Richard Russell Fountain

Location: Limerick, Munster, Ireland

Officially opened in 1877 the People’s Park was given to the people of Limerick in honour of Richard Russell, a prominent local businessman and highly regarded employer. A drinking fountain provided by employees of Russell Flour Mills and the former Carnegie Library was also unveiled at the same time.

In 2009 Limerick City Council and Limerick Civic Trust decided to restore the fountain as it had fallen into disrepair. The project was undertaken by Eura Conservation Ltd. funded by Limerick City Council, the Earl of Limerick Fund, the People’s Park Trustee Fund, Civic Trust resources and conservation money. The fountain was dismantled and shipped to England where it was blasted, cleaned, repaired and a paint analysis was done. Missing parts were recreated using moulds from a restoration of the same fountain design in Belfast which was also restored by Eura. After repainting the structure was weatherproofed.

It was returned to Limerick in November 2009. The fountain adorned with lights to illuminate the structure was rededicated by the mayor of Limerick, Kevin Kelly.

Drinking fountain number 2 is seated on an octagonal plinth and consists of eight columns supporting a large solid domed canopy. The open filigree frieze above the cornice is expanded to the interior of the dome, and the outer edge of the cornice is decorated with Maltese crosses. The ribs on the domed roof are outlined with stars or suns. The cupola trimmed with a rope design is surmounted with a weathervane finial identifying the four compass directions.

The wide based font, design number 13, was located on a raised and stepped platform. The central pedestal was supported by four columns stamped with a diamond pattern. Square capitals on each side of the dog toothed basin contain a seven pointed embellishment which may represent a star or the sun. This symbol also outlines the ribs on the domed roof. Four consoles with acanthus relief connect the central stanchion to the basin and originally supported drinking cups suspended on chains. Shell motif spouts released water flow. A multi-tiered circular column was surmounted by a studded orb terminal.

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Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Consoles, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Cupola, a small, domed structure on top of a roof.
  • Dog toothed
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

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