Rail travellers to hear birdsong on commute in nationwide art project

Rail Travellers To Hear Birdsong On Commute In Nationwide Art Project
The project aims to highlight the often unnoticed wildlife in our towns and cities. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins.
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By Digital Desk Staff

Travellers waiting for trains around the country will hear birdsong from tomorrow morning, as part of a new art project designed to brighten the morning commute.

The public art project “On Chorus” by sound artist Christopher Steenson will play across PA systems in Iarnród Éireann’s train stations from 8am to 9am until the end of November.


It aims to highlight the “dramatic” reduction in noise pollution in Ireland during the first Covid-19 lockdown and the often unnoticed wildlife in towns and cities.

“During this time, the sounds of towns and cities across Ireland were filled with the clear and uninterrupted sound of birdsong, which provided a stark contrast to the sounds of cars, planes and other machinery that usually consume our urban soundscapes,” Iarnród Éireann said.

The birdsong was recorded by Mr Steenson during the first few weeks of lockdown in inner-city Dublin.

Birds that can be heard include song thrushes, blackbirds, wrens, dunnocks, blue tits, herring gulls, mallards and moorhens.

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Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland said the project provides “the public with the opportunity to experience art at a time when most cultural institutions in Ireland remain closed.”

“Birdsong is something that is very dear to my heart,” he said. “Throughout Covid-19 restrictions, it became even more important to me, as I know it did to people all across the country.”

Given that only those who are essential workers will be able to hear the birdsong in train stations due to current restrictions, Iarnród Éireann said the project “acts as a gesture of appreciation and support”.

The project is supported by Iarnród Éireann in consultation with BirdWatch Ireland, and funded through the Arts Council of Ireland’s Covid-19 Crisis Response Award with additional funding from The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

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