The mural in Crinkill.

Crinkill mural celebrates strong military links

A wonderful mural highlighting the strong military history of Crinkill has become a focal point of conversation for locals and visitors alike to the picturesque Offaly village outside Birr.

The mural, which was commissioned by the Crinkill Tidy Villages group and painted by renowned Sligo artist Nik Purdy, is located close to the site of the former military barracks in the village.

The mural is the culmination of a series of events which have taken place in Crinkill, and countrywide, as part of the ‘Decade of Centenaries’ programme organised by the Government to mark the centenary of significant historical events from 1912 to 1922 which have helped the shape the Ireland of today.

Crinkill Military Barracks was a key piece of infrastructure for the British Army, who vacated the building in 1922, at which point it was occupied by anti-Treaty forces. It was razed to the ground in July of that year as it was viewed as a symbol of the British occupation of Ireland.

90 years later, a monument was erected in Crinkill to honour all the Irish people who had served with the Leinster Regiment in World War 1 and earlier this year a special commemoration ceremony was held in the village to mark the centenary of the handover of all military bases to the Irish after the Civil War.

Brendan Cooke, PRO for Crinkill Tidy Village, said the group decided to commission a mural of the barracks to show that it was “more than just bricks and mortar and was once a key part of daily life in Crinkill.”

The group decided to commission artist Nik Purdy to complete the mural as he is renowned for his historical work. “I had seen a lot of Nik’s work around the country and he has completed some wonderful historical murals and we think the mural he has done in Crinkill is very striking and really enhances the streetscape in the village,” said Brendan.

The mural was completed with the aid of funding from the Offaly ‘Decade of Centenaries’ programme, and the Tidy Village group are very grateful for the many people who worked so hard on the project over the past few months, including Bernie Bulger; Heritage Officer Amanda Pedlow; Cllr John Carroll; historian Stephen Callaghan; David Ball from the Leinster Regiment Association and artist Nik Purdy.

Nik Purdy, who works under the name of ‘Blowdesigns, said it took him “a full week” to paint the huge mural in Crinkill and he decamped to the Offaly village from his home in Easkey in west Sligo for the duration of the project.

“I was very lucky with the weather as I only got one wet day, and I worked from eight in the morning until after midnight for most of the week” he said.

A native of county Down, and an artist for almost 20 years, Nik has travelled extensively and works closely with a number of heritage societies on various projects.

He spent “a number of months” working on the design of the mural after he was given the brief by Crinkill Tidy Village group and was given a large selection of photographs to assist him with the final design.

Brendan Cooke says there are “no plans” to hold an official unveiling of the mural in Crinkill, but that the project is the culmination of the ‘Decade of Centenaries’ programme for the village.

“We are delighted with the mural and it has added yet another point of interest in our already heritage-rich village,” he added