The design for the main entrance at the University of Limerick is the outcome of an open architectural competition sponsored by the University in 1996. The entrance comprises three elements; the landscape, the masts and the sculpture. The commission to build the new entrance is the outcome of an open archiectural competition sponsored by the University in 1
A triangular lawn, approximately 150m wide by 150 deep banked by yew hedges makes the setting for the new entrance landscape. A long yew hedge on the South side of Plassey Park road forms the third side of this new space and completes the garden, enclosing the road. Two huge timber flag poles, 35m high and visible from Limerick City and from the Dublin road to Limerick, mark for the approaching visitor the gateway to the University campus.
In the competition entry the Architects drew the stone monument of the landscape design of Geoffrey Jellicoe at Sutton Place with the Ben Nicholson white wall sculpture, and advised that the painter Sean Scully should be asked to make his proposal for a stone monument at Limerick University. Five years on and after much consideration, Sean Scully’s sculpture entitled ‘Crann Soilse’ was realised.
The sculpture is made from 2’6″ stone cubes, stacked 3 cubes wide by 4 cubes high and 40 cubes long. This amounts to a total of 480 stone cubes; 240 Chinese black basalt cubes and 240 Portuguese white moleanos limestone cubes, stacked in a chequerboard arrangement. The sculpture is assembled on a concrete base set within a low grass mound at the entrance to the University. The project was completed in 2 stages; the masts in 1999 and the sculpture in 2003.