The Rewind

The Story Behind The 'Into The West' Mural In Portarlington

The Story Behind The 'Into The West' Mural In Portarlington

Name a better Irish film than 'Into The West': we'll wait. The epic adventure of Ossie and Tayto aboard Tir ná nÓg has captured the imagination of Irish cinema fans for almost three decades. So it is especially cool to see the film being immortalised in Portarlington this month via a massive mural outside a cinema that actually features in the film.

Fans of ITW will remember Ossie and Tayto bringing their horse to a cinema matineé. That cinema was in Portarlington and known as the Savoy. It has been derelict for years, but this week, Irish street artist ADW, in conjunction with the Laois County Council and Creative Ireland, completed an Into The West-themed mural on the outside of the old cinema. It looks amazing - you can watch a timelapse on the six-day painting process below:

We interviewed ADW about the whole process of designing the mural and how it's being received in Portarlington:

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Tell us a bit more about yourself and your background making murals?
I've been painting under the moniker ADW since 2008 when I first picked up a scalpel and tin of spraypaint and began creating my own images. I immediately drifted to street art and creating murals as I really enjoy the connection it makes with the public.
How did the project start?
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Having known about the history of the cinema for some time and it's cinematic claim to fame for being featured in the much loved Irish movie 'Into the West', I've dreamt of painting an 'Into the West' inspired piece on the iconic building in Portarlington. I managed to secure some funding when the opportunity arose to meet the arts department in Laois County Council and I got to pitch my idea...they loved it!
Were you a big Into The West fan before starting on this mural?
Of course, it's an Irish classic and I have very fond childhood memories of the movie. It's hard not to fall in love with the characters Tito and Ossie. The movie has some amazing scenes and script, the line 'everyone has a little traveller in them, but not everyone knows where they are going' has always stuck with me.
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What condition was The Savoy in when this all started?
It was in terrible condition and two days were spent preparing the walls before starting to paint the main image. New SAVOY letters were also cut and installed.
How long did it all take?
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6 days from start to finish. One day power wash, one day prime and four days painting the image. Not counting the couple of months planning!
What was the reception to mural like in Portarlington?
The reception and feedback has been overwhelming and the positivity it has brought to Portarlington has exceeded expectations. It's amazing how there hasn't been a crash as the amount of drivers I've seen hanging out their windows trying to take photos of the piece as they pass.
If you like the mural, ADW is selling his own Into The West prints which you can buy here
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