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WATCH Limerick City school launch sensational sensory garden and outdoor classroom

St Michaels National School sensory garden pictured above


WATCH Limerick City school launch sensational sensory garden and outdoor classroom

By I Love Limerick correspondent Mary Caroline McCarthy


St Michael’s National School is situated between The People’s Park and St Michael’s Church of Ireland on Barrington Street in Limerick. This year the national school is proud to launch its brand new sensational sensory garden and outdoor classroom.

Miriam Smyth, Principal of the school says, “We are so proud to present our new Sensory Garden and Outdoor Classroom which is an invaluable addition to our beautiful school situated here in Barrington Street beside the People’s Park.”

It was the vision of the teachers, staff, and Board of Management to create a unique school environment within Limerick City Centre. They wanted a school focused on providing children with the opportunity to reach their potential, with a learning curriculum centred around supporting and encouraging each child no matter who they are or what might challenge them. The outdoor classroom was sanctioned to create a space for teachers to bring their class to enjoy outdoor learning opportunities.

The garden is located at the side of the school between the building itself and the wall of the People’s Park. The Sensory Garden is dedicated to the Stockil Family of Catherine Street. Denham Stockil was a pupil in 1907 and his four daughters attended Saint Michaels. The school hopes that their name will on in the space created by their support.

This beautiful garden was designed by Landscape Architect Manual Smalis. Manual is also a parent of one of the pupils in St Michael’s National School.

The results are truly a magical experience. Manual’s ideas for the garden and classroom were extremely imaginative. Hawthorn Landscapes took Manuel’s concepts and took them from paper to the garden.

Manuel said, “I felt honoured to have been asked to design a sensory garden for St Michaels National School. The vision for the garden was to create a wide variety of sensory experiences for all children to enjoy regardless of their sensory challenges. We sourced the materials locally and used recycled materials where possible and divided the garden into sections where the children are invited to feel, see, smell, and hear.”

The garden includes a variety of things that the children can interact with such as a tactile path, a giant drum, musical pipes, a ribbon forest, a water feature with bamboo cascaded and a deer scarer. Over 700 plants were planted of different sensory qualities concerning texture, smell, and in colour.

Manuel added, “I hope that the children will enjoy this unique outdoor space as much as I enjoyed designing it.”

The school also feels very lucky to have had another school parent, Marcin Plictha, who works in Mid-West tyres and kindly delivered a total of 90 tyres to the school which were then painted and scattered around the sensory garden for different uses, such as flowerpots and wall decorations.

This project has been in place since the beginning of Miriam Smyth’s role as Principal of the school in 2017. Both the Board and Principle Smyth were determined that the Sensory Garden and the additional outdoor classroom would be more than just a dream and are delighted to have the project finished for the children to enjoy.

Myriam Smyth added, “Our pupils will have the most amazing memory of time spent in our outdoor classroom and the sensor garden and we are forever grateful to all those involved in bringing the garden to life.”


For more about the sensory garden in St Michaels National School, go HERE

For more stories on National Schools in Limerick, go HERE

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.