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Putting art on the pitch in Phibsboro

A project at Bohemians to get artists to make posters for football games is helping get the fans back into Dalymount Park – and getting noticed the world of design. 

Founded in 1890, Bohemian F.C. (Bohs) is Dublin’s oldest club still in existence. With other artists, the arts officer at Bohemians, Mark O’Meara, has been merging art with football – in the form of posters.

Dublin’s Originals was begun to showcase the rich heritage Bohs has in the city. It began its life as a series of match day prints with Gavin Fahy of 1815 FC, a community led football organisation and magazine.  

O’Meara had made mock posters for a game when Fahy reached out to him and suggested they do it for real. 

Now in its third year, the project has been inducted into The 100 Archive that charts the past, present and future of Irish design, including some of Ireland’s most noted artists and designers. 

“Not going too badly!” O’Meara exclaims.

Friday 8th of March. The Bohemian Football Club vs Derry City. By: Kate O’Loughlin @k8olo

“You want to make something the fans can hang on to – it can be a longer process finding something relevant and crafting it into a print but it’s usually the most rewarding way of doing it.”

– MARK O’MEARA, BOHEMIAN FC’S ARTS OFFICER

Football is important to the local community, as is the arts. Dublin’s Originals recognise this and found a way to combine the two.

“Anything that brings people into the club and gets them going to games is a good thing for the club and the area too. Football clubs are the centres of communities, and in areas like Phibsboro they can be the only constant in a hugely transient space.” 

They have created a huge opportunity for local artists. They are given a place to express when creative spaces in the city begin to dwindle.  

Monday 25th Feb. The Bohemians vs Shamrock Rovers. By: Mark O’Meara @m.omeara 
 
 

“I’ve made boxing style posters, influenced by Dalymount’s rich boxing legacy, for our fight for European places,” O’Meara says. “I’ve done dancehall and punk style posters that have referenced the musical history of the ground, particularly the ska, punk and skinhead culture you still see at Dalymount today.”

The match day posters vary from game to game. O’Meara takes influence from things that are relevant to the club, the grounds, and the local community.  

“You want to make something that the fans can hang onto. It can be a longer process finding something relevant and crafting it into a print but it’s usually the most rewarding way of doing it.  

“I think the ones that have worked best are the ones that have paid the truest tribute to the club and the fans. They’re always the ones I’m happiest with.”

Having a creative side to the club has been a major asset.

Bohs was the first Irish team to have a poet in residence and now they are the first to have both an arts officer and a climate officer.  

From lockdowns over the past year, people have realised the importance of community and the importance of having pride in where you’re from. 

“The best way to get fans into games and into the club was to be so present in the community that of course, the locals would become Bohs fans.”

After going through a tough financial period in 2010, alongside a series of losses, the club had to look towards other avenues to get the fans back into the sport.

“What did we have to connect with our community that other clubs or the premier league didn’t? This is when names like Dublin’s Originals, and taglines like ‘Terraces not TV’ came up as well. What we had to offer was a genuine football experience and a tangible connection with our community.

“ It’s been absolutely brilliant getting back into games! Going to Dalymount and going to away games has become such a big part of my life and my week in recent years, that it was one of the hardest things to lose through Covid.”

After long months of restrictions on crowds, local football is back. The games are back alongside the sense of community built around Bohs in Dublin 7.  

“There’s a real excitement in ‘Dalyer’ (Dalymount) and you can feel how glad everyone is to be back watching football and seeing their mates.” 

 

Friday 15th February. Bohemian Football Club vs Finn Harps. By: Mark O’Meara @m.omeara  
 



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