Rare trees knocked in Storm Darwin transformed into works of art

Limerick’s People’s Park trees given new lease of life

Limerick’s People’s Park was forced to close for two weeks in February after Storm Darwin caused 19 trees to fall and work was needed to repair damaged pavements, railings and unblock pathways. 
Photograph: Eric Luke / THE IRISH TIMES

Limerick’s People’s Park was forced to close for two weeks in February after Storm Darwin caused 19 trees to fall and work was needed to repair damaged pavements, railings and unblock pathways. Photograph: Eric Luke / THE IRISH TIMES

Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 10:44

Some of the oldest and rarest trees knocked in Limerick’s People’s Park by Storm Darwin are being given a new lease of life by being transformed into works of art.

The historic People’s Park was officially opened in 1877 and given to the people of Limerick in honour of Richard Russell, a prominent local businessman.

The public park was forced to close for two weeks in February after Storm Darwin caused 19 trees to fall and work was needed to repair damaged pavements, railings and unblock pathways.

Quite a few trees were lost, but staff were particularly sad to lose one of the rarest trees in the park, an ornamental tree called a ‘Tetradium Danielli” which was about 80 or 90 years old.

It’s commonly called a ‘Bee Bee’ tree as it is covered in late July and August with masses of small white flowers which attracts large numbers of bees as a source of late summer honey.

It’s especially valued when few other tree-size plants are flowering and the flowers produce clusters of seed that are present from late August through November.

“David Murphy, Parks Supervisor, thought it would be a great idea to commemorate the BeeBee tree which we all really loved as did members of the public,” explained Tara Flanagan, senior executive engineer, Limerick City and County Council. “So he spoke to Zambian woodcarver Paradazi Havatyitye who carved three beautiful bees in the remaining stump and we’re delighted with how beautiful it turned out.”

The Parks Department also arranged for the Special Olympics logo to be carved in another storm damaged tree to commemorate the fact that that Special Olympics Ireland Games will be held in Limerick this June.

A re-planting programme is currently underway to fully restore the Park to its former glory.

Work is also underway to refurbish the 1895 Bandstand in the Park.

Although relatively small in size at just 10 acres, the Peoples’ Park achieved national awards in 2003 and 2004 along with securing Ireland’s first Green Flag award in 2008.