WATCH: Museum in a Garden to breathe new life into Limerick following official opening

AN exciting new public space in the heart of Limerick city centre has been officially opened this evening.

Museum in a Garden takes the Hunt Museum outside its walls to create a public urban garden in the heart of Limerick. The concept behind the garden, which was first mooted in 2015, is to break down barriers to culture and art and encourage greater engagement with the community.

The garden, at the rear of the museum, was was first opened as a public space in 2016 and last year the railings around its green space were removed to create the Museum in a Garden.

Conceived as an outdoor extension to the museum, the garden will feature seven super-sized sculptures replicating artefacts from the museum.

First to be installed is Olmec Man, a Mexican artefact that was digitised by TY students and made into a two-metre outdoor replica using 3D printing technologies with help from ESB, Arup, the Limerick School of Art & Design and

The river-reflecting sensory garden was designed by Nicola Haines and includes a community garden, a garden chess set, boules and 'hills' for children to roll down.

There are also a number of custom-designed benches and personalised cobbles also feature at various locations thanks to the support of a public fundraising campaign.

Speaking at the official opening this Thursday evening, Jill Cousins, Director of The Hunt Museum, said: “By allowing our objects to escape the museum walls, we hope to intrigue and entertain many more people.  It is a work in progress and over the next six months more sculptures will take up residence outside as we hold events in this brand new and exciting space."

Chairman of the Hunt Museum, John Moran, said he's delighted that the garden has come to fruition.

“Great public spaces are where communities come together and barriers and feeling of isolation disappear. Ever since I took over as Chair it has been my ambition to see this formerly somewhat unloved and railed-off space become a true open public space for all the residents of Limerick.  My own family was delighted to support this project with a donation to fund the creation of a community garden in memory of my dad, Sean Moran, a builder who loved the river and devoted many years restoring some of Limerick’s old buildings," he said.

The outgoing Mayor of the city and county ofLimerick, Cllr Michael Collins, officially opened the Museum in a Garden at a small outdoor launch event.

“I would like to congratulate the team at the Hunt Museum and everyone who supported this wonderful initiative. Placing culture at the heart of a city’s regeneration gives it a depth of meaning and engages local pride. Museum in a Garden provides a new experience where people can connect with the outdoors while encountering works of art. It will greatly enhance the attractiveness of Limerick as a tourist destination,” he said.

Biologist and Environmental Consultant Eanna Ní Lamhna was a guest speaker at the event.

“Gardens were originally designed as havens from the outside world. This is indeed a haven and as well as that it is also an extension of the world of the museum. The world of nature is all around and the natural environment of the river is incorporated too. This is a feast, not only for the eye, but also beautiful smells and sounds from the wind to insects and even birds. Take it all in, relax and let the calmness sweep over you,” she said.

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