Publish Date: Monday 28th April 2014
Some of the oldest and rarest trees knocked in Limerick’s People’s Park by Storm Darwin are being given a new lease of life by being transformed into works of art by the Council’s Parks Department.
The historic People’s Park closed for two weeks in February after Storm Darwin caused 19 trees to fall and work was needed to repair damaged pavements, railings and unblock pathways.
Quite a few trees were lost, but staff were particularly sad to lose one of the rarest trees in the park, a beautiful ornamental tree called a 'Tetradium Danielli” which was about 80 or 90 years old.
It's commonly called a ‘Bee Bee’ tree as it is covered in late July and August with masses of small white flowers which attracts large numbers of bees as a source of late summer honey. It's especially valued when few other tree-size plants are flowering and the flowers produce clusters of seed that are present from late August through November.
“David Murphy, Parks Supervisor, thought it would be a great idea to commemorate the BeeBee tree which we all really loved as did members of the public,” explained Tara Flanagan, senior executive engineer, Limerick City and County Council. “So he spoke to Zambian woodcarver Paradazi Havatyitye who carved three beautiful bees in the remaining stump and we’re delighted with how beautiful it turned out.”
The Parks Department also arranged for
the Special Olympics logo to be carved in another storm damaged tree to commemorate the fact that that Special Olympics Ireland Games will be held in Limerick this June.
A re-planting programme is currently underway to fully restore the Park to its former glory.
Although relatively small in size at just 10 acres, the Peoples’ Park is one of Ireland’s premier parks.
Limerick City Council's Park Staff were instrumental in the Park achieving national awards in 2003 and 2004 along with securing Ireland’s first Green Flag award in 2008.
It has remained largely unchanged since it was officially opened in 1877 and given to the People of Limerick in honour of Richard Russell, a prominent local businessman.
The layout and many of the original features such as the railings and pavilions remain and the 1895 bandstand is currently undergoing renovation.
Limerick Civic Trust in association with Limerick City Council provided new benches throughout the park over the last few years that were purposely designed with the elderly and disabled in mind.
The two Victorian Pavilions in the Park were also restored along with the new entrance gateway know as the Pery Gate, facing Colbert Train Station and the Richard Russell Fountain was also extensively restored in recent times.
Work is currently underway to refurbish the 1895 Bandstand in the Park and this will provide an additional heritage feature for users of the park to enjoy.

Tetradium is a genus of nine species of trees in the family Rutaceae, occurring in temperate to tropical east Asia. In older books, the genus was often included in the related genus Euodia (sometimes misspelled, "Evodia"), but that genus is now restricted to tropical species. In cultivation in English-speaking countries, they are known as Euodia, Evodia, or Bee bee tree.

They are attractive trees with deciduous glossy pinnate leaves. Tetradium daniellii (syn. T. hupehensis) develops a smooth gray bark that resembles that of a beech tree and grows to a height of 20 metres. The leaves resemble the foliage of an ash tree and are a glossy dark green in summer. In fall there is little color change and leaves tend to drop green to yellow-green. The tree is covered in late July and August with masses of large flat white to gray cluster of small white flowers, particularly valued when few other tree-size plants are flowering. It attracts large numbers of bees and is sought after by beekeepers as a source of late summer honey. The flowers produce clusters of seed that is present from late August through November. The seeds start as bright red capsules that when fully ripe open to expose shiny black buckshot seed as Autumn progresses. The small, red-to-black berries are popular with many birds.

Tetradium species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Aenetus scotti and Endoclita damor.

The genus is also closely related to Melicope and is sometimes included within it. Melicope elleryana is sometimes referred to as Evodia, or Euodia.