County Limerick architecht to star at Bloom

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

An artists impression of the Bloom medieval garden
A BALLYORGAN architect will showcase Limerick’s rich medieval history at Bloom in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in June.

A BALLYORGAN architect will showcase Limerick’s rich medieval history at Bloom in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in June.

Ailish Drake, who now lives in Castleconnell, secured funding from City of Culture to design a garden to enter into the Bloom Festival, which is visited by thousands of people over the June Bank Holiday weekend.

The garden will feature castles, monasteries, and manor houses of the middle ages.

“I was looking at Limerick’s heritage. We have two distinct parts of the city, medieval Limerick and Georgian Limerick. I thought medieval Limerick would be a good thing to showcase, especially given King John’s Castle’s reopening last year.” Ailish explained.

Once the festival is over, plans are in place to transport the garden piece-by-piece back to Limerick.

A number of sites, including the fireplace site on Nicholas Street and Fanning’s Castle were considered.

But Ailish said they settled on a green space beside City Hall after the council’s environment department said they would be willing to keep the garden open as a free attraction.

“We looked at a number of sites within the medieval footprint. We spoke to the environment department at City Hall, and they were very keen about taking on the maintenance of the garden,” Ailish confirmed.

Speaking at a meeting of the sporting and cultural committee, Fine Gael city councillor Michael Hourigan said: “It has a very prestigious location in the Bloom festival, where 120,000 people will see it. This is a huge opportunity to bring it back to Limerick, and keep it as a legacy to our year as City of Culture.”

Fellow Fine Gael councillor Michael Sheahan, who also sits on the committee added: “This would be a lasting cultural and artistic footprint for Limerick.” Councillor Francis Foley, Fianna Fail said it is “only right and proper” the garden is returned to the city.

Meanwhile, there could be a second Limerick-inspired garden in Bloom this year.

Super Garden returned for a new series last Thursday on RTÉ One.

Five up and coming designers will compete to show their garden at this year’s festival.

Designer and bride-to-be Shirley Lazenby is creating a garden designed for the centre of Limerick.