Liffey Love

By Louise Whelan

Culture Night (Sep 22nd) is a national moment which celebrates culture, creativity and the arts, and seeks to actively promote the belief that this rich and varied culture is alive, treasured and nurtured in people’s lives, today and everyday.  This national festival is in its 18th year and has something for all tastes, with free entry into events in villages, towns and cities.

Rhona Byrne (photo: Malcolm McGettigan)
Rhona Byrne (photo: Malcolm McGettigan)

Liffey Love is a new exciting public art project by artist Rhona Byrne that considers connection and what it means to love our city, to rethink materials of everyday life and embrace sustainable circular practices to nurture a sense of collective civic engagement.  The project is commissioned by Dublin City Council and funded by the Irish Government under the Per Cent for Art Scheme.

The Poolbeg Yacht and Boat club hosted the launch of Liffey Love with a wonderful exhibition of all the different types of materials that have been collected so far and compressed into colourful plastics, along with video footage of how the waste gets obtained and a variety of books to browse. 

Guests were also treated to a jaunt on The Old Liffey Ferry, which is the oldest ferry in Ireland, up the River Liffey and enjoyed a talk about the project.

Rhona is gathering all the debris from the Liffey to repurpose into sheet material to create a social sculpture in the form of love seats placed on the North Campshires of the river in early 2024. 

Rhona Byrne, Jimmy Murray, Thomas Murray and Tom Greely on the Liffey Sweeper. (Photo: Malcolm McGettigan)

This art project is being supported by the Irish Nautical Trust working on the Liffey Sweeper.  The Liffey Sweeper is an environmental vessel designed to collect waste debris such as cans, hard plastics and bottles from the city’s waterways.  It was launched in 2021 by Jimmy Murray, who is the director of the Irish Nautical Trust and was his brilliant idea that came to life.  The sweeper has been modified with a large cage at the front of the vessel which scoops down by remote control into the Liffey, collects all the debris which then gets lowered onto the sorting table where it is separated and put into designated recycling bins.

Rhona is now a welcomed member of the crew and goes out regularly with them to source all what she needs.  She has also teamed up with Paltech who are a research and development company and have developed methods of recycling, and Green Generation who use patented technology to reuse packaging.  Also supporting this project are Billings Jackson Design and CME industrial.

We wish Rhona all the best with her sculpture and look forward to the unveiling early next year.

Follow the story on Instagram at Liffeylove.

Logo by Una Young