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'Peaceful haven' opened in Nenagh

Tuesday, 21st May, 2019 8:00am
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'Peaceful haven' opened in Nenagh

The Castle Garden, Nenagh. Photograph: Odhran Ducie

'Peaceful haven' opened in Nenagh

The Castle Garden, Nenagh. Photograph: Odhran Ducie

“A quiet, peaceful haven in the midst of all the noise and traffic”, the Nenagh Castle Garden was formally opened recently.

Cathaoirleach of Tipperary Co Council and Nenagh Municipal District Mattie Ryan was proud to unveil the long-awaited new public amenity space for the town. Formerly known as 'Gill's Garden' after the local family that once owned the site and much of the surrounding area, the Castle Garden is a medieval-style walled garden with attractive planting and seating areas. It has three entrances; one from the Castle Field itself, along with one from the St Mary of the Rosary church grounds and one from the Church View lane off Summerhill. Among the garden's features are a centrepiece sundial and part of a printing press that was found during the recent site clearance works.

At last week's opening ceremony, District Director Marcus O'Connor described the garden as a reflective place for people to visit. He hoped that many present and future generations of Nenagh people, as well as visitors to the town, would enjoy the Castle Garden.

Mr O'Connor also took the opportunity to thank those involved in the running of both St Mary's Church and the neighbouring St Mary of the Rosary for their help with bringing the project to fruition.

CEO of Tipperary Co Council Joe MacGrath paid tribute to the old Nenagh Town Council, which purchased the site from the Gill family in 2013. Mr MacGrath said the site complements three of Nenagh's most historic sites and iconic landmarks, those being the castle and two churches. Describing the site as a peaceful and tranquil location, he too hoped that it would be used well for many years to come.

The total cost of the project amounted to €350,000 and the lion's share of this was funded by the town council and Tipperary Co Council. A Nicholas de Jong Associates project, the site redevelopment also involved Glas Civil Engineering and Nordon Landscapes Ltd.

Mr MacGrath thanked everyone who worked on the project including the council staff, and in particular John Cass and Seamus O'Brien. He said the Caslte Garden represents just one of a number of positive new developments in train in Nenagh, and that the council would continue to seek funding under the National Development Plan to further enhance the town and district.

Samuel McKeever, landscape architect with Nicholas de Jong, told the gathering that the medieval style of the garden aims to reflect the surrounding structures. The planting would create visual interest throughout the year while there would also be distinctive scents from the flowers, which would attract abundant insect life.

Local suppliers were used in the project wherever possible. The gates, for example, were provided by Johnny Cavanagh's Friary Ironworks.

Fr Des Hillery and Rev Rod Smyth joined in blessing the site in a short service, in which Patricia Finn also read a prayer.

In his address, Cllr Ryan paid tribute to the members and staff of Nenagh Town Council who had the vision for the garden that has now been opened. “Located in the historic quarter of Nenagh, the garden complements the majestic structures which surround it – the thirteenth century castle keep to the west, St Mary of the Rosary to the north, and the Church of Ireland to the east. This will be a place that people will come and visit, a place that is a quiet, peaceful haven in the midst of all the noise and traffic.”

Cllr Ryan said Nenagh is privileged to have such a wonderful cultural and heritage area with the castle, churches courthouse, the governor’s house and gaol complex, and former town hall building in close proximity.”We have the opportunity to treasure and respect the past while at the same time developing and looking forward to the future,” he said.
“Nenagh is the gateway to Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and the development and promotion of its attractions will be key to ensuring that the town benefits from its strategic location near to Lough Derg. I know that developments such as the Castle Garden will enhance the offering for tourists and visitors alike. But it will also provide an amenity for young and old to relax and enjoy the setting.”

The cathaoirleach also acknowledged the close collaboration that took place between the council, OPW and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in delivering the Castle Garden project. “We will reap the dividends of investment in facilities such as these for many years to come,” Cllr Ryan concluded.

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