TWO UNIQUE artifacts from Limerick’s industrial history have been unveiled in the grounds of Limerick School of Art and Design.
The Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Jim Long, and Bord Gáis chairman Rose Hynes officially unveiled the artifacts, which have been painstakingly restored over the past 12 months in a joint venture by Bord Gáis and Limerick Civic Trust.
The roots of this project go back over nine years, since an eight ton cast iron gas meter, dating from 1880 and which operated at Limerick Gas Company’s Dock Road site for 95 years, was discovered at the site and given to the civic trust by the semi-state company.
The meter was stored in James O’Donnell’s yard and lovingly restored by the Limerick engineer in a project sponsored by Bord Gáis.
A steam-operated tar pump, which was a key element of the gas-making process, was also unveiled as part of the conservation project.
The Mayor of Limerick said the project was “turning back the clock on history with the unveiling of this artifact”, which he said was a “unique part of Limerick’s history”.
“This is a magnificent piece of our heritage and it is huge for the city,” said the mayor.
“We have again demonstrated how important the past is to us. This gives recognition to the people who made such a contribution to the city. It is right that we should recognise them and this is their landmark and this is what our city is all about,” he added.
The meter was used to measure the quantities of towns gas produced at the Dock Road gasworks for nearly a century and both John Barry, managing director and Rose Hynes, chairman of Bord Gáis, paid tribute to Limerick and its role both in the development of the company and of gas production in the city.
“This is very exciting for us, it is a brilliant collaboration between the company and the people of Limerick and Bord Gáis were keen to support it,” said Ms Hynes. “The meter is unique, probably the only one of its kind, so it is important that we restored it and kept it in a place where people can enjoy it.
“It ties into the past and the economic development of the city,” she added.
Jennifer Gabbet, chair of Limerick Civic Trust, said the project was a “great collaboration between the various bodies, including Limerick City Council, who funded the site works, and LIT, who provided the site on Clare Street.
“What you see here today is a permanent record of what was a huge contributor to the growth of the city,” she explained. “Hopefully all the people of Limerick will come and see it and enjoy it.”