Limerick Civic Trust Announced as Local Champion in Community Response to COVID-19 Crisis

David O’Brien, CEO Limerick Civic Trust. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

Limerick Civic Trust has been announced as the Local Champion for Limerick City and County. The initiative, brought together by the Government of Ireland, The Wheel, and Irish Rural Link, aims to ensure that no area or household is left behind during the COVID-19 crisis, and Local Champions have been created in every county. The Local Champion works as part of the Local Authority response, and sits on the Local Authority COVID-19 Community Response Forum. 

Discussing the role, Limerick Civic Trust CEO, David O’Brien, said, “We are delighted to take on this role for Limerick, and consider it to be within the remit of the long record of civic duty that the Trust has carried out in the city and county. In full partnership with state agencies, Limerick Council, and community organisations, we will help to streamline the community response so that vulnerable people receive timely and quality information and support from their own homes.” 

People who do not have a family member or neighbour living nearby, and who need to cocoon, are urged to contact Limerick’s Local Champion, Limerick Civic Trust, who will then link them with the service that is most appropriate for their needs. Family members are also invited to get in touch if they are concerned about a relative living locally who may need help. Please use the email or the phone number 086 0281828.

COVID-19 Update

At Limerick Civic Trust, we are actively monitoring the current situation in Ireland with regards to Covid-19 and have undertaken all recommended precautions with regards to the health and safety of our own staff, volunteers, and partners.

We have contingency plans in place to ensure that we are operating as normal. Our management and supervisory staff are working as normally as possible, remotely when possible and can be contacted via email or their mobile phones. Applying the highest level of caution, we have suspended our normal practice of meeting the public face-to-face.

Our contact details are:
Bishops’ Palace,
Church Street,
King’s Island,
Limerick, Ireland.

Phone: +353 (0)61 313 399

And our friends at The Wheel have a lot of practical advice HERE.

Christmas 2019 Update

What a year! As a very busy 2019 draws to a close, it is worth taking one last look at what was achieved. Limerick Civic Trust opened The People’s Museum of Limerick at No. 2 Pery Square in May, and we are still fundraising for this project. More details on how you can support this below. We also launched the Renaissance Fund – a new idea that would accommodate the repurposing of historic buildings before they become dilapidated. It is hoped that 2020 will see strong fundraising on this project, as it is needed more than ever before in the current climate.

In regards to the Community Employment Scheme that the Limerick Civic Trust sponsors, we renewed our contract with the Department of Employment and Social Protection for the year, and increased the number of participants from 68 to 74. In 2019, they completed over 65,000 hours of labour to the maintenance and restoration of the historic environment of Limerick City and County, with the support of the department, the supervisors, and the board of the Trust.

Other key events which happened during the year were the Halloween Tours from the Bishop’s Palace in October, for which we thank Fiona Kiely, the launch of the People’s Museum also in October, the beginning of the Leonard Lectures series in November, the opening of two important art exhibitions by artists Thomas Ryan and Tom Greaney (the former of which garnering national press attention with the Trust appearing on the RTE News twice), and the close of the year with the Annual Christmas Business Lunch which this year featured speaker Paddy Cosgrave of Web Summit fame.

There is a such a huge number of people to thank for all their contributions but I would like to highlight the generosity of Mark Carey of Careline, Frank Keohane of Litho-Circuits, the Countess of Dunraven, the Earl of Limerick, Ellen McCourt, and very importantly our Chairman, Thomas Wallace-O’Donnell, who has ably steered us through a very difficult period.

Finally, thank you to Dr Rose Anne White who came on board halfway through 2019, and has had an enormous positive impact on Limerick Civic Trust and its future growth.

Thank you so much for all of your support in 2019, and we look forward to continuing our work in 2020. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at the Trust.

David O’Brien, CEO.

Renaissance Fund Launched to Revitalise Georgian Limerick

Limerick Renaissance Fund to Resource Built Heritage Refurbishment Projects & Support City Living


Limerick Civic Trust, an independent, non-profit making voluntary society, has announced details of the Limerick Renaissance Fund, an evergreen revolving fund that will be used to restore and renovate historic buildings in the City of Limerick with a focus on urban regeneration.

Limerick Civic Trust has established the Fund to support the renaissance of derelict and under-used properties in the Newtown Pery area of Limerick through redevelopment for use as mixed commercial and residential.

David O’Brien, CEO of Limerick Civic Trust, explained the inspiration behind the fund, “Limerick’s Georgian Quarter is an architectural gem and the biggest in Ireland outside Dublin but it needs an overarching plan in regards investment, preservation and restoration, enabling it to be repurposed and used for modern living and commercial activity. The potential of Georgian Limerick is well-documented, so are the hindrances. The Limerick Renaissance Fund will breathe new life into historic buildings, thereby securing their future but also bringing life back into the city centre and improving the attractiveness of the area as a destination – a Magnet City.”

Limerick Civic Trust will work closely with Limerick City and County Council, government bodies and private property owners to identify suitable buildings for development.

“Through the Fund we will work with the owners of derelict and underused properties, some of whom may not have the resources to restore the buildings and find that developers are not offering them the necessary incentive. We can narrow the gap and offer a viable solution.  Some owners would get a greater portion of the market value when the building is repurposed or sold and are reassured by working with a local heritage-focused body,” Mr O’Brien noted.

The Limerick Renaissance Fund is aligned to and will support the Georgian Neighbourhood Limerick project which is being driven by the Urban Innovation Department of Limerick City & County Council.

Rosie Webb, Senior Architect for Economic Development, Limerick City & County Council, said, “The Georgian Neighbourhood is not just a place – it’s a new way of living. People are waking up to the value inherent in these buildings, both in terms of heritage, and in terms of the possibilities they hold for the future.  We welcome the launch of the Limerick Renaissance Fund, it is a much needed incentive and will enhance and support the measures we have already put in place to help people renovate or refurbish a Georgian building.”

Agreeing, Mr O’Brien said, “Together we can support new city centre living models while simultaneously conserving Ireland’s built heritage for the benefit of today’s city and future generations. The revolving endowment model means the Fund will sustain itself from project to project as all monies provided by the fund would be invested in heritage buildings destined for resale and returned to the fund upon successful disposal.”

The launch of the Limerick Renaissance Fund comes on the 250th anniversary of the launch of the plans for Newtown Pery.  In 1769 Edmund Sexten Pery commissioned an Irish engineer Christopher Colles to design a town plan on his estate which is now known as Newtown Pery.This land had belonged to the St Mary’s Monastery and St Francis Priory before the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1538. A direct descendant of Edmund Sexton Pery is now leading the fundraising element of the Renaissance Fund. Edmund Pery, Earl of Limerick, has already commenced work in securing grants/funding along with corporate and philanthropic donations in Ireland, UK, EU, and USA where the template for this initiative is the Historic Charleston Foundation’s revolving fund set up in 1957 for very similar purposes.

Thomas Wallace O’Donnell, Chair of Limerick Civic Trust, said, “Demand for high quality urban accommodation is not being met.  As a trusted heritage developer we can kick-start the restoration of derelict buildings, thereby improving the fabric of our city centre neighbourhoods. The operating model proposed is an ideal mechanism to support the focus on urban regeneration while enhancing Ireland’s built heritage and we are very lucky to have Edmund promoting our ambitions both here and beyond our shores.”

The Limerick Renaissance Fund will source derelict building projects from the both national and regional public bodies and state agencies, private individuals, and in the case of abandonment, will claim title to properties under existing regulations.

All net development proceeds will be reinvested in the Fund.


For further media information, please contact Edwina Gore, Gore Communications, 087 6295323

About Limerick Civic Trust

Limerick Civic Trust, which was formed in 1983, is an independent, non-profit making voluntary society.  It is mainly supported through donations from local government, industry, business, and individuals.  Its mission is to protect and enhance Limerick’s heritage and environment through conservation and preservation, improving civic amenities and education and research.

The Trust undertakes projects that make places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive.  Whether it’s improving or maintaining a graveyard, a riverside walk, community garden or City Street, the Trust’s work aims to promote civic pride.  The Trust also undertakes conservation and preservation projects as well as Educational and Research work.

How Revolving Funds Work

Revolving funds are used to gain control of historic properties through purchase or donation. Once the property has been rescued, the fund protects the property with permanent covenants while seeking a sympathetic purchaser. When the property needs emergency attention, or when the magnitude of the rehabilitation job is a deterrent to buyers, some funds will do renovations prior to resale, acting as developer of last resort. Most well established funds attempt to intervene on behalf of endangered properties earlier, avoiding last minute rescues in favour of thoughtful negotiations with interested parties. Many revolving funds focus on the needs of a particular neighbourhood as part of their stated mission. Revolving funds also vary on whether they purchase buildings outright or use options and other strategies to hold properties until buyers are found.

The Limerick Renaissance Fund will acquire, refurbish and turn over city centre large-scale, single Georgian properties sensitively to meet the needs and demands for growth and densification in city centre living over the coming decades.

Trust to Transform Culture House into a Museum

Limerick Civic Trust has warmly welcomed the decision by Limerick City & County Council to award the lease of Culture House at No. 2 Pery Square to the organisation. Councillors approved the proposal for Limerick Civic Trust to transform the building into a visitor attraction at this month’s metropolitan district meeting.

Speaking on behalf of the board of Limerick Civic Trust, David O’Brien, CEO, said “We are confident that No. 2 Pery Square will become a top visitor destination on its own right while also becoming a window into the larger Midwest tourism experience.”

The plan is to turn No. 2 Pery Square into a People’s Museum of Limerick.

“In preparing our proposal, Limerick Civic Trust consulted with the Waterford Experiences and The Little Museum of Dublin on their offering, experience and operation. We also drew on the collective experience of our Collections Committee, which boasts a former CEO of Shannon Heritage and the HR director of Shannon Development. We believe that a Limerick visitor experience based on stories and items of local interest will be a great addition to the local tourism offering,” he continued.

While the core remit is to open No. 2 Pery Square as a museum, the building will also be used as a venue for permanent and regular exhibitions and one-off events.

Limerick Civic Trust is hoping the new People’s Museum will open early summer this year. However, they are waiting for a licence giving formal permission to access the building and gardens so they can carry out some essential maintenance works in advance of the opening.

In the meantime, the Trust is working on securing working capital, hiring staff and planning the museum’s offering, branding and marketing.

No. 2 Pery Square is one of a terrace of six Georgian Style houses built by the Pery Square Tontine Company in 1838 to the design of the famous Limerick based architect James Pain. For buildings of similar size, this terrace is by far the best example of Georgian architecture in Limerick and possibly in Ireland.

“No. 2 Pery Square is an architectural gem and deserves to be opened to the public. The building played a key role in the year of Limerick City of Culture.  There is an opportunity to build on this and reflect on the efforts made over the last number of years,” concluded Thomas Wallace O’Donnell Chairman of Limerick Civic Trust.



’45 for Valour’ Now Exhibiting at Bishop’s Palace

’45 for Valour’ exhibition which was hosted by the Limerick Museum during November has now transferred to Bishop’s Palace, the headquarters of Limerick Civic Trust.

Trish Taylor Thompson’s seminal work ’45 for Valour’ honours the forty-five soldiers of Irish descent who were awarded the Victoria Cross for their bravery and heroism during the Great War. A graduate of LSAD, Trish Taylor Thompson’s practice is influenced by the symbolism of botanicals. Through the motif of the common poppy, she explores the importance of remembering. Themes of commemoration and memorial are at the heart of this important work that has stimulated dialogue in addressing the controversy around the wearing of the poppy in Ireland. The forty-five paintings, oil on linen, are a memorial to the soldiers who risked their lives fighting with extraordinary valour and selflessness during wartime. ’45 for Valour’ marks the anniversary of the beginning and the end of World War I.


There is also a Limerick connection. Although the majority of the forty-five soldiers were awarded their medals posthumously, two of the Victoria Cross recipients include Limerick born stretcher-bearer Private Michael James O’Rourke who survived the war and died on 6th December 1957 at the age of sixty-nine. Private Henry Edward Kenny was born to Limerick parents in England and died on 6th May 1979 at the age of ninety.


The American humanitarian and educator Moina Michael first introduced the idea of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance by selling silk poppies as a means of raising funds for Veterans of War in the United States following their homecoming from WW1. In 1921, her efforts resulted in the poppy being adopted as a symbol of remembrance for war veterans by the American Legion Auxiliary, and by Earl Haig‘s British Legion Appeal Fund (later the Royal British Legion) later that year.


For further information about the artist visit

Newly Discovered Papers Shed Light on Limerick during Tudor Times

Limerick Civic Trust has presented a cache of previously unseen historical papers relating to Limerick to The Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick on behalf of the Pery Family.

The recently discovered papers provide rich insight into the social, political and economical landscape of Limerick City and County from the 1500’s to 1800’s.

The papers were discovered by Sylvia Countess of Limerick in Sussex recently. They had been put aside by her father-in-law in 1962 after he had presented other papers of historical importance to the National Library.

While much of the papers document the life and times of the Pery family which has links with Limerick going back to the early 17th century, they also provide context and evidence to many of the military actions during that time. Two volumes of handwritten correspondence between Edmund Sexten, who was Mayor of Limerick in 1535, and the authorities in Dublin and London provide a wealth of information about the activities of prominent families like the Sextens, Thomonds, O’Briens and Fitzgeralds. A forbear of the Pery’s, Edmund Sexten became the representative of the Tudor monarch and a major local beneficiary of the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538.

The newly discovered material includes:

  • Transcripts made by Edmond Sexten the younger (1594-1636) of correspondence by his grandfather who was Mayor of Limerick in 1535
  • Historical notices of the Sexten family and the city of Limerick from 1600’s
  • Abstracts and copies of records relating to the Sexten, Casey and Stackpoole families from late 1600’s
  • Book concerning County Limerick circa 1638
  • Edmund Pery’s Account and Commonplace book from 1671-1729
  • Tenement Valuation of the Estate of the Earl of Limerick in Counties Limerick, Cork and Clare in 1884


The Account and Commonplace book of Colonel Edmund Pery from 1671 and 1681 provides more amusing insights into the daily concerns of that time. It includes a lengthy section on how to look after your horse and recipes and tips on how to get curly hair, get rid of unwanted hair, make cucumbers last the winter and keep wine fresh.

The Glucksman Library at University of Limerick will now archive and digitize the papers so that they are available to the public.

On presenting the papers to the Glucksman Library, Edmund Pery, the Earl or Limerick, said, “We felt it was important that these papers are made available, at no cost, to anyone who has an interest in them and hope they support the research and work of historians and students. The Glucksman Library is the most obvious place to look after them given they are 100% about the city and county of Limerick. I would like to thank the Limerick Civic Trust for their encouragement and facilitation in bringing them back to where they belong.”

Gobnait O’Riordan, Director, Glucksman Library, said, “The Glucksman Library is delighted to receive these early manuscript records of the Pery family in Ireland from the Earl of Limerick and his family. It is our intention to catalogue and digitise the material. It will then be made available to all researchers in the UL Digital Library in an open access environment. The University of Limerick is grateful to the Pery family and to the Limerick Civic Trust for bringing these manuscripts to Limerick”

Limerick Civic Trust has a long-standing relationship with the Glucksman Library and previously presented its Oral History Archive to the Library in 2015.

David O’Brien, CEO, Limerick Civic Trust, said “As part of our mandate to create a better understanding of our heritage,we carry out a lot of research on unpublished material. These papers are fascinating and provide another layer to Limerick’s rich and colourful past.  We’re thrilled that they are going to the Glucksman Library to be protected, preserved and made accessible to everyone.”


The highlights of the collection are:

Manuscript 1

The manuscript comprises primarily transcripts made by Edmond Sexten the younger (1594-1636) of letters and petitions (mostly in English, with some items in part or fully in Latin), which his grandfather Edmond Sexten the elder (1486-1555) had collected in order to defend himself against allegations that ‘my seruice to the kinge majestie is deemed … not to be such as did deserue the bountifull remuneration of his heighnes unto me’ and to prove that ‘my seruice was freely doone without receauinge wages or hire of the king majestie as others dothe’.  (As a background note, Edmond Sexten the elder held the office of Mayor of Limerick in 1535 and was the first mayor of native Irish extraction

Manuscript 3

Abstracts & Copys of Records, Relative to the Sexten, Casey, & Stackpole Familys.’  The manuscript comprises abstracts and copies of seventeen documents relating to the Sexten family; eight relating to the Casey family; and two to the Stackpole family. The earliest reference is to the 16th century

Manuscript 4

Account and commonplace book of 172 pages, bound in coarse leather, kept and compiled by Colonel Edmund Pery (d. 1721) between 1671 and 1681.  The first part of the book contains brief memoranda of financial transactions, mainly monies lent to and borrowed from various individuals. In addition to accounts, the book contains ‘A Collection of Several things fit to be knowne’.  These include notes on weights and measures; a list of foreign coins and their value in pounds, shillings and pence; various conversion tables; and a list of the countries of the known world and their acreage.  There are several pages of explanations of terms of scientific nature, particularly relating to geography, topography, astronomy, physics, and mathematics.

Manuscript 7

Hardcover tenement valuation book with index of the estate of the Earl of Limerick for counties Limerick, Cork and Clare, dated 8 August 1884.  The right hand pages have been numbered consecutively from 1 to 147, while the left-hand pages bear no pagination.   The entries have been arranged first by county and then by ward or townland, as follows.  For County Limerick: Abbey Ward; Castle Ward; Custom House Ward; Dock Ward; Market Ward; Shannon Ward; Glentworth Ward; Irishtown Ward; South Suburb Ward; and Knockainy.  For County Clare: Kilkishen; Cloontra; Cloghera; and Quin.  For County Cork: Kilmacleine; Ballyclogh; Mallow; Blackrock Ward; Caherduggan; and Bawncross.



Attorney General Guest Speaker at Christmas Business Lunch

The Attorney General, Seamus Woulfe, will be the guest speaker at our hugely popular festive business lunch.

This lunch always provides a great setting to entertain clients and network. Places are limited, so please book before it’s too late.

Date: Friday 7th December
Venue: No.1 Pery Square Hotel, Limerick
Time: 12.30 – 14.30
Tickets: €60

Get your tickets now online or by calling 061 313399

About the Speaker

Seamus Woulfe S.C., Attorney General, was awarded a BA (Mod) (Legal Science) from Trinity College Dublin in 1984. He then obtained an LLM Degree from Dalhousie University in Canada in 1986. In 1987, he was awarded the Barrister-at-Law degree from the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, Dublin and began practising at the Bar in October 1987. He was a part-time Lecturer in Law at Trinity College Dublin from 1987 to 1992, and was called to the Inner Bar in March 2005. His practice was of a general nature, mainly in the area of civil, public and commercial law. He also acted as Legal Assessor for regulatory bodies such as the Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Board, the Pharmaceutical Society and the Teaching Council of Ireland, among others. He continued practise as a Senior Counsel from 2005 until his appointment as Attorney General on 14 June 2017.


Book Tickets Online

Paving Stone to Honour Limerick WW1 Hero

A special paving stone will be laid in Limerick to commemorate Michael James O’Rourke, a Limerick man who received a Victoria Cross for his efforts in World War 1.  Limerick Civic Trust presented the VC Paver to the Mayor [today] at a special reception in St Munchin’s Church, King’s Island just a few days in advance of the centenary of Armistice Day.

Private Michael James O’Rourke, who in his early adult life moved to British Columbia, Canada, was awarded the Victoria Cross and Military Medal for extreme acts of valour whilst serving with the Columbian Regiment, Canadian Infantry in WW1.

A quote from his VC Citation states:

“During the period 15/17 August 1917 at Hill 70 near Lens, France, Private O’Rourke, who was a stretcher bearer, worked unceasingly for three days and nights bringing in the wounded, dressing their wounds and bringing them food and water. During the whole of this period the area in which he worked was swept by heavy machine-gun and rifle fire and on several occasions, he was knocked down and partially buried by enemy shells. His courage and devotion carrying out his rescue work in spite of exhaustion and incessant heavy fire inspired all ranks and undoubtedly saved many lives.”

Unlike many holders of the VC, Michael survived the war and settled in Vancouver British Columbia.

Over the last four years, the specially-commissioned stones have been laid at the birth places of Victoria Cross recipients. Every Irish-born soldier who won a Victoria Cross in the First World War is to have a paving stone erected in their honour. Michael was the only recipient from Limerick.

The VC Paver was officially received into the City by The Mayor of Limerick City and Council, Cllr James Collins, followed by a Dedication Ceremony and Act of Remembrance.  The official reception, hosted by Limerick Civic Trust, was attended by members of the 12th Battalion from Sarsfield Barracks, the Limerick branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) and representatives from Limerick City and County Council.

David O’Brien, Limerick Civic Trust, said, “I would like to acknowledge the trojan efforts of Brian Duffy, Chairman of the RBL for ensuring the delivery of the VC Paver. Michael O’Rourke was an extraordinary man who displayed incredible courage and bravery in a war that has affected all our lives today.  The sacrifice he made deserves to be honoured and it is only fitting to have a VC Paver installed in the hometown of his birth and upbringing so he can be remembered.

The Mayor of Limerick, James Collins, said, “It is an honour to pay tribute to the bravery and valour of Michael O’Rourke and at the same time recognise how the war impacted him afterwards. It is important that we recognise our history in Limerick. Sometimes, we’re so busy looking forward, we forget to look back at how we got here. We forget those who have gone before us, the sacrifices they’ve made and their bravery.  I would like to congratulate the Royal British Legion for securing the paver. It is an honour he richly deserves.”

The location of where the VC Paver will be laid has yet to be decided.

Photographs of the reception can be found here

More details about Michael James O’Rourke can be found here