Limerick Civic Trust ~ The First 25 Years

Re: Limerick Civic Trust ~ The First 25 Years

Postby Junior » Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:55 pm

This is a recent press release about two forthcoming publications they are launching



On Friday 20 November Limerick Civic Trust is presenting to the Mayor of Limerick, Limerick City Council and FÁS copies of a number of publications and research projects recently produced by the Trust.

The presentations mark the culmination of dedicated and intensive research undertaken by participants on the History and Folklore Project at Limerick Civic Trust.

The event will see the formal launch of an A1 sized map depicting Limerick as it appeared at the time of the Cromwellian siege of 1651. Superbly researched and designed by John Elliott, he has expertly brought to life Limerick as it would have appeared during that dramatic and fateful period in Irish history, complete with fortified strong points, medieval walls and earthen ramparts.

Designed principally as an educational aid for schools and libraries, the map is accompanied by a booklet describing the medieval architectural remnants of the city. Funding assistance for both map and booklet was generously provided by the Department of the Environment and the Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society.

On the same occasion there will also be the formal presentation of a photographic survey of Limerick City street art and artefacts undertaken by Eithne Deloughry O’Bryne, also a participant on the Trust’s History Project. Eithne’s visually attractive survey and accompanying research notes are an outstanding work of reference and the collection is available on DVD from the Civic Trust. .
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Re: Limerick Civic Trust ~ The First 25 Years

Postby CologneMike » Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:57 pm


30 November 2009

One of the founders of Limerick Civic Trust has died.

Denis Leonard died yesterday morning aged 62 following an illness.

He was the founding Director of the Trust, which aims to enhance the architectural heritage of Limerick through the renewal of historical buildings and cultural research.

It was Ireland's first Civic Trust, when it was formally established in February 1983.
Denis Leonard's final official duty was the re-opening of the Richard Russell Drinking Fountain in the People's Park earlier this month.

He is survived by his wife Deirdre and daughters Rachel, Sarah and Kate.

Speaking on a Live 95fm Limerick lives documentary earlier this year, the well-known architect Hugh Murray said Limerick owes a great deal to Denis Leonard and the Limerick Civic Trust:

Very sad news . . . .
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Re: Limerick Civic Trust ~ The First 25 Years

Postby CologneMike » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:56 pm

Improvement of our Environment by Positive Action ~ Denis Leonard
BishopsPalaceStainedGlass.JPG (255.66 KiB) Viewed 2614 times
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Re: Limerick Civic Trust ~ The First 25 Years

Postby Tuborg » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:22 am

Terribly sad news alright, an enormous loss to the city!

It's not an exaggeration to say that Limerick would be so much worse off had it not been for him, how much more of the citys heritage would have bee lost?

Hopefully his exceptional work can be carried on, especially his pet project, the Catherine Hayes house at 4 Patrick Street!
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Re: Limerick Civic Trust ~ The First 25 Years

Postby CologneMike » Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:46 pm

Tuborg wrote:. . . . an enormous loss to the city!

Indeed, lets hope the legacy of his work will continue. To go before ones time is very tragic, as one sensed that he had a lot of ideas in the pipeline that he wanted to realise for the city.

Irish Times Obituaries ~ Founder member of Limerick Civic Trust

DENIS LEONARD, who has died aged 62, was a founding member and executive director of the Limerick Civic Trust, in which capacity he oversaw many of the city’s biggest restoration projects.

One of the trust’s earliest projects was the restoration of the Jewish burial ground in Castletroy, which helped heal wounds of Limerick’s history and was described by the late Jewish mayor of Cork, Gerald Goldberg, as a “generous act of reconciliation”.

Other projects include the Bishop’s Palace on King’s Island and the restored Georgian House at Pery Square. The Bishop’s Palace won the national award for the best old building at the all-Ireland city neighbourhood awards in 2005.

Mayor of Limerick Kevin Kiely this week said the city had lost a man who “dedicated his life to preserving the city’s architectural environment and heritage”.

Dr Vincent Cunnane, chief executive of Shannon Development, said: “His work with Limerick Civic Trust in restoring the city’s built environment will be a lasting testimony to his memory.”

Born in Limerick in 1947, Leonard was one of the four children of John and Joan Leonard. He was educated by the Jesuits at Crescent College, after which he worked in banking for about 20 years.

The Limerick Civic Trust, a self-funding conservation society, was formally inaugurated at a public meeting in February 1983, and was Ireland’s first civic trust.

Tadhg Kearney, who was at that meeting, said there was a “strong practical streak” to Denis Leonard’s outlook.

His intention was that restored projects should have a practical use and relevance to the present day.

Derelict buildings saved from ruin were given living relevance by being put to daily use in the service of the community, particular examples being the restored Bishop’s Palace and the Georgian House, which are hives of activity throughout the year.

Leonard, in 2003, recalled that when the trust took charge of the Georgian House, it was a “rabbit warren of flats”. The first step was to reinstate the original room plan.

“We did a whole series of workshops, and brought in specialist restorers for plaster work, woodwork and marbling, and so on. We spent three years doing the plasterwork alone. It’s not something that could be done commercially.

“We had to reinforce the various floors. It was a big job, but it didn’t interfere with the plasterwork underneath, and that experience will always stand to us.”

He said at the time that he regarded the trust’s biggest overall achievement as the restoration of civic pride in Limerick.
Hundreds of people worked on Fás schemes with the trust over a quarter of a century.

They learned much about the history of their city as well as practical skills in archival research and restoration.

Further afield, in February 2007 the trust celebrated the completion of the restoration of the burial place and memorial of Catherine Hayes, the 19th-century diva from Limerick, in Kensal Green cemetery, London.

Leonard’s last official function was to attend the formal unveiling of the restored Richard Russell fountain at the People’s Park. The fountain was originally erected in 1877 to honour the memory of Russell, a highly regarded Limerick employer.

While the young Leonard was a pupil at Crescent in the 1950s, his mother received a letter from Fr O’Beirne, prefect of studies, noting that he had improved of late, but remarking that “being the ordinary boy with his usual faults of inattention and disinclination to work, I have to use every weapon with him and his likes to get all I can out of him. “Between us,” he concluded, “we will make him a respectable scholar.”

Recognition of his scholarly achievements came earlier this year when he was an honorary doctorate was bestowed on him by the University of Limerick.

He is survived by his wife Deirdre and daughters Rachel, Sarah and Kate.

Denis Leonard: born February 23rd, 1947; died November 29th, 2009

© 2009 The Irish Times
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Re: Limerick Civic Trust ~ The First 25 Years

Postby CologneMike » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:26 pm

Future of Limerick’s Georgian House is uncertain

By Petula Martyn (Limerick Leader)

Published on Tuesday 12 July 2011

The future of the Georgian House is in doubt after a decision was taken to close its doors to visitors next month, with the loss of five jobs.

Originally built in 1830, the house on Pery Square was restored to its former glory by Limerick Civic Trust and opened as a visitor centre in 1999.

The restoration project, led by the late Denis Leonard, was hailed as a great success and a showcase of the city’s Georgian architectural heritage.

The Georgian House and Garden, will continue to host meetings and receptions but tourists to the city will only get to visit the house by booking one of the civic trust’s walking tours, which were launched recently to great fanfare.

Staff at the Georgian House, some of whom have worked there for 17 years, were informed of their redundancies by James Ring, who was appointed manager of the civic trust last year.

“We haven’t decided as yet what is going to happen,” he said. “We were losing a lot of money on the house, the business plan wasn’t working so we need to rethink the business of the house and how we do our business in there.”

Two staff at the Bishop’s Palace have also been made redundant, leaving Mr Ring as the only person directly employed by the trust.

Mayor Jim Long expressed his disappointment at the announcement, saying he will “use the powers of the mayor’s office to make sure the Georgian House is opened as a matter of urgency.

Dark clouds hanging over the Civic Trust.
Pery Square
First Floor
First Floor
Georgian Garden
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Re: Limerick Civic Trust ~ The First 25 Years

Postby zulutango » Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:34 pm

It seems that Limerick Civic Trust has lost its way since Denis Leonard's passing and there appears to be political involvement that wouldn't have been there in the past.

One of the city councillors has persuaded them to get involved in the Westfields wildlife sanctuary, something it never had anything to do with before, and something which has questionable merit as a Civic Trust project. I also note that their new website describes their role thus, "Limerick Civic Trust is a self-funding Conservation Society, which initiates and undertakes a programme of projects for the general improvements of Limerick's environment". This is a new departure, and probably a deliberate blurring of the role of the Civic Trust. The new guy in charge, who will shortly be their only full-time employee is an environmental scientist, I believe, who has no track record or experience in heritage or conservation.
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