Limerick City and County Council is celebrating after receiving awards for three separate projects - Kilmallock West Wall Project, Nicholas Street Regeneration Project and Watch House Cross Community Library.
The projects in Kilmallock and Nicholas Street won the 'Heritage/ Conservation/ Cultural Project of the Year' and 'Tourism & Hospitality Project of the Year' respectively at the Irish Building and Design Awards.
While Watch House Cross Community Library was named 'Best Library Service' at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards for their drive to make the library more Autism friendly and inviting.
The Kilmallock West Wall Walkway project lead to the conservation of more than 500 metres of the West Wall and the creation of a walkway along the route.
This allowed locals and visitors alike to experience the wall for the first time, as up until now the wall had been on private property.
Throughout Kilmallock, there are constant reminders of the town’s importance during the Middle Ages. Its legacy can be seen in the large sections of town wall still standing, the merchants’ houses, the 13th century Collegiate Church and the impressive Dominican Priory.
Kilmallock is one of only a few towns in Ireland that may owe its origin to a monastic foundation and there are records dating from the early 13th century related to its defences. The line of the Town Walls is preserved for almost the entire circuit of Kilmallock - the best preserved stretch comprising c.600m of the west wall standing to a height of c.5m. The medieval form of the town is retained, not just in the line of the Town Walls, but also in the street plan, the extant burgage plot boundaries and the surviving medieval structures remnants of medieval houses retained within apparently later buildings.
The Nicholas Street Regeneration Project sought to transform the street and help enhance the city’s broader tourism offering. Work focused on council owned properties on the street with an ambition to attract private investment and valuing our medieval history.
This urban renewal was far more than a construction project as there was significant liaison with the incumbent street traders and residents about the project to help strengthen confidence in the area as a place to live and work.
With three vacant properties now occupied and the creation of a new public space, this work has served as a catalyst for long term change and revitalisation.
Meanwhile Watch House Cross Community Library picked up the award for 'Best Library Service' at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards.
The Library has been at the forefront of community activities in the area since it opened and recently opened the first ever dedicated Sensory Room for those affected by autism.
The facility is specially designed to help individuals with sensory impairments, learning, and development difficulties and those on the Autism spectrum. Sensory rooms combine a range of stimuli to aid, develop and engage these senses.
Watch House Cross Community Library supports life-long learning by providing a space that encourages a love of reading and promotes literacy, culture and information access on the north side of Limerick City.
The addition of the sensory room adds a range of visual, tactile, auditory and vestibular stimuli which was previously lacking and are necessary for the inclusion of all groups in using the library resource.
In November 162 sessions took place in the room, while AsIAm, Ireland’s national charity for the autism community, held a staff training session as a step in the city and county wide roll out of the library’s new autism friendly libraries project.
Also Watch House Cross Library has been nominated as Limerick’s Age Friendly Library. It is part of a novel project to recognise and adapt to the needs of older people, Age Friendly Ireland initiated a process with the Libraries Development Committee and the County and City Management Association to encourage libraries to develop in a more age friendly way.
Speaking about the awards, Sean Coughlan, Deputy Chief Executive with Limerick City and County Council said: “I would like to congratulate all those who worked extremely hard to bring these projects to fruition. There is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes to get these projects over the line and it is through the dedication and perseverance of staff that they have been completed. It is very satisfying that these awards are being presented by experts in their field and that they are recognising the important work carried out by Limerick City and County Council.”
In addition to these awards, the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Limerick worked with the community in Adare, which was selected as winners of the National Award for Best Irish Town in category under 2,000 inhabitants at the Bank of Ireland Enterprising Town Awards.
While the Community Development Directorate of the Council supported Abbeyfeale Community Council, runners-up in the 2,000-5,000 Population Category at the IPB Pride of Place Awards.