by Alan Jacques
RESIDENTS in Garryowen have been praised by the Honorary Consul of France, Dr Loïc Guyon, for their restoration work at the Patrick Sarsfield monument in the city.
Located at Cathedral Place, the monument, was erected in the late 19th Century to honour General Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan and the Flight of the Wild Geese. The latter is the term given to the Irish soldiers on the Jacobite Army who went to France after the signing of the Treaty of Limerick in 1691.
The monument, erected in 1881, had become dilapidated in recent times and was hidden from view and overgrown with weeds.
However, thanks to the trojan and creative work of the local community, it has now been transformed, much to the delight of Dr Guyon.
“It’s fantastic to see it restored like this. It looks like it’s just been put there,” said Dr Guyon, who is also Head of the French Department at Mary Immaculate College.
“It’s a monument to be proud of, especially now that we are in the search for the remains of Patrick Sarsfield. It really makes sense to value this heritage.”
Dr Guyon was very impressed with the role to the Garryowen Youth Committee who made flower planters for the site and helped in the clean-up of the area, as well as their interest in the restoration project.
“One of the aims of the Limerick Bastille Day Wild Geese Festival is to entertain and teach the communities, including the younger generations about their local history and the connections between Limerick and France,” he explained.
“There are many cultural and historical links between the two countries, with Patrick Sarsfield and the Wild Geese, one that’s part of Franco-Limerick history.”
Young people with the Garryowen Youth Committee were a key part of the restoration project with committee member Rebecca O’Connell stressing its importance to the local community.
“The monument is right there, but people go by and don’t really notice it. But now it’s more visible and will catch people’s attention and make them stop and look at it,” Rebecca said.
‘It would be nice to make it a bit brighter, some lights and information about Patrick Sarsfield that people could read,” she suggested.
Limerick Youth Service thanked Garryowen Youth Committee, Garryowen Community Development Project, the Garryowen Residents Association, St John’s Scout, The Gathering, Moose Bar, Limerick Wild Geese Festival and Dr Loïc Guyon for their support.