The Mural...

The project was part of Cork City Council’s ongoing collaboration with The Globe Lane Initiative (GLI) and its #DouglassWeek project, an annual, transatlantic, creative event series that started in Cork in 2021 and continues to celebrate and advance the legacy and the continuing impact of Frederick Douglass around the world each year. The mural was commissioned by Cork City Council‘s: Corporate Affairs and International Relations and Culture & Placemaking Directorates. The commission was supported by the Creative Ireland Programme, an all-of-Government initiative, which places creativity at the centre of public policy. Further information from

The dimensions are 12 metres in width, with a height of 3.78m

The Artist: Zabou

Zabou is a London-based French artist, specialising in large-scale realistic murals.

Born in France, Zabou dedicated much of her childhood to drawing and painting. After moving to the United Kingdom for her studies, she began painting in the streets in 2012. Each year she participates in urban arts festivals and projects, having completed more than 250 murals across 22 countries worldwide, spanning from Indonesia to the U.S.A and throughout Europe. (See: www.Zabou.Me)

The Music: The Frederick Douglass Ireland Suite

The Composition...

To commemorate the dedication of the mural, members of the Cork Light Orchestra and the Cork Unitarian Church commissioned an original musical piece by Cork composer Michael Robert Cummins. The piece, titled The Frederick Douglass Ireland Suite is a musical narrative of Frederick Douglass’ life and his visit to Ireland. The libretto is taken from excerpts of Douglass’ speeches and autobiography. Musical themes are inspired by both traditional American and Irish musical genres. The instrumentation represents: Clarinet – America, Harp – Ireland, and Strings – Douglass himself (he was an avid amateur violinist).

The Composer: Michael Robert Cummins

Michael Robert Cummins
Michael Robert Cummins

 Composer Michael Robert Cummins (b. 1978) is from Cork. After he earned a Bachelor in Music degree from MTU Cork School of Music in 2003, Cummins graduated from NUI Maynooth with a Masters in Music Technology and Computer Music in 2005. During this time he studied electro acoustic composition. He earned the Master of Arts in violin performance in 2019 at MTU Cork School of Music. Michael is currently undertaking a PhD in Composition at Technical University Dublin.

Since 2006 Cummins has taught violin and served as ensemble coach and orchestral conductor at the Cork ETB School of Music, one of Ireland’s most dynamic multi-campus music schools.

He is a freelance composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist session musician in various genres from Classical, Jazz, Pop, and Irish Traditional music. He has played in session with Irish tenor Finbarr Wright, blues musician Don Baker, country singer Michael English, and singer songwriter Freddie White amongst many others.

Cummins is a member of the Cork Haydn Symphony Series Orchestra and has played with the Cork Concert Orchestra and the Cork Fleishmann Symphony Orchestra. He formed and leads the Gypsy Jazz Quartet. Cummins is also musical director of the Cork Light Orchestra. He has also worked with Music Current Dublin, premiering one of his works for Violin, Cello and electronics in 2022.

Cummins’ compositions and arrangements have been played both nationally and internationally. He is a Fleadh Ceol winner in the newly composed tunes category, and in 2022 won the West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival composition competition with a piece entitled “A New Species” later broadcast on RTE Lyric FM as well as being performed in Europe.

Cummins was commissioned by the ETB to compose and conduct a piece for the IAYO festival in 2023 for both Irish Traditional instruments and orchestra. The piece, entitled “A Session Rhapsody”, was conducted by Cummins at the National Concert Hall in 2023 and performed by students of Cork ETB School of Music.

Cummins arranged and orchestrated the first ever musical in the Irish language, Tuarín Dubh. Other projects include arrangements and compositions for  “Aiseirí” in 2016 at the Cork Opera House commemorating the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. He was commissioned by the PDST in 2013 for a work that was published for use by second level music students in Ireland.

Upcoming projects include work with Ireland’s Concorde contemporary music ensemble and a new work for the TU Dublin wind ensemble as part of his PhD studies. Michael will also be composing the commemorative piece for Frederick Douglass Week 2024 in Cork commemorating the abolitionist’s connection to Ireland and the Cork Unitarian Church.

Premier Performance

As part of the mural dedication celebration, the premier performance of The Frederick Douglass Ireland Suite was held on Monday 22-April-2024 at the Frederick Douglass Lounge in Cork’s Imperial Hotel

  • Conductor: Michael Robert Cummins
  • Narrator: Rev. Mike O-Sullivan (Cork Unitarian Church) 

Other Frederick Douglass Murals...

To see some of the man public murals inspired by Frederick Douglass, check out the web site: Finding Frederick – Locating Public Works of Art Featuring Frederick Douglass

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