The beautifully designed River Reflection Sensory Garden by Nicola Haines also includes a community garden, garden chess, boules and “hills” for the kids to roll around. Custom benches and personalized pavers are also in the spotlight thanks to the support of a public fundraising campaign.
Speaking at the official opening, Jill Cousins, Director of The Hunt Museum, said: “By allowing our artifacts to escape the walls of the museum, we hope to intrigue and entertain many more people.
“This is a work in progress and over the next six months more sculptures will be moving outside as we host events in this all new and exciting space. Everyone has been so generous with the Fund a Cobble and JP McManus Golf Pro Am campaign and our volunteers have been many and many.
“Museum in a garden belongs to all of us, to admire the sculptures, have a picnic, play chess, take care of the vegetables or simply sit still. ” she said.
Museum President John Moran said: “Large public spaces are where communities come together and where barriers and a sense of isolation break down. Since taking the Presidency, my ambition is to see this once somewhat unloved and barricaded space become a truly open public space for all residents of Limerick.
“My own family were delighted to support this project by donating to fund the creation of a community garden in memory of my father, Sean Moran, a builder who loved the river and devoted many years to restoring some of the old buildings in Limerick. he added.
The Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Michael Collins, officially opened the museum in a garden at a small launch event: “I want to congratulate the team at the Hunt Museum and all who have supported this wonderful initiative.
“Placing culture at the heart of a city’s regeneration gives it a deep meaning and engages local pride. Museum in a Garden offers a new experience where people can connect with the outdoors while encountering works of art. This will greatly enhance the attractiveness of Limerick as a tourist destination, ”he said.
Guest speaker at the official opening, Eanna Ní Lamhna, biologist and environmental consultant, said: “The gardens were originally designed as refuges from the outside world. It is indeed a haven of peace and in addition it is also an extension of the museum world.
“The natural world is all around and the natural environment of the river is also integrated. It is a feast not only for the eyes, but also for the beautiful smells and sounds of the wind to insects and even birds. Take it all, relax and let the calm take over you. she explained.
Community Influenced Sensory Garden Garden Design Descending down to the River Shannon, the Garden provides an oasis of calm in the city center. The garden design was awarded to Nicola Haines following a national competition where her innovative sensory garden design reflecting the river and influenced by the community won over the judges.
Explaining the concept behind the garden design, Nicola Haines, Tierney Haines Architects, said: Shelter alcoves for exhibition space, seating and games.
“Exhibition alcoves are planted to give a sense of the origin of the sculptures on display and provide semi-private seating, while larger spaces create opportunities for growth, learning, play and events. The garden will be an inclusive public garden space which we hope will be loved and used by the local community and visitors.
Built by the community for the community In the spirit of creating a public space, the Sean Moran Community Garden in the northeast part of the garden is where vegetables and flowers will be grown by community volunteers with several wheelchair accessible planters and a sensory garden.
“Several community groups participated in and will continue to support her performance, including St Mary’s Parish Men’s Shed, Doon Men’s Shed, Southill Men’s Shed as well as LMHA Le Cheile Men’s Group, Southill Women’s Group and local schools.
“By getting involved from the start, the volunteers developed an interest and a sense of pride in the garden project while learning new skills and connecting more with the museum.
Speaking on behalf of the groups involved in the development and maintenance of the Sean Moran Community Garden, Martina Shanahan, Limerick Mental Health Association (LMHA), said: “The LMHA Men’s Shed was delighted to be invited to maintain the garden; it allows us to have a safe place to meet and work outdoors in a beautiful setting. After Nicola shared her vision with the group, we knew it would provide a really nice common outdoor space for the Limerick community.
Jim Prior, Southill Family Resource Center, said: “We are thrilled and delighted to be a part of this project. The community garden will provide a space where the 15+ men’s sheds from the city and county can come and help with its upkeep and maintenance and provide networking opportunities between the shed projects. Everyone loved to get their hands on and do something for Limerick while getting to know each other and the Hunt Museum.