Our Great Sweet Mothers
James Earley grew up in Glenageary from the age of 8 and spent all of his formative years working and socialising in Dún Laoghaire. He painted his first large scale mural in Dun Laoghaire in 2004, on the side of Harry’s Café. Dún Laoghaire is awash with fond memories and holds a very special place in his heart.
When he was young, every weekend they would walk the East Pier, occasionally the West Pier. They would pass through Crosthwaite Park, cross George’s Street, head down by the Maritime Museum and finally down to The Pier.
The focal point of each walk were the light houses, architectural beacons (day or night) and iconic landmarks within Dún Laoghaire’s seascape.
Within the Maritime Museum, the Bailey Optic is on display. This is the original light from the lighthouse in Howth. James Joyce references it in Ulysses, calling it ‘Our Great Sweet Mother’.
James’ mother trained and subsequently worked as a nurse in St. Michael’s Hospital. As well as caring for patients she was also a practicing midwife.
There are parallels to be drawn between St. Michael’s nurses and the two lighthouses. Both share common goals: to reassure, protect and ensure our journey is a safe one. The title for the two murals is ‘Our Great Sweet Mothers’, it is an ode to both lighthouses, nurses and mothers alike.