This is the largest mural painting Augustus John produced. He began work on it, without any commission, when he was staying in Galway City on the west coast of Ireland, in 1915. He hoped to make ‘a vast picture synthesizing all that’s fine and characteristic in Galway City – a grand marshalling of the elements’.
This was during the war, just before the Irish uprising, and the issue of home rule was often in the newspapers. John’s view suggests a self-sufficient and independent Ireland, but not a modern one.