Thomas Wallace O’Donnell Appointed Chair of Limerick Civic Trust

 

16 July 2018:  Three new appointments have been made to the board of Limerick Civic Trust.  Thomas Wallace O’Donnell, a practising barrister, has been appointed Chair of the voluntary organisation for the next two years.  Alec Gabbett, Leahy & Partners Solicitors, has been appointed Vice-Chair and John Leonard from Grant Thornton has been appointed chair of the Finance Committee.

Speaking about his aspirations for the new role, Mr Wallace O’Donnell said, “There are two particular projects that I am keen to see delivered. The first is getting the Military Museum at St Munchin’s up and running and developing it into a functioning civic space beyond that.”

Limerick Civic Trust is currently converting St Munchin’s Church, a deconsecrated church which was built in 1827 on King’s Island, Limerick, into a Military Museum.  When the conversion to a museum is complete, the Trust plans to exhibit two important military collections already in its care – the Carrol Collection, which is currently housed in Trust’s headquarters at Bishop’s Palace, and the Armstrong collection.

The Trust is aiming to open the museum by the tourist season in 2019; however, progress has been slow due to lack of funds.  Earlier this year they launched a campaign to help raise €350,000 to complete the conversion.

“Our campaign for donations of artefacts and memorabilia of Irish historical significance from abroad has enjoyed relative success; however our campaign to attract financial donations needs some impetus. People think we are an extension of the council but we’re not. We are our own entity – a voluntary organisation funding our work through membership, a few corporate sponsorships and the ongoing support and goodwill of Limerick City & County Council and other public entities.   We need to engage more with Corporate Limerick and seek their support if we are to open the museum in 2019 and complete other worthwhile projects.”

“This is not just about hand-outs and quick fixes.  The projects we embark on make a real difference to our region. For instance, the military museum will become a unique visitor attraction that will greatly enhance the tourist offering in Limerick’s medieval quarter as well as benefiting the local economy and community. As an organisation we are prepared to step up to the plate and play an active and leading role in the conservation and preservation of our unique heritage but we need support from industry and the tourism sector to secure the maximum social, economic and environmental benefits from our efforts,” Wallace-O’Donnell continued.

The second priority for Wallace-O’Donnell is the erection of a memorial wall to commemorate the Limerick people who died in the Great War – a project that is being driven by Limerick Civic Trust in association with EML architects and others.

“It’s a shame we haven’t managed to get agreement from the local authority on a suitable site yet in Limerick, especially as we have such strong military pedigree. Places such as Midleton, Ballina and Woodenbridge – even Kilkenny this weekend – have managed to undertake similar projects with great success and if we are blocked from having this very important project completed by the time the centenary commemorations are over it would be most unfortunate and a missed opportunity.  We are fully behind it and ready to go, we just need the support of the local authority and I’m hopeful we will get it,” he said.

As one of the youngest members of the board of the Civic Trust, the new chair is also keen to encourage younger people  to get involved with civic society through the Trust but realises it will be a challenge.

Wallace-O’Donnell explains, “There seems to be a notable decline in young people getting involved with civic groups or group organisations nationwide but I’m keen to turn this around for the Trust. We know that anyone who does get involved has a deeper appreciation of their surroundings as they have a vested interest in them. Instead of looking down at the pavement or at their phones we want the younger generation to look up and at the buildings and environment around them, appreciate them more and realise that they are the custodians of our heritage. It has been handed to them to preserve for future generations.”

Limerick Civic Trust undertakes built and environmental projects that make places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive.  Whether it’s improving or maintaining a graveyard, monument, 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.

 

ENDS

People’s Park Information Panels Refurbished

Limerick Civic Trust has updated and refurbished two information panels in People’s Park. The two information panels, one near the Limerick City Gallery of Art entrance and the other by the Pery Gates on Upper Mallow Street, provide information on the history of the park and what can be found in it.

The original panels were in need of updating as they pointed to a number of trees which were lost during Storm Darwin in 2014. Limerick Civic Trust worked with Michael Sheehan and his team of park rangers to identify and catalogue over 120 trees in People’s Park.  Instead of replacing like with like, the Trust used the opportunity to enhance the information panels visually and update the historical information on the panels pertaining to the Pery family who has contributed to the public park since the 1870’s.

The information panels are now available for everyone to see and discover more about the Park.

Commemoration for Viscount Glentworth Held at St Mary’s Cathedral Propeller Presented to Limerick Civic Trust

The centenary of the death of Viscount Glentworth was commemorated at St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday 8th April 2018. Originally from Pallaskenry, he died when his plane was shot down during World War 1.

At the commemoration, a wooden propeller fashioned into a cross was presented by the Pery family, who have strong ties to Limerick, to the Limerick Civic Trust. The propeller will be put on display in a new military museum which Limerick Civic Trust is hoping to open next year.

Among the Pery family in attendance were Sylvia Countess of Limerick CBE and her son, Edmund, 7th Earl of Limerick, who are both patrons of Limerick Civic Trust.

Edmond Claude de Vere Pery, Viscount Glentworth was raised at Dromore Castle, Pallaskenry. He served in World War I as a soldier and airman and died in 1918 aged 23, shot down over the Western Front in France. 

His sister Lady Victoria Pery who was a distinguished aviatrix in her own right died in 1919 of the Spanish Flu. Both are commemorated on the rood screen erected in their honour in the Cathedral.

Speaking at the presentation, David O’Brien, CEO, Limerick Civic Trust said “We are extremely grateful to the Perry Family for this donation. The propeller will be a fantastic addition to the artefacts we are gathering for our museum project at St Munchin’s Church that will help tell Limerick’s military history, in all its guises, from the time of the Siege of Limerick right up to the world war.”

“Our campaign to gather other unique artefacts with a strong Limerick connection is gathering momentum and we are delighted to announce that we are due to receive some documents relating to the structure of the city which we will be making available to UL’s Glucksman Library for research and documentation,” he concluded.

Fundraising Campaign for New Military Museum Launched

Limerick Civic Trust Seeks €350,000 to ‘Open Doors’ by 2019 Tourism Season

Limerick Civic Trust has launched a campaign to help raise €350,000 so it can complete the conversion of St Munchin’s Church, a deconsecrated church, into a Military Museum.

The Trust began restoring the historically important St. Munchin’s Church and converting it into a museum in 2016. Work completed to date has been funded through the Trust’s own funds but this pot is almost completely expended.

David O’Brien, CEO, Limerick Civic Trust explained, “We are happy with our progress to date but it has been slow and piecemeal because of the lack of funds, we need financial support if we are to open this museum by our target date of 2019. As with all large historic building projects, the conversion is costly and Limerick Civic Trust, as a voluntary organisation, is dependent on external support.”

“All donations, however large or small, will help us achieve our target of opening next year. Whether it is a €20, €200 or €2,000 donation, personal, corporate or philanthropic, all will be gratefully received and personally acknowledged. Alternatively, individuals or corporate organisations can support our efforts by becoming members of the Trust or we have a number of corporate donation options available too,” he continued.

The “Open Doors” campaign goal is to raise €350,000. This will allow Limerick Civic Trust to speed up the conservation work and to specifically improve accessibility, make minor roof repairs, install a new floor and bathrooms and fit out an appropriate controlled environmental system for the safeguarding of the collections.

“The question is, ‘Does Limerick need a military museum?’ and I think overwhelmingly the answer is, ‘yes’, for two reasons,” said Brian McLoghlin, Chairman, Limerick Civic Trust. “Firstly, the military history of Limerick from the time of the Siege of Limerick right up to the world war needs to be properly recorded and told. Secondly, this will become a unique visitor attraction that will greatly enhance the tourist offering in Limerick’s medieval quarter.”

The Museum, which will be non-political, will commemorate the regiments of Limerick since the Siege in 1691 and provide a home for three historically significant collections; the Armstrong Collection, the Carrol Collection and the Patrick Casey Collection.

The Armstrong Collection is a vast collection of memorabilia from the Armstrong Family in Co. Tipperary that includes military artefacts going back as far as the Boer War. Artefacts include a coach from the mid 1900’s, uniforms, medals, helmets along with correspondence from the decorated hero, Paddy Armstrong, in the form of postcards and old photographs.

The Carrol Collection, which is currently housed in the Trust’s headquarters at Bishop’s Palace, is a very important exhibition bringing together the military memorabilia and family heirlooms collected by five generations of the Carrol Family starting with Major General William Parker Carrol. It includes paintings, swords, photographs, trophies, maps, military decorations and personal family documents relating to the Peninsular campaign, the Boer War and both World Wars.

To expand on the museum’s offering Limerick Civic Trust is working with several interested parties on the repatriation of other artefacts of Irish historical significance from abroad back to Ireland, just like the Bannatyne staircase – a World War 1 memorial that has been donated by Cotswold’s District Council in the UK recently. The Bannatyne staircase will be installed in the museum.

Since the early 1990’s, Limerick Civic Trust has been entrusted to take care of St. Munchin’s Church and graveyard on King’s Island. This now deconsecrated church was once home a 6th Century monk who was a contemporary of St. Patrick. A newer church replaced a crumbling oratory in 1827 and was designed by the Pain Brothers. Up until recently, Limerick Civic Trust used this space as a training centre and a hub where local groups could use the space to launch art exhibitions and the like.

While primarily a visitor attraction centre, the museum will be developed as an historical and educational resource for the local community and schools. Specific educational outreach programmes will be developed so students can learn more about their local history through a hands-on learning experience.

Donations can be made via www.limerickcivictrust.ie or by contacting David O’Brien at 061-313399

Help us Restore St Munchin’s Church

We are currently restoring the historically important St. Munchin’s Church and converting it into a museum. The aim is to use the church as a Local Military Museum commemorating the regiments of Limerick since the siege in 1691 to today. This project will provide a home for two very historically significant collections. We are happy with our progress to date but we need financial support if we are to open this museum by our target date of 2019.

We need your support to continue

Since the early 1990’s, Limerick Civic Trust was entrusted to take care of St. Munchin’s Church and graveyard on King’s Island. This now deconsecrated church was once home to the 6th Century monk who was a contemporary of St. Patrick. A newer church replaced a crumbling oratory in 1827 and was designed by the Pain Brothers. Up until recently, Limerick Civic Trust used this space as a training centre and a hub where local groups could use the space to launch art exhibitions and the like.

When the conversion to a museum is complete, we will exhibit the Armstrong military collection as well as the Carrol Collection, which is currently housed in our headquarters at Bishop’s Palace. To expand the museum’s offering, we are also working with several interested parties on the repatriation of other artefacts of Irish historical significance from abroad back to Ireland, just like the Bannatyne staircase – a World War 1 memorial that has been donated by Cotswold’s District Council in the UK.

Brian McLoghlin, Chair of Limerick Civic Trust, explains, “Our vision for the museum is to tell the military history of Limerick from the time of the Siege of Limerick forward. The siege was the last stand of a great European war and Limerick’s part hasn’t been properly recorded.

The opening of St Munchin’s Church as a museum and visitor attraction centre will greatly enhance our medieval quarter offering. It will be a place for tourists but also something new for local residents and schools to learn more about their local history through a hands-on learning experience.”

As with all large historic building projects, the conversion is costly and Limerick Civic Trust is dependent on external support. All donations, however large or small, will helps us achieve our target of opening next year. Whether it is a €20, €200 or €2000 donation, personal, corporate or philanthropic, all are gratefully received and will be personally acknowledged. 

Likewise, if you wish to make a larger donation or if you might know of others that would like to support the project in a broader capacity or alliance, we would be delighted to engage.

Click here to make a donation
Or contact [email protected] to find out more

 

Historic ‘Bannatyne’ Staircase Gifted to Limerick Civic Trust

Cotswold District Council (CDC) will fund the removal of an historic oak staircase from the Cotswold’s Old Memorial Hospital and transfer it to the custodianship of the Limerick Civic Trust.

The staircase – which is regarded as an official war memorial – was originally donated to the hospital by the Limerick-based family of Major Edgar James Bannatyne, who was a member of the Royal Flying Corps during World War 1 and died at Rendcomb airfield in the Cotswolds in 1917.

The Old Memorial Hospital is being demolished and the Cotswold District Council wanted to ensure that the staircase was preserved for posterity. The line of the family has now died out but they are remembered as leading merchants who helped to bring prosperity to Limerick.

Limerick Civic Trust will honour the memory of the Bannatyne’s by installing the staircase into St Munchin’s Church on Church Street in King’s Island, which contains a number of graves and monuments commemorating the Bannatyne family. The Trust is currently converting the Church into a Military Museum.

David O’Brien, CEO, Limerick Civic Trust, said “We are very grateful that Cotswold District Council has agreed to give us custodianship of this historic staircase. For over 30 years Limerick Civic Trust has been involved with the conservation and preservation of our heritage, so we very much appreciate the origins and story behind the Bannatyne staircase. We are delighted to be able to provide a very fitting home for the staircase in St Munchin’s Church which we are currently converting into a museum, allowing us to ensure this unique war memorial will be open to the public.”

St Munchin’s Church was built in 1827 and was renovated in 1980 by Limerick Civic Trust.  When the conversion to a museum is complete, the Trust plans to exhibit two military collections already in its care – the Carrol Collection, which is currently housed in Trust’s headquarters at Bishop’s Palace, and the Armstrong collection. To expand the museum’s offering, the voluntary organisation is working with several interested parties on the repatriation of other artefacts of Irish historical significance from the UK back to Ireland, just like the Bannatyne staircase.

David O’Brien explained,Our vision for the museum is to tell the military history of Limerick from the time of the Siege of Limerick forward. The siege was the last stand of a great European war and Limerick’s part hasn’t been properly recorded. The Carrol Collection gives us one vista into this colourful military history. This collection was gifted to the Limerick Civic Trust by June O’Carroll Robertson, a descendant of the Carrol’s of Tulla and Lissenhall in Co Tipperary. We believe there are other families in the UK who would consider donating items of historical interest with a connection to Limerick. Artefacts related to the military history of the region are of particular interest to us.

Cllr Nick Parsons, the Deputy Leader of CDC, comments:The Council will be demolishing the Old Memorial Hospital and we wanted to ensure that this magnificent staircase was preserved for posterity.  Placing it in storage would have deprived the public of a magnificent war memorial and we are very pleased that it will now be on display on the grounds of the Bannatyne family crypt in Ireland. The fact that we are marking the centenary of the end of World War I this year brings extra significance to this agreement.

From a financial viewpoint it would have cost a substantial amount of money per year to keep the staircase in storage so the cost of transferring it to Ireland for public display represents very good value for money for taxpayers,” Cllr Parsons concluded.

The significance of the donation was welcomed by Lord Limerick, a patron of the Trust, who penned a Limerick especially to mark the occasion:

The bells of St Munchin will chime.
They’ll peal out their message in rhyme:
That Limerick cares
For Bannatyne stairs.
And they’ll ring it one rung at a time.

Edmund Limerick

A spokesperson for CDC added, “We are very pleased to have strengthened ties between our Council and the people of Limerick, and we very much hope that the staircase will prove to be a very successful addition to the war memorial being assembled at St Munchin’s Church.

Mr. O’Brien concluded, “It was a pleasure to work with Cotswold District Council and their representatives; their professionalism is an example for others to follow. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to make sure projects like this come to fruition so I would like to thank everyone on our Museum Board, Collections Committee and Historical Committee for their unwavering support.

Army of Heroes Spend Over 50,000 Man-Hours on Environmental Projects in 2017

Limerick Civic Trust Seeks Support for Ambitious Heritage Plans for Limerick

David O’Brien, CEO, Limerick Civic Trust, hailed the Community Employment workers under the care of the Trust ‘an army of heroes’ as he confirmed they spent over 50,000 man-hours so far this year on improving the environment. He was speaking at the Trust’s annual Christmas Business Lunch in No.1 Pery Square, Limerick, where over 60 business people were in attendance.

Under the Community Employment Scheme, Limerick Civic Trust manages over 70 participants or trainees at any one time. Through on-the-job training, individuals are allowed the opportunity to improve their core skills, learn new skills and are exposed to constructive challenges of the work place. They are also assisted in finding long term employment.

Speaking about the work they have undertaken this year, David O’Brien said, “The CE scheme workers have dedicated over 50,000 man-hours so far this year on making places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive. They have cleaned our city’s streets, improved river walks, maintained graveyards and community gardens, restored city boundary markers and more. They are an army of heroes who’ve delivered on so many projects and we know that people in our communities benefit from them, enjoy them and value them.” (more…)

Autumn Lecture Series 2017 opening night with Stephen Green

Autumn Lecture Series 2017 opening night with Stephen Green

Former chair of HSBC, Stephen Green opened the first of  Limerick Civic Trust’s Autumn Lecture Series at St Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday, September 14. The opening lecture with Stephen Green was moderated by one of last years speakers Quentin Peel.

Moderator Quentin Peel and Stephen Green, Former Chair of HSBC. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

In the first of the Autumn Lecture Series, Stephen Green discussed “The European Identity – Historical and Cultural Realities We Cannot Deny.”

What–if anything–do the member states of the European Union have in common? Amidst all the variety, can one even speak of a European identity? Stephen Green explored these questions and argued for the necessity of the European voice in the international community.

The events are in conjunction with the Kemmy Business School, Limerick Institute of Technology, Limerick City and County Council and The Irish Examiner. It is a six-part series of public lectures to be delivered by internationally renowned commentators and thought-leaders in their field.

The six-part series of public lectures will examine many topical issues like the impact of Brexit, immigration, integration in multicultural societies, censorship and lots more.

Other speakers in the series include; chair of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council Shaykh Dr. Umar Al-Qadri, Jodie Ginsburg, CEO of Index on Censorship, Irish Times columnist Simon Carswell, international architect Ian Ritchie and international property develop Roger Madelin.

The lectures will run on Thursday evenings from September 14 to October 19 in St. Mary’s Cathedral. Lectures start at 8pm and admission is €12 or concessions €8 per lecture.

Proceeds from the series will be used by the Limerick Civic Trust for the restoration of St. Munchin’s Church in the heart of King’s Island.

Tickets are available at www.limerickcivictrust.ie/events or www.eventbrite.ie. Tickets are also available from The Limerick Civic Trust offices in the Bishop’s Palace, Church Street or on the door on each of the nights.