Though Flannery’s Pub may not be able to welcome revelers in usual St. Patrick’s Day fashion due to COVID-19 restrictions, the popular East Fourth Street bar does have something to celebrate today—the addition of a brand-new mural, courtesy of local artist Eileen Dorsey.
The 24-by-8-foot mural blends scenes from Dorsey’s own travels in Ireland, from the rolling hills of County Kerry to the gentle cityscapes of Cobh (not to mention seven shamrocks, hidden throughout the mural as “Easter eggs” of sorts).
“I’ve been to Ireland twice—once in 2010 and then again with my mom and sister in 2015,” says Dorsey, who grew up as an active member of the West Side Irish American Club. “At that time, my mom’s knees were getting bad, so we wanted to give her the opportunity to go [before she could no longer explore on foot].”
Eileen DorseyThat seven-day guided bus tour inspired a series of 14 paintings titled “Welcome Home,” which Dorsey debuted at 78th Street Studios in March 2016 (with a keg of Guinness and a live bagpiper to mark the occasion). That show ended up being proof of concept for Dorsey to later land the mural gig with Flannery’s, which had come under new ownership in June 2018 and was set to undergo a full makeover.
“It’s a much cleaner, more modern pub now,” says Dorsey. “The mural is the last part of the renovations.”
It took Dorsey—who was named Scene's "Best Artist" in 2018—about three weeks to complete the mural. She considers the mural a labor of love—not just because of her Irish upbringing, but because of her special connection to East Fourth Street. Dorsey worked as a server at Hilarities from 2003 to 2010 and spent a short stint working at Flannery’s; her brother also once owned a valet company that served the street.
Though Dorsey has left her serving days behind, she'll never forget the street that paved the way for her to become a full-time artist. “East Fourth has been such an important part of my life and youth, and I’ve gotten to see the whole street transform over the years,” says Dorsey, who now works from a dedicated space at 78th Street Studios. “It’s nice that my mural will be part of that history now.”