#314, Liberty Lane, Dublin
It's official: it's Urban Decay Week here at &7. I'm tired of cleanliness, and I don't care how close to godliness it is. I like my cities blooming into fruitful dereliction, thanks very much. So brace yourselves for the best/worst as I bring you a whole week of all the spray paint, dry rot, peeling stickers, and cracked plaster your heart desires. Starting here with Liberty Lane.
There are streets, there are roads, and then there are lanes. Lanes, alleys, short cuts, and back roads: I love them. They afford a look at the city you don't see from the bus window. Too narrow for cars, too rocky for bikes, too manky for tourists and too pointless for locals. But walk down one and you're accessing the secret arteries that link together a city's better known sights and sites. You can get lost in a lane and enjoy it; get lost on the wrong road and you can end up halfway across the country. I grew up on a lane, moved to a circle, and now live on a place. So whenever I stumble across anything called a lane, I feel, in some way, that I'm returning to my roots.
Liberty Lane in Dublin, painted tip to toe in graffiti, is a lot of eye candy to take in all at once. Narrow, meandering, and about as useful to a commuter as an appendix is to a body, this lane and its closed-in walls make an appealing canvas for street artists. The bleak walls over time have been remade by the bright and cheery, can't-we-all-hug-and-get-along murals of graffiti artist Maser (Haven't you heard? He loves you!). Though not strictly Maser-related, a car park full of murals in Dublin so seduced me a few months back that I broke from my numbers-only rule and posted a whole slew of 'em here. Mea culpa. It was so, so worth it.
Lurking opposite a bright pink and yellow Maser mural, this 314 feels accidental, dark, forgotten, overlooked. Naturally, I flock to the underdog. There's certainly some plan behind it, you can tell that from the stencil, but the rest feels usurped by the urban blight that, given enough time, will eat up any wall. The black "NO BOMB PLEASE" sticker -- usually more at home on garbage cans/rubbish bins -- is a nice touch.