Donal Creaton, a leading Limerick solicitor, has recently appointed Chair of Limerick Civic Trust wants the voluntary organisation to play a bigger role in improving Limerick’s heritage and environment for its community, its citizens, visitors and tourists.
Speaking about his aspirations for the new role, Donal said, “My focus for the year ahead will be on attracting more contributing members and patrons so we have the financial support to embark and complete some of the very long lists of restoration and heritage improvement projects we have earmarked. In addition, I will be overseeing the development of stronger working and mutually beneficial relationships with partners and public bodies as we demonstrate our competency in delivering civil community projects.”
“There are hugely exciting and ambitious plans for Limerick in train at the moment and I believe Limerick Civic Trust has a key role in supporting the delivery of these. Already the projects we undertake serve to enhance the image of our city amongst our citizens and to boost tourism, such as our street cleaning campaigns, open spaces and cemetery maintenance, Canal bank pathways, restoration of key sites, erection of historical plaques, walking tours and so forth. The Trust has the ambition and potential to breathe new life into many more areas of our city and county.”
“Our headquarters at Bishop’s Palace marks the start of the so called ‘Royal Mile’ – one of the oldest transverse city routes from Thomond Bridge, down Nicholas Street, over Baals Bridge and on to John’s Square. This route has the potential to become a significant tourism trail. We have earmarked a number of projects and sites that we are eager to restore along this route in conjunction with our partners – but funding must come first.”
“As a voluntary organisation we are hugely indebted to the support and resources we have received through our corporate members, patrons and organisations like HOMS, the JP McManus Foundation and our third level institutions – TUS, UL & Mary Immaculate College along with private organistaions such as Careline, Litho-circuits, Mincon, Roches Feeds….. Their support has been invaluable. However, we need to encourage more support from the business community of Limerick and beyond if we are to continue on the delivery of our commitment to protect and enhance Limerick’s unique character and fabric,” he concluded.
Limerick Civic Trust undertakes projects that make places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive. Whether it’s improving or maintaining a graveyard, river 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.
Following the appointment, David O’Brien CEO LCT welcomed Donal into his new role and he wished him every success for his term of office. David went on to say how much he was looking forward to working with Donal in what promises to be a very interesting phase in the life of Limerick Civic Trust particularly as we approach our 40th year while planning for our 50th
About Donal Creaton:
Having arrived in Limerick in 1975 I found myself living on Father Russell Road, Dooradoyle, Limerick. My father Michael brought our family to the City, he having been working here since 1973 . From an early age, I always had an interest in architecture and history. As a young child, I had notions of becoming an archaeologist day dreaming of digging in the hot desert sands of Egypt and elsewhere! In primary school I would be teased about ancient Crete and the Cretans, as they would ask if I still had family there.
Limerick in 1975 was very run down and sad in comparison to now, so much has improved and in my view the potential for Limerick to be a great City at the centre of a thriving region spreading across the commuter belts of Clare, Tipperary, North Kerry and the very beautiful county of Limerick itself, is so much greater than it has been for 100’s of years and the question now is how we harness this potential.
National school at St. Paul’s, Dooradoyle, being the new kid, I avoided many of the normal distractions and listened and learnt. Listening was and is such an important aspect in all our lives and now more than ever, given the distractions of our age.
CBS, Sexton Street was next, my mother Bridie taught in the national school section- Scoil Iosagain. History was my subject, this is what I loved and the most important lesson I learnt from my history subject – he who does not know his history is doomed to repeat it.
It was Cork that I went to study the law and started my apprenticeship (now called traineeship) as a Solicitor in 1987. I had gone to UCC to get a degree that might have led to a career abroad, but the law certainly took me over, when I began to study it.
My career in law started as a trainee Solicitor in the eminent firm of Holmes O’Malley Sexton at 5 Pery Square, Limerick where I was an apprenticed to the late Gordon Holmes.
From the very first day of my traineeship, Holmes O` Malley Sexton LLP has provided me with great excitement, knowledge, interest and the tremendous experience of meeting and engaging with people from every part of society. It was in a small basement office in Pery Sq. that I started as an apprentice Solicitor, along with Robert and Harry, who are still with me today. You can probably imagine the fun had by three young men at that age.
Having commenced my traineeship in 1987, I qualified as a Solicitor in 1990 and I reached the position of Partner in 2000. There was and is a great culture of dignity and respect in the firm in all aspects of dealing with colleagues and clients, this is something very important to me and which I try every day to emphasise.
The early duties of an apprentice Solicitor included walking around the streets delivering letters to other solicitors and professionals. You get to know the streets well and you see first-hand the ever changing and developing streets, architecture and public realm, over some thirty-five years now.
This city’s rich history has only been scratched on the surface, when realising the potential of this city, with its uniquely manageable centre in terms of size. This city should be the jewel in the crown of Irish cities with its medieval, Georgian, Victorian and modern faces and there is only one Limerick at the heart of it.
Working and living as a student, in New York City taught me so much about city living and what local communities mean to the beating heart of a city. Whilst working in Manhattan in a residential apartment building, I got to know the small community of people living and working in the neighbourhood, the postman delivering letters, the nurse on the way to Lenox Hill Hospital and the policeman as he passed by on his daily patrol all became known to me, it was always “hi there” in NY.
Certainly, this small neighbourhood feel, in one of the biggest cities in the world, was a revelation to me. The memories of my time in New York have influenced my views on community development and outlook. You learn a can-do attitude with no challenge that is insurmountable.
Right here we have all the ingredients to make Limerick the best city and county anywhere. We as citizens need to take ownership of our community, give to the city and county, the love, and respect it deserves. It is our love and respect that the streets need, tender treatment for its buildings, love of the people, respecting each other and the modern day diversity of cultures adding to and enhancing our city.
When travelling out of town, many find themselves defending Limerick although less so in more recent times. Instead we need to put that defensiveness into positive actions and contribute to a city that speaks for itself. Wouldn’t it be great to make those defensive words redundant and we all know that the people of Limerick have an indomitable power to do so, if they choose it.
Sport has always been a passion of mine and I believe that life would be so much less without sport. Having played hurling and football up to age 21 with Mungret GAA and soccer with Regional FC and subsequently with the Limerick Solicitors’ Inter Firm Bar Association Team, this Inter Firm Team was certainly one of the best soccer teams I ever played on, with excellent players and some half-decent solicitors.
This Inter Firm Team provided the backbone of Irish team for the Lawyers’ World Cup played on the UL Campus and neighbouring grounds, in Limerick in 1996 and in which I was honoured to participate. Nowadays, having hung up the boots I am curtailed to cycling and golf – enough to keep up the spirits.
It really is great to see the ongoing investment in our city and county that seeks to improve the street structure/landscape and to see older buildings being restored and repurposed by private and public investors alike. How we look after our public spaces and how we make them attractive and useable to all, is a challenge. This is where our citizens need to get involved and adopt a piece of street structure, beside their business or their home, and make sure it represents our Limerick community to its best.
The Residents and business owners around California in the 70’s, were doing this to address the very significant litter issue there, by adopting a piece of street/highway outside their business or home and so brought about a game changer. The solution to many problems is not always new engineering, but only a change in mind-set.
To conclude, Limerick Civic Trust`s goals are – conservation and preservation, improving our environment together with education and research. There is a fountain of knowledge in this city and a deep interest in preserving the heritage of Limerick, both city and county, bringing it to life for the benefit of all and presenting Limerick in the best possible way. Who is to say that Limerick should not be voted in the near future as the best place to live in Ireland?
This to my mind is something we should naturally work together to achieve and in doing so, we find ourselves living in the best place in Ireland and who knows North West Europe!
It has been a great honour to work and support the Limerick Civic Trust; I have been Vice Chairman for two years and can only commend Patricia Roberts on how she skilfully navigated an international pandemic while always keeping a smile and a soft touch on the tiller. As Chairman of Limerick Civic Trust, it is my aspiration that we find ourselves once again leading the way in harnessing the love and pride that many of our citizens feel for this city and county.
Donal is a former past President of Limerick Solicitors’ Bar Association 2011/ 2012 and a former Board of Management Member of Scoil An Spioraid Naoimh, Roxborough. Donal is married to Mary, and they have two children Hugh and Ruth.