, the creator of The Van, The Commitments and The Snapper was a teacher at Greendale Community School in Kilbarrack, dreaming of life as an author.

“It occurred to me when I was teaching around the corner just down there, looking out the staffroom window or listening to the kids talking and chatting away, that this is the stuff of fiction.” Doyle said.

“Why wouldn’t I write about this place? I grew up here,” he said. In his books the north Dublin community became “Barrytown”.

Even a light drizzle on Wednesday could not dampen spirits as Doyle unveiled two new murals at Kilbarrack’s Dart station celebrating his creations, and also local pride.

“I’m really proud to have me head on the wall over there,” Doyle said to laughter before reading a passage from the Barrytown trilogy which provided the inspiration for the murals.

“I tried to find an extract from The Van that didn’t contain too much bad language, but it doesn’t exist. So, I think there’s a Dart going to the southside if those of you who object to the bad language want to avoid it,” Doyle joked.

The murals were painted by young people involved in the Reach Out Project and supported by the Kilbarrack Coastal Community Programme, Dublin City Council Culture Company, and Irish Rail.

The Reach out Project aims to help local 18-25 year-olds struggling with addiction or mental health issues by providing a creative outlet through artistic expression.

“I’m more or less there every day,” said Craig Blake (22), one of the artists involved in the project. Cian McLoughlin (19) joined because his friends were taking part. “We love doing it,” he said. “You just come down and have a good laugh.”

McLoughlin said that through his involvement, “I found out I was actually good at doing this”.

“I think it really brought out those skills that were in hiding and showed them new paths for careers,” said Laura Larkin, project manager for Dublin City Council Culture Company.


Street artist Solus helped create the art work, which highlights the closeness of the Kilbarrack community and some of the well-known figures who have come out of the area.

“It was a bit of a job, 13 hours a day,” said Tiernan Williams, co-ordinator of the project. “The lads who painted the mural really wanted to show how strong of a community that you are.”

“I’m positive that as people use the station, as people pass by on the trains and look out the window and see the murals, it will have a positive effect and it will raise a smile,” added John Reville, passenger services manager at Irish Rail.

Doyle has always remained close to Kilbarrack. “We’re really proud to have him here. He is very supportive of local initiatives and of his heritage as well,” said Larkin. “Everybody who is from here comes back here because it’s such a supportive environment. It’s great to see that he’s had that experience too and loves coming home,” she said.