The Icon Factory is a not-for-profit artists’ collective, aimed at promoting our country’s cultural icons. Ireland has been in the grips of recession in recent years, and morale has been low, so the Icon Factory seeks to remind us of great figures of Irish heritage in order to reinstill some positivity. Run entirely by artists and volunteers, it’s an open, friendly place.
The Icon Factory is primarily an exhibition space, open to any artists that wish to exhibit work focused on or around an Irish icon. There’s also a small shop where you can buy great prints, mugs and other memorabilia featuring images from their Icon Walk.
The Icon Walk is Ireland’s largest open-air art installation, in the Temple Bar laneways immediately surrounding the Icon Factory (Aston Place, Bedford Lane and Price’s Lane). Created entirely by the artists in the collective, it’s a celebration of Irish heroes past and present, from playwrights to musicians to actors to sporting heroes, with plenty of local landmarks and trivia included.
I stumbled upon it by accident one day, and happily put my plans on hold to wander through. Although the lanes are steps from the bustling tourist hub of Temple Bar, they were previously run-down and neglected, until this project breathed life into them.
With its finger on the pulse, more than some other exhibitions that charge admission, it’s a great way to spend an hour without spending a cent (but you can also donate to them here, to help keep them going)!