Limerick Public Realm Design Guide

There is a need to improve the overall public realm within the city centre, particularly between key activity areas such as O’Connell Street and the waterfront, between the railway station and the city centre, at the main public spaces, and along the main approach roads to the city. This will reinforce the image and legibility of the city and create a more comfortable pedestrian experience.

What is the public realm?

The public realm is defined as ‘the space between buildings’ - the streets, laneways, squares and open spaces which form the framework for our use and perception of the city. It is generally recognised that a high quality public realm improves our interpretation and experience of the city, adding to its attractiveness and enhancing its use for residents and visitors alike. People
choose to spend more time in high quality public spaces and streets, stopping to linger rather than utilising streets and spaces as merely thoroughfares, thereby contributing to both the vibrancy and viability of the city centre.

What needs to be done?

Limerick has a unique city centre, comprising a mixture of different streets and spaces ranging from the unstructured medieval through to the formal Georgian of grand proportions which, together with the impressive presence of the River Shannon, combine to provide an urban pattern of distinctive quality and varied interest. The physical fabric of the city is continuously evolving as
new developments and city initiatives are realised. Although there has been considerable recent investment in up-grading Limerick’s public realm, as demonstrated by Bedford Row and most recently Thomas Street at the heart of the city, there are many places where a poor quality and uninviting pedestrian environment offers little inspiration to stop and linger.

Main Aims

  • To improve the quality of the public realm of the city centre to a standard equal with, or superior to, national and international best practice;
  • To build on work achieved to date to create a distinctive urban environment for Limerick;
  • To provide a coherent public realm framework that enables the city centre to fully realise its potential as a vibrant and enjoyable place in which to shop,to do business, to visit and to pass the time of day,reinforcing Limerick’s image as a confident andprogressive cityand
  • To establish standards of design to achieve a quality environment that is:
    • attractive, safe and hospitable;
    • appropriate to Limerick;
    • robust, simple and elegant;
    • distinctive and sometimes innovative;
    • to a high standard of craftsmanship


The Public Realm Design Guide is concerned with all streets and public spaces within the City Centre as well as the main approach roads to the City.

Limerick’s streets are routes to service the city’s economy, allowing the circulation of public and private transport, delivery of goods and services, communications, gas, water, electricity and the removal of waste. They are also places for people, where residents, workers and visitors interact. They provide the setting for Limerick’s public face.

This complex multi-functional role of streets can result in conflicting interests and differing design treatments. A greater sense of coherence across the whole area would be achieved through a more consistent approach to the design and management of Limerick’s streets.

Dowload full document

   Limerick Public Realm Design Guide, Draft, March 2008 (PDF - 5,275 Kb)
    The Public Realm Design Guide shows how to improve the quality of the public realm of the Limerick City Centre to a standard equal with, or superior to, national and international best practice

Last update:11/09/2008