Town paints a pretty picture of its historic past

The people of Buttevant are hoping to unveil a huge mural which will showcase the town’s historic past.

Planning permission for the mural is expected to be approved by Cork County Council this week and unveiled by Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan on June 16.

The mural will cover the whole local ball alley’s gable wall and will be clearly visible to motorists travelling into the town from its northern side.

The project is the brainchild of Buttevant Heritage Group. Chairwoman Lillian Sheahan said plans were in train to create a second mural, depicting the town’s association with the oldest steeplechase in the world, the St Leger. That race was run between the steeples of the churches in Doneraile and Buttevant in 1752.

The first mural focuses on the 13th to 14th century, when the Barrys were powerful Normans who controlled the region.

“It will feature Lord Barry near the gate of the medieval town as well as one of the Lombard Italian wool merchants, who appear to have settled in Buttevant around 1234. Their town was walled as early as 1317,” Ms Sheahan said.

“The Barrys later became viscounts and earls. They built many castles, including Barry’s Castle, two monasteries, and a medieval bridge in Buttevant around 1250.”

The Lombards became mayors and sheriffs of Cork and Limerick. Some are buried with the Barrys in the 13th century friary in the town.

“The researchers and mural artist, Niall O’Dwyer, have taken care to represent both medieval characters in the appropriate dress of the time,” Ms Sheahan said.

Coinciding with the launch of the mural, a parade of the Barry and Lombard clans of north Cork is planned for the town.

Ms Sheahan said a book detailing the history of Buttevant will also be launched on the day.

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