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James McClean Derry mural inspires next generation of Creggan footballers

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James McClean mural at Central Drive in Creggan. Photo: Martin McKeown.

James McClean mural at Central Drive in Creggan. Photo: Martin McKeown.

James McClean mural at Central Drive in Creggan. Photo: Martin McKeown.

A new mural in honour of Derry man James McClean towers over the Creggan community where he spent his childhood playing football.

The mural at Central Drive in the Creggan estate is part of Feile Derry’s 'Graffiti On The Walls' project.

On Tuesday night the artist Aches finished his latest creation.

The first people to see the completed mural were James' mother, brother, niece and nephew.

At the start of this week, students from St. John's Primary School – where the Republic of Ireland international was educated – called by while artist Aches was hard at work on his new mural celebrating one of Creggan’s most famous sons.

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McClean honed his skills on the surrounding streets and went on to pull on the candystripes of hometown club Derry City FC.

He got a move across the water where he has played for Sunderland, Wigan, West Brom and Stoke.

The Derry man represented the Republic of Ireland, collecting 90 caps and even captained the side against Mexico.

A spokesperson for Féile said: “Over the last few months we have been working with partner organisations across Creggan and Brandywell on a number of events to mark 75 years since the first houses were built in Creggan.

"This current project is part of a Street Art initiative, 'Graffiti on The Walls' which has been taking place over the last couple of weeks. As well as number of new artworks and murals across the Creggan and Brandywell neighbourhoods, the initiative also features workshops at local schools/youth clubs where young people have been trying out graffiti techniques with professional artists.

"The project is A Communities In Transition project supported by Northern Ireland Executive.

"We are honoured to have Aches, one of the finest artists in the world creating a new artwork for Creggan. We have been blown away by the reaction to the James McClean mural.

"The theme that was chosen for the artworks was inspiring young people and what better person to inspire the youth of Creggan than James McClean, a proud Creggan man who is a hero to the people of Creggan and Derry and to hundreds of thousands of football fans across Ireland and beyond.

"Barcelona and Naples have murals to their heroes Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona. Derry now has a mural celebrating our football hero, James McClean.”

The Dublin-based artist behind the mural, Aches, specialises in large scale murals and graffiti.

Aches has been invited to design and create original artwork for projects around the world, in countries such as Denmark, Hungary, Spain, Sweden, Scotland, Austria, Switzerland, England and USA.

'Graffiti On The Walls' is a new street art initiative across the Brandywell and Creggan neighbourhoods which has featured workshops and a number of new murals for the area.

The Gasyard Feile is a community festival that has become the biggest community and arts cultural festival in the North West, attracting over 20,000 people to the programme of events.

It involves numerous other organisations including Bogside & Brandywell Health Forum, Bogside & Brandywell Initiative, Dove House, Fountain Forum, Pilots Row, Bluebell Arts, Culturlann Ui Chanain, Peace Walls Project and more.

The Feile is the result of the commitment of a multitude of groups, initiatives, volunteers who come together each year to shape and manage a programme of events that range from music, literature, sport, education, visual arts, carnival and fun days to health, discussions, lectures, conferences, community consultation and tours.


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