The Walls Project

Down Syndrome Ireland marks 50 years with a special unveiling of artwork by renowned street artist and activist Joe Caslin on a building in Dublin’s city centre.

The artwork is part of a wider programme of activities running as part of our new campaign The Upside which focuses on four key aspects of life for a person with Down syndrome: health, education, employment and life in the community.

Joe’s work with Down Syndrome Ireland includes a 60ft mural featuring 21 year old Amanda from Mullingar who loves music and drama and also artwork featuring 28 year old Sammy Kratschmar from Walkinstown, who is a brilliant snooker player and loves football.


Amanda and Sammy also happen to have Down syndrome.

Down Syndrome Irelands Cork branch unveils 10ft artwork by local artist Paul La Rocque featured over Cork City Library.

As part of Down Syndrome Ireland’s 50th Anniversary celebrations part of a number of awareness-building and fundraising activities that have taken place this celebratory year and coincides with Down Syndrome Awareness Month (October). The UpSide campaign focuses on the four key aspects of life for a person with Down syndrome: health, education, employment and life in the community which are represented in Paul’s artwork. Paul’s mural is bright and uplifting pop art theme, similar to the style of Andy Warhol and features an adult, teenager and child with Down syndrome in a mixture of photography and art.T

Three members of our Cork branch feature in the mural,  John Sweetnam who celebrated his 51st birthday on the day of the launch. John’s mother Hazel (who also features in the mural) was key in setting up Down Syndrome Ireland’s Cork branch back when parents had to fight tooth and nail for what were the most basic of services let alone rights. Four-year-old Harry Brassel from Cork city whose mum Orla regularly shares on her popular social media channel ‘At Home with Harry’ which has grown a big following and teenager Lily Atkinson (13) from Ballintemple whose mum Brenda volunteers with Down Syndrome Cork. 



Down Syndrome Ireland's Sligo branch unveils 30ft artwork by local artist local artist Damien Moran in Tubbercurry.

President Michael D Higgins, who is Patron of Down Syndrome Ireland, and his wife Sabina attended the launch of our Sligo branches’ mural marking our 50th anniversary in Tubbercurry. The mural, Embrace Diversity, was created by local artist Damien Moran.

The 30ft mural features two people of different generations with Down syndrome and is situated in the middle of the town at the entrance to swift lane walkway, kindly donated by a local businessman and restaurateur Ahmal Hasan.  The two people who feature in the mural include 8-year-old Nova Clancy from Gurteen Co Sligo and 29-year-old Sammy Kratschmar from Walkinstown. Sammy also features on the front cover of Down Syndrome Ireland’s official report The Upside – Life with Down syndromewhich highlights the gaps between the public’s aspirations and the reality for people with Down syndrome and their families in day-to-day life.  This special report can be downloaded here

President Michael D Higgins said:  “I would like to congratulate Down Syndrome Ireland on reaching its 50th anniversary and to thank all those who have given their time over the last half century to ensure that there are services and supports in place for those with Down syndrome and their families.”

Speaking on behalf of the Sligo branch, Co Chairperson Declan Cooke said: “This ‘Embrace Diversity’ Mural is a fantastic expression of the value that people with Down syndrome bring to their communities and their right to full inclusion and participation in Irish Society. We are honoured to have our Patron, President Higgins, to launch this today and would like to thank Damien for his excellent work, founding member Ann Killoran and the local businesses who have made generous donations including Ken Morley, K&B Supplies Tubbercurry and all the staff from the Occupational Therapy Department in Sligo University hospital.”