01 Jul 2022

New sundial and playground unveiled at Limerick beauty spot to mark summer solstice

New sundial and playground unveiled at Limerick beauty spot to mark summer solstice

Cllr Brigid Teefy, Kate Harrold, Artist Robert Ryan and Áine Barry at the unveiling ceremony

THE Mayor of the city and county of Limerick has unveiled a stone sundial sculpture to mark the official opening of unique lakeview playground at one of Limerick's top beauty spots.

It was appropriate that the opening of the Lough Gur Solstice Park Playground took place on the longest day of the year.

The playground, which is located just beside Lough Gur Visitor Centre, was designed specifically to capture the imagination of children and all who visit there though its connection to the Summer Solstice.

Along the retaining walls within the playground runs a hand painted mural inspired by the history of Lough Gur leading up to a pictorial representation of the planets and our Universe.

The impressive mural was painted by internationally renowned artist Robert Ryan who lives in the immediate area of Lough Gur.

“In our childhood, our imagination is most vibrant, and it is often at this time that the spark of our imagination is ignited in specific areas that stays with us for our lifetime,” said Robert at the opening ceremony.

The playground designer, Engineer Philip O’ Regan, designed the Lough Gur playground area in a way that  would help children to understand the importance of our environment in sustaining life. He also contributed to the design of the stone sculpture that was painstakingly crafted by artist Barry Wrafter.

The design brief was to create a stone sundial sculpture that was inspirational, safe and suitable for installation in a playground. The final design, sculpted from limestone, is eight planets, one on top of each other to form a gnomon or shadow caster time piece.

When the sun shines on the sculpture it hits at 9am, noon and 3pm on precise locations, teaching children about the rotation of the Earth, our place in this Universe, importance of protection our Environment and the power of our Sun.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Mayor Collins said: “As vast numbers re-discovered Lough Gur over the last year,
improvements to the area have ensured they will continue to return to what was once called a hidden gem. Lough Gur is no longer hidden; Lough Gur has come into full view under the Summer Solstice sun for all to see."

The playground construction was carried out by Conor Kelly Construction with landscaping services offered by O’Brien

LEADER funding was secured by Lough Gur Development and this was matched by the local authority.

Lough Gur Visitor Centre and Playground is open from 10am to 6pm, seven days a week.
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