Council Affairs: Council’s pyramid scheme scrapped

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

GREAT disappointment there was in County Hall when the news broke that we wouldn’t be honouring our long links in Limerick with our ancient Egyptian cousins.

T’is awful altogether to hear that the Council won’t be building a pyramid on O’Connell Street — the eighth wonder of the world — in memory of the well-known Ramses family from Rathbane, who used to own a chipper on Patrick Street, and the Tutankhamun’s from Kildimo, all great hurlers in their day.

And shur even the late great King Canute had a shop up on William Street back in the eighties before it went up in smoke after an attack from those riotous Babylonians.

Criminal it is to hear that we won’t be getting a revolving pyramid on our new and improved main thoroughfare — a great tomb to Pharaoh Conn Murray, former ruler of Limerick City and County Council.

We’ll be the laughing stock without our €500,000 prism. What will the Romans and Persians think when they come to Limerick to do their Christmas shopping out in the Crescent Shopping Centre? I mean, surely they will drive through the ruins of our once great civilisation and note the absence of a giant topper, reeking of urine and draped in empty snack boxes.

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Councillors were visibly upset last week, shaken even, when the news was broken to them. Submissions, they were told, were not of a high enough quality.

What? Have the executive not seen the hatchet jobs done on poor old Terry Wogan and Richard Harris?

They frighten the bejaysus out of me, every time I go down the town, with their big shite-eating grins and heads like bags of marbles on them.

I mean, a pyramid on a stick would probably fit in perfectly with our mad as a box of frogs selection of kooky sculptures.

According to Executive Architect for Limerick City and County Council, Seamus Hanrahan, the assessment panel were not in unanimous agreement on the shortlisted submissions, so instead decided to can it.

The proposed installation, which was to form part of a €5 million Urban Animation Capital Investment Scheme in partnership with Limerick City and County Council, was due to take up pride of place at the junction of Bedford Row and Thomas Street.

Fine Gael councillor Olivia O’Sullivan was not all happy that they were not briefed on this new development.

Luckily Cllr O’Sullivan is a glass half full kind of gal.

If they couldn’t have a spinning cone, she was happy to settle for a pig on a spit. As long as it was playful and family-centred, she would be happy as a porker rolling in its own muck.

“The allocation of €500k is yet to be drawn down so this public art project is still on the table as far as I am concerned.

“I would like to see us take a more playful approach to the art commissioned for O’Connell Street. The example of the Adelaide Rundle Mall bronze pigs, they resonated with me because of Limerick’s ‘Pigtown’ history and the large heritage we have around pigs in the city,” Cllr O’Sullivan told council members.

“These are four bronze pigs that are situated on the street, the piece is called ‘A Fine Day Out’ by artist Marguerite Derricourt, and they are literally greeting passers-by, sniffing around and one digging in a bin. They are amusing, endearing, and fun for children to interact with, and beautiful pieces of bronze sculpture. Tourists take photos with them all the time, even 21 years later they are loved in Adelaide.

“We are making O’Connell into a destination street, somewhere to draw people into the city to spend time. Let’s be a bit more open-minded in our approach to the art we seek for it, and consider something family friendly that will speak to all.”

Ah listen, “openminded”!

You’d have to be fairly openminded in this city with some of the mad yokes passing for decor. With some of the off-the-wall sculptures we have about the place, you’d swear we had more historic links with the Teletubbies than the Xerxes clan from Mary Street, who were the finest anglers this side of the Nile.

And won’t someone please think of new pharaoh, Pat Daly?

Surely, until it comes time to mummify our great caliph, he is worthy of a striking cone-shaped art display in his honour. This rotating obelisk could symbolise the turning of the seasons as the O’Connell Street works roll on and on into the dawn of a new Dynasty.

It really would be awful not to celebrate Limerick’s links with our ancient Egyptian cousins. I am mortified at the very thought of it.

Fianna Fáil councillor James Collins was not a happy camper either when the news broke in County Hall. He hit out that an artificial chicane had been introduced especially to facilitate an installation.

“Now all we are left with is this ridiculous chicane,” he told the executive.

In all fairness, the revitalisation project is going to look like a dog’s dinner without a swirling necropolis for our king and his learned chieftains. As wise old soothsayer Kevin Costner used to say, “If you build it, they will come.”