Sightsavers Gairdín na gCéadfaí (Sensory Garden)
About the Designer
Ailish Drake and Conor Hourigan are the duo behind Limerick’s Drake Hourigan Architects, a practice that works countrywide in the heritage, education, community, tourism and charity sectors. The company focuses on the creative and adaptive reuse of buildings and the design of landscapes and urban spaces that enhance people’s everyday lives.
Ailish is an architect and landscape designer whose design work extends outside to include public realm, public parks, and sensory gardens. Conor is a Grade II Conservation architect and places conservation work and built heritage at the heart of the design practice.
Inspired by the work of Sightsavers, this garden is designed to be an enriching experience for people who live with visual impairment or sight loss. The elements of the garden, conceptual in execution, draw inspiration from West Africa. A red surface pathway represents the red earth; lush planting echoes the tropical landscape; colourful walls reflect urban streetscapes; and the gathering space under bright sun sails represents a community meeting place.
Sightsavers’ vision is of a world where people with disabilities can participate equally in society. The universally accessible pathway, designed with a kerb to guide a cane user, is flanked by rhythmic timber columns and invites the visitor on a sensory journey. Using audio description, the visual story comes alive in an abundance of lush green planting. The way is guided by light, shadow, scent, colour, texture and contrast; the destination is a vibrant sunny meeting place at the garden’s centre.
Click here to download the garden wayfinder in an audio readable format.
The elements of the garden, conceptual in execution, draw inspiration from West Africa.