The last time I headed Foyleside*/** for a bit of Street Art Spotting was in the Summer of 2019, a rather enjoyable day trip by train.
Since then, a lot has changed, and I’m not talking about the composition of wallspace in the city.
(* I did head up that direction in November 2019 to see Linfield play Institute, but didn’t spend much time in the City Centre)
(** I went up for work in March 2020, on the day that you know what was kicking off and events were starting to be postponed)
As I left on that Saturday in 2019, I thought I would make it an annual event, a free Saturday when he football is over, time to start looking at he calendar for free Saturdays in June 2020 before the European Championship started.
Of course, I never made a visit in 2020, and 2021 looked set to be heading the same way.
However, with Annual Leave to use, I thought I might as well use one of those days off to head over.
In normal times, I would have headed up early, but not a chance I would be going up with commuter traffic.
Instead, I headed over to get the 9.10am train, meaning I would arrive just before 11.30am, giving me plenty of time to check out the place.
If you’re wondering why I got the train instead of the bus, it’s because the 212 doesn’t really have a quiet time. It’s busy all day long.
I didn’t have long to wait for my first Street Art spot, being greeted by a Rainbow Crossing as I crossed the road to go to Guildhall Square.
It wasn’t easy to get decent photos of it due to people and cars using that crossing for it’s intended purpose and getting in shot.
Earlier this year, there was a Street Art Festival called Roots which meant that this wasn’t going to be a wasted trip. UV Arts, a local arts organisation also organises Street Art and Murals alongside this.
The last time I visited, I headed to Glendermott Street as my first port of call. The reason for this is that there was a mural of a woman in a hat. It’s still there. I was wondering if it had been replaced. You can’t really miss it if you’re travelling in to the city on the 212.
I did manage to miss a mural across the road on Bonds Street. Thankfully, I was able to get one later in the day when there was still some daylight to work with.
The trip wasn’t exclusively for Street Art, I did intend to explore the place, walking the full length of the walls. I know, such a cliche.
There was a motive behind it, to visit one of my favourite shops, Yellow Yard, an emporium of music, art, books, clothes and stationery.
I also visited Social Street Market, which featured a lot of interesting, random and bizarre items. There was a box of comic books for 50p each which was sadly wasted on me. There was also a painting collage of the stars of the Leeds United team of 95/96. Again, that was wasted on me.
If you care, or need a refresher, they finished 13th and got gubbed 3-0 by Aston Villa in the League Cup Final.
Other shops that are well worth a visit include No 1 Guildhall Street, Bedlam and Smart Swag.
I then went for a walkabout in search of Street Art, spotting a piece along Richmond Square, where a Shopping Centre and Government Offices are joined.
There was one I specifically wanted to see. It was one of a man called Richard Moore, known locally as Derry Lama, meeting the Dalai Lama.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it was featured earlier this year in a Travelogue on ITV called Home Sweet Home, presented by Joanna Lumley.
I did have to cheat and look up what street it is on, and thankfully the street it was on, Great James Street, was easy to find.
There were quite a few pieces on that street, so it was well worth a visit.
By now, it was late afternoon, so I headed to the Peace Bridge to try and get some sunset photos.
The sunset was a bit meh, so it was then time for a bite to eat and then back to the train station for the 6.38pm (again, to avoid commuters) train home.
Talking of places with two names, up next for me (in terms of Northern Ireland, there will be a trip to Dublin sandwiched inbetween) is a visit to Ards/Newtownards, which has recently held a Street Art Festival.
Anything Bangor has, Ards has to get.
Stroke City Street Art June 2019