Debbie Chapman – Visual Artist


‘Dereliction’ is a community based art project which responds to Chapelizod Village’s derelict buildings.

Chapelizod is representative of the classic Irish village, in which a wide variety of building forms are loosely grouped around a central (market) space, but with a firm definition of urban space and sense of enclosure. This village is rare and significant due to its medieval origins and its later post-medieval growth and decline. Despite being engulfed by the expansion of Dublin City in the past hundred years, it retains the scale and character of a village. For various reasons the village has a collection of decaying and derelict buildings.

The project has been led by professional visual artist Debbie Chapman (a resident of Chapelizod), in collaboration with local residents, including local history societies, heritage groups, community organizations plus artists, individuals & young people living in Chapelizod. The purpose of this project was to explore the impact of decline and deterioration of historic buildings at the centre of Chapelizod’s village and through shared artistic practice create a strong sense of place within the current community.

The intended outputs of the project were to create artistic interventions instilled with community consciousness and deliver a series of community arts events, which were to have a positive impact on local people, effected by the decline in their immediate environments.

The process for ‘Dereliction’ incorporated research and recording through a variety of mediums including still image, sound, drawing & painting to present the once vibrant stories and social histories of these ‘Derelict’ buildings. The nature of dereliction and the effects it has on communities in a wider sense was also investigated. Possible futures for these buildings have been discussed and visualized, encouraging a creative process of the imagination in the context of the disrepair of the tangible. Lines of enquiry have included:


“Who are these buildings?”

“What life have they led?”

“Who were their original owners?”

“What would their family tree look like?”

“What was the original purpose of these buildings?”

“Were they fit for purpose?”

“How could they best fit into today’s world?”

“Are these buildings an eyesore?”

“How do these buildings effect us in our daily lives?”

“Is there any value in The Beauty of Dereliction?”

“Why do we feel a need for preservation?”

chapelizod - dereliction -2014

The project has culminated in this collaborative Visual Arts Exhibition and an ongoing Public Art Work installed on a hoarding in the centre of the village in front of one of the Derelict Buildings, ‘The Gambles’


The exhibition was officially opened by Minister Simon Harris on Thursday 6th November and is now open Thur-Sun 10am-5pm until 23rd November 2014.


Central to the successful delivery of the project have been the on-going collaborations with:

Eneclann – Genealogists

Chapelizod Heritage Society

COVA (Chapelizod Old Village Association)

Chapelizod Residents Association

Chapelizod Tidy Towns

St. Laurences National School

St. Patrick’s National School

St. Michael’s Holy Angels School

An Taisce

Chapelizod Senior Citizens

Ballyfermot Art College

Motoko Fujita

Other artists & residents of the village

This project has been funded by:

Dublin City Council

Office of Public Works

Chapelizod/Ballyfermot Partnership

Eneclann – Genealogists

Moriarty’s Supervalu Palmerstown