THE historic Countess Dunraven Fountain in the heart of the picturesque village of Adare in County Limerick has been restored to its original grandeur.
The freestanding carved limestone monumental fountain, which is located between the Holy Trinity Church and the Adare Heritage Centre, was erected in 1855 by Caroline Countess of Dunraven to thank the people of Adare who helped extinguish a fire in the nearby Adare Manor, 11 years previous.
The fountain is set within a cut limestone pentagon-profile basin with carved copings. It has a tapering four-sided obelisk style shaft surmounted by Celtic cross with carvings in relief and to the base. The plinth comprises projecting gables with trefoil and cross motifs and carved lettering in relief.
The fountain therefore adds much historical and artistic interest to the town. Its site, next to the Holy Trinity Church, is a prominent one and it contributes significantly to the streetscape of the village. It was designed by Charles Hardwick who also restored the church.
Adare Tidy Towns worked alongside Limerick City and County Council to secure part funding for the restoration from the Department of Rural and Community Development under their Town and Village Renewal Scheme in 2020.
In addition to the restoration of the fountain itself, significant works have been carried out to create a plaza around the fountain, creating a much more welcoming and accessible space for locals and visitors.
ACP (Architectural Conservation Professionals) were appointed as architects and engineers on the project and following a tender process Mid West Lime were appointed as the Main Contractor. The project took around five months to complete.
The extent of works included:
-Removing the plants, shrubbery and soil surrounding the monument.
– Dismantling and rebuilding the fountain to rectify the structural deficiency.
-Reconditioning the monument façade through sand blasting and re‐grouting.
-Reinstating the water supply to the fountain.
-Installing new stone floor slabs to the area around the fountain, as well as a ramp from the Main Street to the new public space to allow everyone to be able to use the space and view the fountain.
-Istalling seating and lighting in the area.
-Repointing and cleaning the stone boundary wall
The total cost of the project was €220,000, €40,000 of which came from the Town and Village Renewal Scheme with the remainder from Limerick City and County Council’s own funds.
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Daniel Butler said: “The restored fountain and public space around it will be a positive addition to the public realm of the village of Adare. The new accessible space, centred on the restored fountain, with new seating and lighting will be enjoyed by the local community and visitors to Adare for years to come.”
Gordon Daly, Director of Community, Tourism and Culture in Limerick City and County Council said: “This project demonstrates how relatively small-scale projects can hugely benefit towns and villages. Adare is one of the jewels in the crown of Limerick’s tourism product and we must ensure that we continue to offer the visitor high quality attractions and public realm. It’s important that we work with communities to improve their areas.”
Liam Fleming, Secretary of Adare Tidy Towns said: “Our members and supporters are very proud of our contribution to the Caroline Countess Dunraven Fountain refurbishment project. We worked with Limerick City and County Council to develop the project plan and are delighted that Monument and Fountain are now once again restored to their rightful grandeur and the people of Adare have a wonderful amenity to admire and enjoy.”