Denis Burke remembered at re-opened park

A tile depicting a lone pig, which remembers former Mayor Denis Burke who operated a successful bacon factory in the town for many years and donated the park land to the Council for public use, is included among the ceramic representations that now decorate the entrance to the Denis Burke Park in Clonmel.

A tile depicting a lone pig, which remembers former Mayor Denis Burke who operated a successful bacon factory in the town for many years and donated the park land to the Council for public use, is included among the ceramic representations that now decorate the entrance to the Denis Burke Park in Clonmel.

Four oak trees will also be planted in the park, which has been closed for some months during the flood relief scheme, and which is to re-open to the public soon.

The ceramic panels of the wildlife of the park and the River Suir have been created by local ceramic artist Doirin Saurus as part of the County Council’s Bee 4 Biodiversity campaign. The tiles go in swirling formation across the front of the two entrance pillars following the flow of the river.

The colours are mostly in blue, green and turquoise. Creatures and plants featured include the heron, kingfisher, dipper, owl, salmon, otter, feileastram and bullrushes.

Another part of this project has concentrated on the community participation side of the project. A series of ceramic workshops were held in a variety of locations and with different stakeholder groups. The outcome of these workshops was the production of glazed ceramic leaves and bees to be hung on the internal concrete flood relief wall following the completion of the OPW works. Workshops began in June with groups of students from the local secondary schools.

They began with a walk in Denis Burke Park looking at and identifying the various trees. This was followed by a discussion on trees, their important role in the world, stories from the students about their own connection to wood and trees and a talk about the mythological and historical aspects of trees. They were very happy to participate in the project and loved the idea of having their own ceramic leaves installed along the wall. They chose and identified leaves that were then pressed into slabs of clay and painted with oxides to highlight the veins. The leaves were then cut out and prepared for firing.

There were further workshops in the Suir River Cafe (run by Lyn Mather and the County Council heritage office) during Clonmel Junction Festival and during Festival Cluain Meala in Heritage Week. The most recent workshop took place in Clonmel Swimming Pool and some wonderful creations were made.

These workshops were aimed at raising awareness of the Suir and the participants had great fun making boats and fish to fit along a ceramic river laid out in front of them, as well as leaves and bees to bring some colour to the park.

The ceramic project is an initiative of the County Council Heritage Office and is funded by the Heritage Council. For more information on biodiversity see the South Tipperary Biodiversity Action Plan, which is available from County Hall or downloadable on www.southtippheritage.ie.