Commuters to be tweeted to birdsong as they await their train 

Commuters to be tweeted to birdsong as they await their train 

Commuters at Irish Rail stations will be serenaded to by birdsong this month. Picture: File Image

They are often seen staring at their phones while they wait for their trains, but from tomorrow morning rail commuters will be serenaded by beautiful tweeting as they compose or read their latest tweets.

Birdsong will be playing at train stations across the country between 8-9am tomorrow and every day until November 29.

On Chorus is a public art project by sound artist Christopher Steenson which aims to highlight the dramatic reduction in noise pollution in Ireland during the first Covid-19 lockdown. 

The sounds of towns and cities were filled with the clear and uninterrupted sound of birdsong, which provided a stark contrast to the sounds of cars, planes and other machinery that usually consume our urban soundscapes. 

The birdsong which will be played on Iarnród Éireann’s PA systems from today was recorded by Mr Steenson in inner-city Dublin during the first few weeks of lockdown last Spring.

On Chorus also uses birdsong to highlight the biodiversity of our urban environments, emphasising the rich variety of wildlife that exists in our town and cities, which can go unnoticed amongst the noisy commotion of our daily lives. 

Using the collective act of listening, On Chorus asks listeners to reflect on the relative period of quietness throughout the early months of the pandemic, creating a new sense of connection with our present moment as we all acclimatise to the ‘new normal’ of life in a Covid-19-changed world. 

The project also acts as a gesture of appreciation to essential workers — the only people currently permitted to travel — as the Covid-19 crisis continues to unfold.

But the birdsong will also play on a website created especially for the project — www.on-chorus.com - between 8am-9am each day for people who are still self-isolating or unable to travel. 

A series of 35mm photographs by Mr Steenson will also be loaded on the website.

“Birdsong is something that is very dear to my heart,” said Niall Hatch, Head of Development and Communications with BirdWatch Ireland.

“Throughout Covid-19 restrictions, it became even more important to me, as I know it did to people all across the country. 

"Hearing the sound of the birds singing around my home, and especially the beauty of the dawn chorus, became a real source both of entertainment and of comfort to thousands of people, many of whom had never really paid it much heed before.

"Steenson’s On Chorus project is a unique and exciting nationwide art project, providing the public with the opportunity to experience art at a time when most cultural institutions in Ireland remain closed. 

"By collaborating with a national organisation like Iarnród Éireann, On Chorus demonstrates an innovative way that art can be presented publicly in the face of changing health restrictions, as a result of the current pandemic,” he said.

Iarnród Éireann’s Environmental Executive, Emer Bambrick said: “Iarnród Éireann is delighted to collaborate with On Chorus to deliver this unique project which will broadcast the soothing sounds of biodiversity to our passengers in stations across the country this Winter”

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