Unbe-Leaf-able | 

Limerick locals slam 'disgraceful' pop-up forest for blocking busy bridge

The pop-up mini forest was introduced over the weekend as part of a new initiative for the June bank holiday.
The mobile mini forest took over Sarsfield Bridge all day Sunday until 10am Monday (Limerick County Council)

The mobile mini forest took over Sarsfield Bridge all day Sunday until 10am Monday (Limerick County Council)

Neasa Cumiskey

Limerick city residents are having mixed reactions to a divisive mobile “mini forest” that took over a busy bridge on Sunday.

The pop-up mini forest was introduced over the weekend as part of a new initiative for the June bank holiday.

A total of 70 mobile planters have been built and filled with trees native to Ireland, which each structure surrounded by benches that can fit up to four adults. The planters can be arranged in various layouts and locked into position.

The project aims to demonstrate the pedestrianisation of Limerick by creating new spaces for people to socialise while supporting local businesses.

Across the weekend, parts of Catherine Street, Sarsfield Street, and Honan's Quay were closed off from traffic while the mini forest took over.

The pop-up forest took over the busy Sarsfield Bridge at Honan’s Quay on Sunday for “public realm enhancement”, making it only accessible for pedestrians and cyclists as trees were scattered up the street.

And locals expressed their concern about the forest’s temporary location due to the fact that it blocked off the quickest route to Limerick’s National Maternity Hospital while others noted that it limited transport routes to the Limerick vs Clare hurling final in Thurles.

Some simply said that the project was a “waste of public money.”

Taking to social media, one person wrote: “I really like the idea but in the middle of the road is beyond stupid. What if there is an emergency?”

But a responder quickly pointed out: “There's three other ways to get there”

But someone else ranted: “Main bridge to the maturnity. Are ye actually for real!!.... There is enough pedestrian streets and side streets for this.. But a main bridge into the city and to our maturnity hospital. Absolute disgrace!!!” [sic]

Another person remarked: “And what better day of course. Limerick and Clare Munster final in Thurles thousands of travelling fans. You know what? I'll put a load of oversized flowerpots on the bridge”

But others were delighted to see the bridge transformed with foliage, with one person writing: “Love it!! More green in the city and interactive!! Well done!”

And another said: “I love this. Absolutely no harm closing off this bridge to traffic. Make the walk in from the north side so much more pleasant”

The mobile mini forest has since been moved from Sarsfield Bridge, moving to the tunnel underneath it at Honan’s Quay on Monday morning.

The mobile planters will continue to be used in the future and will be available for community groups to use, Limerick Mayor Daniel Butler said.

"During Covid, we talked about nature reclaiming our city streets, and we have always been talking about more trees and tree coverage in our city centre, so I came up with an idea about how we could come up with our own urban pop-up forest,” he told the Limerick Leader.

“It’s an opportunity for us to use our city centre spaces in a more flexible and creative way, because cities have to start working harder and we have to start using our cities in a more creative way to make them work better for our citizens.”


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