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.

Autumn Lecture Series 2017

The Limerick Civic Trust is delighted to be bringing back its Autumn Lecture Series this September which will take place in the unique setting of St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick.

The event is in conjunction with the Kemmy Business School, Limerick Institute of Technology, The Irish Examiner and supported by Limerick City & County Council. It is a six-part series of public lectures to be delivered by internationally renowned commentators and thought leaders in their field. The opening lecture is booked for the 14th of September and will be followed by a series of lectures over the following Thursday evenings.  This year we have confirmed the following speakers for the series:

14th September – Speaker: Stephen Green, former chair of HSBC – moderator Quentin Peel

21st September – Speaker: Shaykh Dr. Umar Al-Qadri, Chair Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council (IMPIC) – moderator Professor John O’Brennan

28th September – Speaker: Jodie Ginsberg, Index on Censorship – moderator Patrick Comerford

5th October – Speaker: Simon Carswell, Irish Times – moderator Dr. Michele O’Dwyer

12th October – Speaker: Ian Ritchie, International Architect – moderator Prof. Vincent Cunnane

19th October – Speaker: Roger Madelin, International Regeneration Architect – moderator Dr. Philip O’Regan

You can find further information on each lecture and speaker here

This year proceeds from the series will go towards the restoration works on St. Munchin’s Church with the aim to open the church as a museum by summer 2018.

Tickets can be purchased through www.eventbright.ie and will also be available on the door.

For further information please contact allison@limerickcivictrust.ie or call 061-313399

Thank you to our event and lecture sponsors:

Event Sponsors:




Lecture Sponsors:

UL President Calls on Limerick to Support University

Dr Desmond Fitzgerald, the newly appointed president of University of Limerick, spoke of his ambitions for the University at the Limerick Civic Trust’s May business lunch and called on the City to support the University.

Over 80 business people attended the event which took place at No.1 Pery Square to hear the internationally renowned academic.

During his first public address in Limerick since he was announced as incoming president, Dr Fitzgerald set out his vision for the University noting that it has been “a power house in terms of its impact on the economic, social and cultural development of the region”. He commented on the movement 40 years ago to put a university here and said “we need that spirit again so the University can move forward in challenging times.

He also noted that the University of Limerick has supported the rejuvenation of Limerick in recent years and “now the city needs to support the university. A great city needs a great University.(more…)

Kemmy Painting Presented to Kemmy Business School

Limerick Civic Trust commissioned a painting of Jim Kemmy, the former mayor of Limerick, for the Kemmy Business School (KBS) at University of Limerick which was named in his memory.

The powerful portrait, painted by Limerick Civic Trust’s in-house artist Marjorie Daly, was unveiled by Jan O’Sullivan, T.D. at a special ceremony with Dr Philip O’Regan, Dean of KBS.  Amongst the guests were family and friends of the late Jim Kemmy, the artist and the Labour party.

The new painting now hangs outside the Dean’s office.

UL-Kemmy-Portrait-045a-webFollowing the presentation, David O’Brien, CEO of Limerick Civic Trust, said, “Limerick Civic Trust and UL have collaborated on a number of projects over the years and on a visit to the KBS last year I noticed a gap! This painting will hang at eye level and afford passers-by the chance to get up close with big Jim. We are delighted that Marjorie has done such a wonderful job. Jim Kemmy was a champion for Limerick and social justice – it seems fitting that he takes pride of place in a business school carrying his name which prides itself on having the credentials for business ethics and community spirit.”

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.

End of Year Reflection

On behalf of the management and staff of Limerick Civic Trust, I would like to wish all our members, friends, associates and supporters the very best for Christmas and the New Year.

We are particularly pleased with the positive feedback from our recent events, especially the Christmas Lunch, and the discussions that have followed. Central to these discussions is the future of the historic fabric of the city and county and how we might better engage with the public, business professionals, the state and its officials. We intend to build on this in 2017 through a variety of conduits and we will keep you posted on progress.

In addition to our ongoing efforts to clean our city’s streets, restore key sites and improve river walks, graveyards and public spaces, we are aiming for 2017 to be a year of growth and development. The core remit of the Trust is the conservation of our heritage, in all its many guises, and the protection of our environment through civic pride. More than ever, we require external support to help us realise these goals. So next year we will be increasing our membership drive and actively seeking public and private assistance.

There are over seventy people involved in the delivery of the Trusts ambitions and I would like to thank each and every one of them for their invaluable contributions. Whether they were involved in the restoration of the church at Mount Saint Lawrence, the maintenance and cleaning of the canal, the graveyards, or working in Bishop’s Palace and supporting the changes, their assistance and hard work helped us promote the good name of the Limerick Civic Trust. Last, but not least, there is the board, who give so much of their time and effort to guide and support the management of the Trust under the leadership of our Chairman, Brian McLoghlin.

Every best wish for Christmas and the New Year and we look forward to being in touch more regularly over the course of 2017.


P.S.: Please click here to see the gallery of photographs taken at the Christmas Business Lunch.

Mass clean up of Limerick’s Cemeteries

Over 40 staff from Limerick Civic Trust are in the midst of a giant clean-up of five Limerick cemeteries. Mount St Laurence, Mount St Oliver, St Patrick’s, St John’s and St Michael’s will all be cleared of rubbish, leaves and debris in preparation for Christmas.

The clean-up is part of ongoing maintenance work by Limerick Civic Trust at the various cemeteries throughout the year with the support of Limerick City & County Council. In the last two years, staff at the Trust have restored and repaired 50 graves and tended to over 150 graves in Mount Saint Lawrence. They have also been involved with the restoration of the Mortuary Chapel at the graveyard.

David O’Brien, CEO, Limerick Civic Trust said, “The team do tremendous work throughout the year maintaining the graveyards. This end of year giant clean-up ensures that the various cemeteries are presented well and in good order in the run up to Christmas when so many visitors are expected. I would like to thank the team for all their hard work, the supervisors for organising the days and the Limerick City & County Council for their support.”