Limerick has a new Economic and Spatial Plan, with lots of downloadable files and the general tone of a letter to Santa Claus. It has lots of adjectives, though, and fashionable concepts; all it lacks is money.
It wants a renaissance of the Limerick waterfront. It seems, though, that that doesn’t mean lots of dockers unloading timber, turf boats from Poulnasherry Bog, ships taking the ground at low tide, gales throwing vessels against the bridge, mills at Curragour, tolls on the bridges or other features of past life along the quays. Instead there will be things like this:
A New Public Waterfront
Arthur’s Quay Park will be transformed into a signature Waterfront public space that draws visitors, hosts special events and provides a key stopping point within the City Centre and along the Waterfront and Riverwalk;
This new Riverside Park will run the length of the City Centre from Sarsfield Bridge through where Sarsfield House currently stands, along between the Hunt Museum and the River and over a new pedestrian bridge into a pedestrianised Potato Market area linking up to the upgraded King John’s Castle tourist attraction;
A new appropriately sized iconic building could be developed in the new Riverside Park on the former Dunnes Stores Site to accommodate tourism/cultural uses;
New landscape, trees, surfaces, lighting, furniture, public art and interpretation should be structured to create a landmark WaterfrontPark, designed to international standards reflecting the prominence of this location within Limerick;
A new space should be defined to host public events including celebrations, performance, festivals and start and finish points to Limerick based marathons and races;
Clear, high quality pedestrian connections from Patrick Street and O’Connell Street and Henry Street would draw people to the Park;
Signage and materials should identify the water’s edge as part of the continuous Riverwalk linking bridges across the Shannon and the two sides of the Shannon River;
A new public open space should be created at the Sarsfield House site in the event of government office relocation, to reveal the view north along the Shannon to King’s Island from the City Centre and extend Arthur’s Quay Park;
The Waterfront and public space at the Hunt Museum should be strengthened to provide an intimately scaled green space with external seating from the Hunt Museum restaurant and destination in its own right along the Riverwalk.
What is being proposed here (page numbered 99; page 124 of 172 in An Economic and Spatial Plan for Limerick [PDF]) is that Sarsfield House should be demolished and the area above the Custom House moorings would be opened up, with citizens not just permitted but encouraged to enter. Later on (page 108; PDF page 133 of 172) we read this:
Limerick Quays will be defined as the principal visitor and entertainment zone in the City Centre – passive and active – accommodating a new visitor destination, walking, as well as eating and drinking in bars and restaurants that will activate the quays overlooking the River. This will be fully pedestrianised.
Now, that’s all very nice in theory, but what it means in practice is that any boats moored at the only safe moorings in Limerick, at Custom House Quay, will be within range of any bottles that may be thrown by the less domesticated portion of the citizenry, on their way home from getting tanked up in the bars and restaurants.
But perhaps the planners have thought of that and solved it in their own way. Figure 36: City Centre Proposals – Aerial View 1 on page 116 (141/172) is an aerial photo with coloured bits added; it shows the Custom House moorings. But Figure 37: City Centre Proposals – Aerial View 2 on page 117 (142/172), taken from a different angle, shows the pontoon at the corner of the weir, and the water space in the corner behind the Custom House, but the mooring pontoons have disappeared.