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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 23 March, 2018

How Limerick re-invented its city centre in a matter of weeks

Free public Wi-Fi, street furniture and an array of colourful art pieces have sparked life into the city’s retail district.

LCCC Streets 066 Cruises Street, Limerick City Source: Alan Place

MANY IRISH TOWN and city centres suffer from the same issue – time and traffic have taken their toll, and the whole piece begins to look very tired and dated.

Limerick city was no different, but now the local council has taken an innovative approach to the state of the city’s retail centre, with a pilot scheme to rejuvenate the tired looking facades of the old shopping district being implemented.

And how long did it all take?  A matter of weeks.

“We’d been looking at what needs to be done in the city long term as part of an economic spatial plan looking towards 2030,” Mary Hayes, economic development officer with Limerick city council told

But then we started to think about what we could do more quickly. You’d be amazed what can be achieved in a short space of time.

LCCC Streets 076 O'Connell Street facing Cruises Street, Limerick city Source: Alan Place

What has been achieved is the installation of free public Wi-Fi, street furniture and colourful art installations that have served to give the old city streets a shot of life. And that’s just for starters.

With the success of the scheme the local authority says plans are afoot to introduce new ‘parklets’ around the city with permanent seating and a structured children’s play area.

All this, and an open-air art gallery in the ‘nook and cranny’ laneways off the city’s famous Cruises Street.

It’s a testament to what can be achieved in a short space of time with a little dedication.

LCCC Streets 047 Source: Alan Place

“We call it an urban garden, and the support and buy-in from local businesses and the general community has been just fantastic,” says Hayes.

It’s a bit novel for Irish cities, but it goes to show that you can bring about change in the short term when there’s a will to do so.

The renovation of the retail centre kicked in at the start of summer and was completed in only two weeks.

“We want an area that’s fun, colourful, engaging. And we wanted to show that this can be achieved in the here and now,” says Hayes.

We are just following an example set by countless cities in Europe and North America.
Now hopefully other towns in Ireland can follow suit. It’s important to make a difference after all.

You can discuss the makeover of Limerick’s retail centre on Twitter with the hashtag #lkurbangarden

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Read: The University of Limerick has launched gender-neutral bathrooms

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