AFTER 155 years of being mounted in The Crescent, the city’s historic Daniel O’Connell monument has had a major facelift.
Limerick City Council’s environment department have invested some €12,000 on improving the monument, fountain and surrounding flowerbeds.
For the first time sprinklers have been installed in the fountain, which is now also light up at night in an underwater system.
Paul Foley, environment department at City Hall, said they are delighted with the very positive response they have received from the public after six weeks of work concluded last weekend.
“We wanted it to have more of a cosmopolitan feel,” said Mr Foley, of the only fountain in the city.
As part of the works, the mountain was cleaned extensively, and new paving was laid.
The underwater lighting has also a colour filter system, meaning that on key events, such as during Munster rugby games, the monument will be erected in red lighting, or in green when the Limerick football team is playing.
He said the investment in this historic part of Georgian Limerick ties in with the council’s initiative of supporting the Tidy Towns event, and Going for Gold, another local clean-up initiative supported by JP McManus.
“This is the main thoroughfare into the city and we also want to encourage people to keep their own communities today,” he said.
The bronze sculpture of Daniel O’Connell was erected in its current location in 1857 at a cost of £1,300, while the water fountain and plinth on which it stands was only introduced in 2000. Represented as a Roman in toga dress, it is positioned down towards O’Connell Street, the street named after him.
While people have been known to throw washing-up liquid into the fountain from time to time, with foam blowing out onto the road as a result, Mr Foley said the fountain is maintained at a moderate cost of several hundred euro a year. It has also become a favourite haunt for Spanish football fans in the city, with the Spanish flag repeatedly tied around Daniel O’Connell’s neck after major sporting wins.
Meanwhile, parks department superintendent, Michael Sheehan, said they have planted thousands of plants around the city over the summer, with many new varieties of flowers been planted this year. “While people may be complaining about the rain, it hasn’t done us any harm as is means we don’t need to water the displays as much compared to other years,” he said.