An Irish art museum has created a park for tourists to spend time in their favourite places, and the local public have welcomed it.
The WASHINGTON square Mall, in the heart of downtown Baltimore, opened to the public on Saturday.
The $300 million project, which has been a decade in the making, is a nod to the Irish nation’s history, which includes a former Irish parliament building in downtown Baltimore and the city’s historic downtown, according to the museum’s director of operations, Frances O’Hagan.
“The Irish have always been a part of Baltimore, and I think it’s a very good way to celebrate their history,” O’Hanagh said.
The museum, which opened in 2012, includes a replica of the parliament building that once housed the city council, and a bronze statue of an Irishwoman who founded the Baltimore branch of the American Legion.
It is also home to the Museum of American Art, which O’Haag said will be a major attraction, as well as a large collection of art, sculpture and architecture from around the world.
She said the idea of having a park was born when a local architect came up with the idea to create a new park.
She said the project began when she was in high school.
“We were all on a bus and all of a sudden we had to park and walk to our bus stop.
We thought, ‘Well, what if we had a parking space?’
So we got a permit to put one up,” she said.
O’Hanah said the park will be located in the center of the WASHINGTON SQUARE complex, where more than 300 shops and restaurants will open.
She added that the park was the first of its kind in Baltimore.
“This is an Irish-themed park.
It’s an Irish way of doing things,” she added.
“We’re very excited about this.”
The park will have outdoor seating, as will a pavilion that features an Irish flag with a plaque commemorating the founding of the Maryland legislature.
The park will also feature a statue of the late Irish parliamentarian, Mary Connolly, who died in 2011.
O”We want to be very clear, the idea is to celebrate the Irish-American community and Irish culture,” O`Hanagh explained.
“And we think that the best way to do that is to have a park.”
The city has a long history of showcasing Irish culture, from the famous Doolan Fountain in Washington Square, to the famous Irish restaurants on Maryland Avenue.
“I think that there’s been a lot of Irish history in the city and in the country,” said city councilwoman Susan Fagan.
“It’s very much part of the fabric of our city.
It will continue to be part of our history and our city.”
The Irish Embassy in Washington was among the first to open its doors in Maryland in 1858.
In 1919, Baltimore became the first American city to hold a referendum to decide whether to recognize the Irish as an official language.
The American Legion also has a permanent presence in Baltimore, but the number of members has dropped since then, and there are only about 30 active members in Baltimore right now.
In an effort to attract more Irish Americans, the Baltimore Department of Public Works opened the Baltimore Irish Festival in 2011, and plans are afoot to add Irish restaurants to the city.