Image by Ryan Nickel
Last week, while riffling through the Internet, as I normally do, I came across and article by Totally Dublin titled, 200 Reasons Not to Leave Dublin. I began to read it with mild interest but slowly and surely it began to irk me; I only got as far as number 30 before I was actually annoyed.
The article named various things and places about Dublin that it wanted to promote but seemed to fail to realize that the only things truly unique to Dublin, that it had listed, were physical landmarks.
Things like Guinness, Chippers, Viking Settlements, Deli Counters, Rugby are examples of reasons to stay in Ireland, not just Dublin, and I’m sorry but The Rubberbandits and Vincent Browne are from Limerick!
A mate of mine attempted to talk me down, she said informed me that the article was simply an update from an earlier 1980’s article on immigration but it got me thinking. Many Dublin natives generally disregard the rest of the country, seeing as they are natives of the capital, they have most of everything at their fingertips.
They fail to realize that Ireland, in all her glory is a remarkable place. I, a Limerick man, know my city well and am proud to be associated with her, I decided to write up my own piece on my city in hopes that people, the world over, would see that Ireland is not just Dublin, but a vast nation filled with many wonderful places, features, landmarks and people.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Dublin and have lived there in the past and chances are if I decide to settle in Ireland, Dublin will be my future permanent home and this isn’t a depressing idea at all but I implore the rest of the country to travel within its boundaries. Ireland is a vibrant place and places like Limerick have so much to offer, so here I’ve decided to list my 99 Reasons to Visit Limerick. Enjoy.
1. May Festival
Every May Bank Holiday weekend, Limerick shines brighter than ever before. The skies part and Limerick looks like something from a Parisian painting. European markets and stalls set up from Georges Quay right the way up to the Milk Market, offering treats from throughout the country and further afield. Various live music events are put on to bring a sense of pride to the city and with competitions, such as the Great Limerick Run, Limerick really does come off smelling like roses, rich in culture. The event is always topped off with a fire works display set up by Kings Johns Castle and a warm and icky feeling is sure to flow through the veins of all the spectators gathered with family and friends as Limerick glows with happiness, it is undeniably one of the best weekends in Limerick and not to be missed.
2. Milk Market
The weekly market stalls of the Milk Market hold some of the most delicious home made goods Limerick has to offer. Back in the long, long ago the Milk Market looked like something out of an ancient eastern fairytale, a free for all merchant trade area but in 2010 it got a face-lift, bringing a new lease of life and vigour the locale. Literally putting a top on the place has made it an all year round haven for weekend shoppers and also transformed itself into a live music venue, known as The Big Top, hosting some of the biggest acts in the country once in a while from the Coronas, Imelda May and The Saw Doctors.
3. Skate Park
Limericks, Steamboat Quay venue Skate Park was a long and hard fought after project. In my youth prominent Limerick skate boarders such as, Dave Hurley, Jay Red, Stephen Donnan, Rubin Short and Flip Its very own Shane Serrano, used to blow our minds weekly skating throughout the city, primarily with an audience down by the cramped confines of Georges Quay. The space was minimal, the ramps improvised and hand made but they made do with what they had because of the love of the sport. Surely enough a trend started to emerge and skateboarding became a main and prominent past time for many of Limericks youth and so they made the decision to ask Limerick City Counsel for a new skate park. Years later, with many trials and tribulations, funding was approved and Limerick now holds one of the best skate parks in the country.
4. Arthurs Quay Park
If I were to have compiled this list a few years back, Arthurs Quay Park would not have appeared. Once a gated park, it used to be a strong hold for many of Limericks young thugs but some 2 years ago Limerick City Counsel opted to remove the gates surrounding this park, opening it up to the city and making it far less intimidating to be around. Since then, Arthurs Quay Park has hosted various events, including ice skating at Christmas, a general meeting point for annual fire works displays, inner city concert venues and general sunny lounging. Its close proximity to the city centre makes it idea to take the edge off while shopping and watch the Shannon float on by.
5. Munster Rugby
How could I mention Limerick and not mention Rugby? Limerick is home to Munster Rugby, housed in Thomond Park, the team train extensively throughout the city. Anyone who has been in Limerick during a game, could not but agree that we do our city. The town and people are painted red for our much loved team and Munster, themselves, speak fondly of the time of the 2006 and 2008 Heineken Cup victories at the Millennium Stadium in Wales, when Limerick City Council opted to cut off traffic to the city centre and opened up the streets to the general public to view the victory on enormous television sets, these are some of my fondest memories of Limerick and it is something I, very much, hope I can live through again.
6. Thomond Park
Thomond Park stands as a beacon for Limerick, no matter what angle you come into town from Thomond Park immediately stands out within the city. With a capacity of over 25,000 in recent years the stadium has invited music talents such as Bob Dylan, Elton John and …JLS… (can’t win em’ all I guess) to play within. On game night, its pitch lights illuminate the area and screams and cries can be heard when home tries are scored but when conversions or penalties are up for grabs, you could hear a pin drop within its walls, an amazing sight to behold.
Dolans Pub, Warehouse and Restaurant is a staple of Limericks entertainment sector. Its essentially the equivalent of Dublins, Whelans and Galways, Roisin Dúbh, showcasing some of the biggest acts in the country in a small and intimate setting but Dolans also opens its doors to big locally run nights that have gone down a treat in recent years (I’ll come back to these later). While at the front of house Dolans takes on the guise of a small tourist friendly bar and restaurant featuring fresh traditional Irish music nightly, Dolans generally has its fingers in a lot of pies and caters to everyone and anyone from locals, business people and tourists alike.
8. The Belltable
Limericks city centre theatre venue, The Belltable, has been in existence since 1981. Located in 69 O’Connell Street the medium to large size venue, provides a space for producers of entertainment of all varieties, with a preference for Drama, The Belltable also acts Limericks main space for the likes of live comedy stand up gigs, small operas, poetry readings, music events, magic shows and general performance art. Downstairs is a small cafe, Chimes, which is regularly frequented by the many performers of Limerick and the main foyer often displays exhibits making this venue a much treasured social area for all students of performing art.
9. Fresh Film Festival
The annual Fresh Film Festival entered its 16th year this year and I was there front and centre eyeing up the future competition Ill be up against in years to come. The Festival is open to all of Ireland Juniors and Seniors filmmakers, with aims of getting youths interesting in film production. A lot of time and effort goes into these events and they provide an excellent place for encouraging young minds to be imaginative when it comes to producing film. The festival is growing yearly and promises to be a brilliant day of entertainment for all in attendance.
10. Thomas St./Bedford Row
I remember a time when both of these streets were as mundane as anywhere else. The only reason you’d head down there was to go to the Savoy Cinema, Termites or Lexus nightclubs. These days, Thomas Street and Bedford Row are wonderfully pedestrianized streets that house some of the best cafes, bistros and bars in Limerick. Its also home to a terrible statue of Richard Harris that for some reason looks like the Burger King mascot but provides hilarious snap shots and laughs for students on a night out.
11. Limerick: Irelands Sporting Capital
It’s a little known fact that Limerick is Irelands Sporting Capital. We were bestowed the honour, I’m sure, in part to Munster Rugby but Limerick has so much more going for it in terms of sports and activities. Limericks general size and location, that of being on the Shannon, makes it a prime spot for various activities such as running, cycling and rowing. The various off road paths that link throughout the city have made my transition of fat bastard to general tubby bastard much easier and enjoyable. Sporting activities have taken off in leaps and bounds in the past 3 years, in Limerick, one can hardly look out the window without seeing someone skirting on by. UL hosts various sporting events too from Tag Rugby (a very up and coming sport), to UL Vikings American football team, literally something for everyone!
Many people will question why I’ve put Kababish on this list but those people clearly have never tasted Kebabish on Ellen Street. Its delicious Kebabs have kept the drunken youth of Limerick satisfied after a night out for many a year now and hopefully many years to come. Just be wide of the creepy security guard who watches the young ladies through the slit in the gates across the way… scared the be-jaysus out of me anyway.
13. Clare Glen
Located just inside the Limerick boundary the Clare Glens are a small nature walk, which takes on the guise of a valley separated by the Clare River. The Clare Glens, on a nice day, are definitely one of the highlights of Limerick and if you’re feeling adventurous then you are welcome to swim in one of the several natural inlets the river has to offer, the most enjoyable of which is located under a small 10 foot waterfall named ‘The Big Eas’.
14. Perry Square Complex
The Perry Square complex, for lack of a better term, is one of thee best venues in Limerick. It houses three separate buildings each linked and offering a different sample of tastes and choices Limericks diverse music culture. The Wicked Chicken is a small bar, it holds nightly DJ spots and is a perfect hangout for either quiet nights out or a build up to something bigger. Bakers place, right next door, is more of a live music venue offering local bands and alternative DJs the opportunity to show off their talents and downstairs, The Underground, is often opened up for big events ran by budding entrepreneurs of Limerick. After a good night out, Perry Square resembles something from a zombie film, as the masses gather outside till the wee hours of the morning waiting for someone to divulge the location of the house party. Always a pleasure, never a let down the Perry complex has gone through some tough years but seems to have bounced back to its former glory, particularly that of the Wicked Chicken.
15. Chicken Hut
As I said, I lived in Dublin for a few years, I know they have A Chicken Hut but trust me; they don’t have THEE Chicken Hut. The Chicken Hut fast food take away on O’Connell Street is a favourite of just about everyone in Limerick. When I lived in Dublin a co-worker of mine, upon hearing I was from Limerick, continued to regale me with tales of the Chicken Hut, she had only been there once, but what an impression it left. Its gravy is a mystery and no one dares asks what’s in it for fear of finding out the truth, ignorance is bliss. I’ve never known a chicken breast to be speckled with black dots and again, I don’t care to ask why. One thing if for sure, it’s delicious and a perfect way to cap off a night out on the town.
16. The Siege of Limerick
The Siege of Limerick, named lovingly after the actual siege of Limerick (a late 17th century siege which lead to the Treaty of Limerick and thusly our landmark the Treaty Stone) is an all day metal music festival held TWICE a year. Classed as one of the biggest metal events in Ireland, the Siege entered its 6th year this year and displays some of the biggest metal bands throughout the country and beyond. Even though in previous years it has been forced to bounce around the city due to complications with space, the Siege always goes ahead and by all accounts is one of the highlights of the Limerick calendar.
17. Monthly Bar Boot Sales
These events have become quite popular throughout the country and are fairly self-explanatory. Have an auld root through your old junk, finding bits and pieces you have no use for anymore, that old vase your aunt thought would go perfectly with your bohemian chic style, that yoga ball you’ve been using as an extra seat when your mates call over, the statuette of the pissing boy from Brussells your mate thought would be an hilarious gift (Miriam, I still have to give you that actually, you’re gonna love it), and the usual CD’s, DVD’s and books. Pay €10 for a stall and flog it off to punters over pints, keeping all profits made. You know what they say, one mans trash is another mans drunken impulse buy. Limericks monthly bar boots sales and are a great place to rummage through other peoples stuff without feeling guilty, always an enjoyable evening.
18. Tom Collins
Guinness is about as Irish as it gets, we all have our favourite bars throughout the country, I for one, when visiting Galway make it my business to frequent Tigh Neachtain’s on Cross Street and, when in Dublin, I try my best to make it out to Rathmines for a pint in Slattery’s but mothers milk always tastes the best and if you are in the market for a creamy one, try your best to make to Tom Collins Bar, on Cecil Street. This small quaint bar doesn’t go for the big thrills of many of the other bars around Limerick, music, while seldom on, is kept to a low volume offering an opportunity to chat and engage with friends over a quiet one.
19. I Love Limerick
I Love Limerick is an online initiative set up, primarily, by Richard Lynch. A promotional online video magazine, I Love Limerick is a brave initiative to reconfigure the general concept of Limerick as a dangerous and inhospitable place. Richard and crew, travel all over Limerick promoting charity events, artistic merits, cultural endeavours and whatever else is taking place within the city. Lynch is an exuberant figure in Limerick and his positive attitude and broad smile continually make it hard not to enjoy his broadcasts. The whole team of I Love Limerick goes above and beyond when attempting to show Limerick as a warm and friendly place for all those who live and visit.
The Rubberbandits, took the world by storm with Horse Outside in 2010 but these Limerick boys have been in existence since 2000, everyone in Limerick had heard of these guys and have raved about them since then. Their prank phone calls were legendary and everyone had their C.D featuring classics like ‘Car Stereo’ and ‘Terracotta Fount’ of them and quoted them daily during school. Everyone claimed to know who they were, even though many didn’t, unless you were in school with them. The Rubberbandits have been fantastic ambassadors for Limerick… I know your wondering how I could say that, what with them being thugs, gangsters and dangerous urban rappers but they continually opt to promote Limerick in everything they do, shooting a lot of their music videos and promos down here and acting as a pulling force for Limerick.
Macronite is truly one of Limericks greatest nights out; I’m not entirely well versed on the history of it so forgive me if I get a few details wrong. Macronite started as Micronite a few years back, in Bakers Place, playing minimal techno, however as the interest in electronic music grew in Limerick, various other nights such as Drum n’ Bass and Dub Step nights, were invited to share the night for a more inclusive and all round interesting night. As such Macronite evolved, incorporating the multifaceted and ever expanding genres electronic music Limerick has to offer. Macronite now takes over Dolans, offering something different in every section, from the Warehouse itself, its Upstairs venue and its outside foyer. Macronite has now entered its 3rd year and has even started incorporating weekends away, only last weekend did the crew and Flip It TV’s Ali Daly set up and run the Lough Weekend, a resounding success by all accounts. Not only is Macronite an event, it has since incorporated a fully fledge studio, Viva Music Studio offers courses in music production and gives a helping hand to potential electronic music producers of the future.
22. Kilkee, Co. Clare.
Limericks home away from home, I couldn’t leave Kilkee out of this list, even if it does belong to Co. Clare. Everyone in Limerick knows Kilkee, it’s our worst kept secret. As soon as the sun comes in for the summer and you have ways and means of transportation, Kilkee will surely be your destination. A small, but beautiful, bay in Co. Clare, Kilkee holds all of Limericks collective summer holiday memories since our grandparents era. A place of happiness and ice cream cones, it has many entertaining features including, pitch and put courses, diving boards into the ocean, the Pollock Holes (a place of sheer terror when I was a child), Georges Head scenic view, a few arcade venues, pubs, clubs, restaurants and of course, the beach.
23. Bock the Robber
Bock the Robber is Limericks most outspoken blog enthusiast, I am fairly late to the game with this guy and as such have no idea who he is (I’m sure many do) but in recent articles his voice has bellowed with communal thoughts and his blog posts are being read on a more national basis. The blog has been in existence for quiet some time, by all accounts, and here he discusses most of everything from politics, sports, society, technology and cooking. Bocks rants are something to be admired and discussed, his insist-ency on voicing unassuming thoughts from all spectrum’s of life, lead to insightful discussions and in my case, general agreement.
24. Daghdha Dance Company
Perfectly located in the renovated St. Johns Church, Daghdha Dance Company is one of the most original projects Limerick has ever produced. A contemporary dance company, it has been described as one of the most progressive dance outfits in Europe, staging events in Limerick and aiding young choreographers, dancers and actors in their bid to create artistic merit. Its shows are wonderfully choreographed and definitely worth a visit.
Costello’s could be considered my spiritual home in many ways, from the first time I entered those walls I have never been in a more relaxed nightclub environment. When I was in college, many moons ago, and working out in the Crescent, we used to head straight to Costello’s after work for Tequila Thursday… not that it was an actual thing held by the club, it was just something me and my friends used to do. Costello’s is Limericks premier alternative nightclub, with the lovable Flan Costello on the door, it’s only €5 in on the weekend. One of its best features is that it lets its customers purchase cans instead of pints, making dancing the night away on the dance floor a hell of a lot easier and less messy. Costello’s is a family run business with Big Flan on the door and (not so) Small Flan on the decks, its comfortable and familiar vibe makes it an easy going and always-pleasurable night out. Downstairs is a more relaxed general bar and with 3 Beer Pong tables in the back, there’s always an excuse for mischief.
26. St. Marys Cathedral
St. Marys Cathedral is one of the oldest, still in use, Cathedrals in Ireland. Run by the Church of Ireland, St. Marys Cathedral is open to the public, subject to church service and is another proud monument to the history of Limerick; founded in 1168 it is officially the oldest building in Limerick still in use.
27. Wired FM
Wired FM is Limericks student radio station, run by both Mary Immaculate College and Limerick Institute of Technology students, it has been the starting point of many of todays mainstream media presenters including Jacqui Hurley of RTE, Gavin Grace of Clare FM, Ruth Scott of 2FM and Cian McCormack of Radio 1. Wired FM is a student run community interest radio station, literally handing over the airwaves to volunteers of both institutions to produce content of every variety, be it music, current affairs, Irish language, documentary and news. I was a volunteer in Wired FM during my time at Mary I and can honestly say they were some of the fondest memories of my time in college. Community radio stations are few and far between, but to have a radio station run entirely by student volunteers is something Limerick should and is very proud of.
28. Hunt Museum
Originally based on campus in UL, the Hunt Museum was moved to the more central location of Rutland Street in the city centre in 1997. The new site is on the grounds of the old custom house and 18th century building right by the River Shannon. The museum itself holds over 2000 different artefact’s from Ireland and further afield, some of its prided possessions being the Antrim Cross, a 9th century bronze and enamel cross, drawings by Picasso and a bronze horse once thought to be a design by Leonardo da Vinci.
29. Casa Nova
Casa Nova, a taste of the Mediterranean… at least from an Irish prospective. Casa Nova isn’t what you would call fine dining but I wouldn’t classify it as fast food either. A small business it caters for the class of clientele that live within the structures of the aforementioned categories, people that want decent food but don’t want to pay through the nose for it. Casa Nova is the perfect spot us, located on High St., its prices, unbeatable and its food tasty.
30. Loft Venue
For many years, The Belltable had a monopoly on theatre events in Limerick and while for a time this wasn’t an issue. Over the years theatrical productions have become more prominent throughout Limerick and when it came time for smaller scale productions to go on stage, The Belltable simply wasn’t an affordable option. The Locke Bar then, seeing as niche in the market, opted to open up the Loft Venue, a small sized venue perfect for small theatre productions, poetry and open mic nights. The Loft Venue is growing with each passing piece it puts on and with its small size it will no doubt continue to grow in demand.
Any fans of the FLIP-IT TV know that Limerick likes its music, much like I like my women, of all shapes and sizes and preferably loud when excited. As already stated, Limericks electronic pioneers continue to go from strength to strength consistently outdoing themselves at every juncture but long before electronic music was even on the scene in Limerick, music was a staple part of our diet. Growing up in Limerick was an exciting time, bands sprung from the wood work weekly with favourites like, FunBobby, 22, The Swarm, Rejee and The Hired Goons to name but a few and this history of live rock music, while waning for a time, has never left. Limerick still houses some of the greatest rock outfits this country has going for it, bands including Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters, Windings, We Come in Pieces, Theme Tune Boy, Last Days of Death Country, We Should be Dead, Hermitage Green and of course The Rubberbandits, continue to produce high quality music that the nation loves to listen to. Limerick doesn’t only cater to these two varieties of music, due to its Irish Music and Dance course in UL, Limerick also plays home to some of the most talented traditional Irish musicians on in the country.
32. LIT Film Festival
The LIT Film Festival is a relative new comer to Limerick, just after entering its third year; the festival was set up by lecturers and film enthusiasts of Limerick. It is open to second and third level students as well as the general public for submission of short films of any genre. The festival also holds master-class workshops, short intensive courses and also provides a general meeting hub for all those interesting production.
33. Curragower Pub
The Curragower Bar and Sea Food restaurant is nestled neatly on Clancy Strand, it, easily, has the best view of all the bars in Limerick overlooking King Johns Castle and Curragower falls. A popular Munster Rugby bar, this pub is always packed at match time, the atmosphere almost as if you were at Thomond Park itself. Serving some delicious and very well priced food, considering the huge portions, The Curragower also offers some of the finest pints of Guinness and some of the best live tradition music in Limerick.
34. Donkey Fords
The institution of institutions of Limerick city, I am willing to stake good money on the fact that people have purposefully injured themselves just so they could visit Donkey Fords Chipper after leaving St. Johns Hospital. Located on John’s Street, Donkey Fords has been in existence since the dawn of Limerick and it hasn’t had a facelift since then either. It still utilizes a wooden cash register and railed queuing system, upon entering you will notice the yellow walls… well, they used to be white or so my grandmother used to tell me (rest her soul). It all adds to the taste though and for those prices, you won’t argue, you won’t be able too, not with your face stuffed with greasy goodness.
35. Christmas in Limerick
Christmas is a very special time for me, up until 8 years ago, I hated it, happy people dotted about the city, I couldn’t understand it but once I came of age I settled into my own routine around X-Mas. Now it is my favourite time of the year, the city is a buzz and friends who have moved away return to enjoy the festivities. I have several yearly traditions and with every passing year I seem to add a new one to the list. In years to come I fear I might not be around, due to travelling or work prospects, for Christmas and this thought genuinely depresses me. Limerick at Christmas is a magical time filled with heavy doses of ceol agus craic.
I know a lot of people will be reading this and thinking, ‘what the hell kind of activities are there in Limerick’ but most of these people are stuck in their ways, refusing to acknowledge that Limerick has a very vibrant and active range of fun and entertaining past times. We have two separate Go Karting venues, one outdoor based out in Boherboy, one indoor, a stones throw away, based in Gillogue just over the Shannon in Corbally, Co. Clare. Combat Zone Paintballing is located out in Co. Limerick too, in Shanagolden, an indoor Put, Put arena is located in the industrial estate out in Castletroy as well as numerous Pitch and Putt courses dotted throughout Co. Limerick and Clare and these are just the big activities, we also have various cinema houses, bowling arenas, arcades and casinos. There is plenty to do in Limerick, you just have to have the motivation to get up and look into it.
If music be the food of love, play on and as stated throughout this article we do it in spades in Limerick. Yes we have the wishy, washy masses who go to the Icon and Angel Lane, they seem happy, they stay with their own and seem content listening to the same mass produced sounds the music industry tells them they like, that’s fine, leave them too it I say. Limerick has a diverse interest in music and one of its oldest love affairs with the industry has to be with Metal music. I remember on my junior cert night, 16 years old getting into the, now long gone, High Stool and being terrified of the leather clad Metalers in the front bar, this was their patch but did they look down on us, probably a little but they certainly never voiced it. Metalers are still a constant fixture in Limericks landscape, they are an impassioned crew who talk candidly about their musical interests and with the advent of the Siege of Limerick it doesn’t look like they’ll be going anywhere for a long time.
38. Angela’s Ashes
You can’t really mention Limerick without mentioning Angela’s Ashes and its author Frank McCourt, the 1996 memoir tells the story of growing up in a Limerick long gone by. A harsh depiction of the city, at the time of its release, many people in Limerick felt McCourts representation of the city to be unfair, my father however, a much younger man than McCourt, is adamant that it is the best depiction of Limerick he has ever come across. McCourt is not the only author to come from Limerick and our love of story telling lives on to this day with many local and prominent writers finding safe lodgings in the various establishments throughout Limerick. If you are interested to read a more modern portrayal of Limerick, I would recommend local author Stuart Nealons fiction work, A Guide to Self Defence.
39. Golden Vale Milk
A piece of Limerick I assumed in my youth was a national treasure. Golden Vale milk is the staple diet of the growing youth of Munster; the Golden Vale plant is located on the north circular road. They used to have tokens on them, depending on the size you bought you saved ½ tokens for the small carton, 1 token for the litre carton or 2 tokens for the 2 litre carton. We had a drawer full of these and once every six months or so my mother would get a leaflet through the door that showed what you could get for the tokens you had saved. Of course you could get nothing within the first six months, having to amass some 10,000 tokens to be able to afford something as small as a lamp but if you saved for like 2 years you could get a kettle, we always got kettles. I was never aloud buy that football for 5,000 tokens, that’s probably why I hate football… my mother never fostered a love of the game…
40. All Colleges
Limerick is home to some 4 certified colleges as well as many other institutes of learning. The University of Limerick is probably the best known, its campus, a joy to circumnavigate, grows every year. Limerick Institute of Technology is often known as one of the finest technological institutions in Ireland. Mary Immaculate College houses the future teachers in the world, off-setting the imbalance of nerd to bum ratio by also holding the only Arts course in Limerick and Limericks School of Art and Design has churned out some of the most remarkable artists and fashion designers Ireland has ever known. These four college, while often taking the piss out of each other, work in tandem to provide some of the best craic you can hope to come across. Due to their separate locations, there is always someone new to meet and another house party elsewhere, within the city to attend… and if you’re lucky, you might just get an education along the way also.
41. Limerick Hurling: Ultimate Heartbreak
I was discussing this article with a few of my friends before I started typing it up and while I know very little about hurling in general, it can’t be denied that hurling is an integral part of our city and so I was implored to say something about it. By all accounts Limericks hurling team should be something of great merit, given the size of our population and the many small teams we hold in our boundary, we should be able to make up a solid team well capable of taking on the best throughout the country, and every year we tell ourselves that, ‘this is our year, this will be the one…’ but unfortunately, it has never come to fruition and Limerick hurling leaves nothing but a sour taste in our mouths. We are, however, a county faithful to our own and every year the bellowing cheers of The Shannonsiders fill the stadium at the Gaelic Grounds.
42. The Gathering
The Gathering, on Lower Gerald Griffin Street, seems as though it has been in existence forever. A games and hobby shop, it is a home away from home for the ever growing fans of role playing games, tactical battle board games and general comic book fandom. I’ve only been in there a few times but always found the staff more than helpful and open to a bit of banter.
Nancy Blakes mid way up Denmark Street is Limericks leading late bar. Its atmosphere is relaxed and with various nooks and crannies throughout offers a prime spot to gather and chat with friends. It has become a regular jaunt for cinema buddies and I to discuss what we’ve just seen. The only problem with Nancys is that it is too popular. The surrounds, while not necessarily small, are always busy and on a weekend it can be tough to get a spot to stand, let alone sit, also getting to the 3 bars can be difficult too, especially when live music is on offer. Generally speaking though, if you head to Nancys mid week you’ll have a more than pleasant time.
44. Limerick (Poetry)
The wonderful humorous limerick poem, there has been much speculation as to whether or not the limerick actually started in Limerick itself but once you get to hear and listen to the lyrical qualities of the locals you’ll be under no doubt whatsoever… especially given the basic nature of its formation, AABBA… simple, straight to the point and not overly complicated, that’s got Limericks stamp all over it, not to mention the fact that its primarily used in a dirty and obscene fashion… Limerick might be a lady, but she’s always up for the craic.
45. Peoples Park
Peoples Park is another recent prided feature of Limerick, while the park itself has been in existence since 1877, the place was none too inviting. However in the past decade people have come to utilize Peoples Park, for the enjoyable wide-open space that it is. Several prominent theatre companies have held outdoor plays within its confines and with the advent of a new children’s playground Peoples Park has become an enjoyable place for families to congregate throughout the year. Its large green fields and various seating areas also make it ideal for people to picnic on warm sunny days.
46. Roller Girls
A relative newcomer to Limericks sporting scene, Limericks Roller Derby Girls are as enthusiasm and spirit as the Munster Rugby team. The Roller Derby Girls are a strong confident crew with their eyes set firmly on victory. In recent times they have supported many of the major events listed on this list, often times found fund-raising at bar boot sales. Formed in 2011 the girls are getting stronger with every passing week and given that this is a full contact, high-speed sport, they frighten me a little. Although I have yet to see a game, I look forward to doing so in the coming months.
47. Crescent Shopping Centre
The old saying, Ireland would be a great place if you could only put a roof over it. Well, back in the early 1970’s Limerick did that with the Crescent Shopping Centre. Located out in Dorradoyle the Crescent is Limericks largest indoor retail centre, housing all major stores any city would want but in the comfort of the indoors. Aside from shops, the centre also houses a cinema complex, all in all its perfect for not seeing a horrible day wasted.
D.I.E. is another music nightclub similar in vein to Macronite. A night that tries to satisfy the diverse musical interests of Limerick it features music ranging from Alternative, electro, live bands and hip-hop. The great thing about these nights are that they bring together so many people, it is often the case that mates with different interests generally drift apart over the years but with nights like D.I.E. there is something for everyone and no matter what your musical preference you can be sure it will be satisfied at these events.
49. Limerick City Gallery of Art
Occupying the Carnegie building, pretty much on the grounds of Peoples Park, Limerick City Gallery of Art is a wonderfully modern art installation, which displays various art exhibitions throughout the year. Its permanent collection, which aims at collecting various works from well known Irish born artists, presents over 800 historic pieces, while ever changing exhibitions keep the gallery fresh throughout the year. In 2012 the gallery was granted permission to extend its boundary and has since gone under renovation breathing new life into the historic building.
50. Willie O’Dea
Immortalized forever in The Rubberbandits, Song for Willie O’Dea and in their resident DJ being named Willie O’DJ, Willie O’Dea is by all accounts ‘a gas c@*t’. Everyone in Limerick knows him and he can be seen daily, running and racing from one side of the city to the other, always greeting members of the general public with a smile and that glorious tash. Willie is so trusted in by Limerick that he managed to escape the big Finna Fail cul of 2011. He is, however, not without his faults and many fell out of favour with him when he refused to make a stand on the closing down of the assembly line of Dell in Raheen. A gentle man by all accounts though, Limerick has a soft spot for Willie (smirk) and his tash is nothing shy of legendary.
51. River Shannon
Limerick you’re a lady, your Shannon waters, tears of joy that flow. The beauty that surrounds you, Ill take it with me love where e’er I go. The wonderful River Shannon flows from the Shannon Pot, in Co. Cavan, through the country right down to Limerick where it gentle flows out to sea. A stunning fixture of Limerick city it has become, in recent times, an attractive selling point for incoming tourists. Limerick City Council is trying to invest more time in the pulling power of the Shannon, providing ample seating areas around the town to sit back and watch it flow right by.
Bourkes Bar, just off Thomas St., is growing a great reputation since it opened only a year or so ago. Plagued with a sordid history of the pubs it used to be, people were sceptical to enter it at first, however in recent times, Bourkes has opened its doors to various live music outfits hosting regular free gigs from respectable acts such as Jape, RSAG and David Kitt. Bourkes also hosts some fine Trad music nights and is perfect situated in the city centre for pre-session boozing.
53. Limerick Football Club
Limerick Football Club has really pulled up its socks in the past few years. I am in no way a football fan myself but all of my proper male friends seem to be and it is on a weekly basis that I hear about the latest games and matches that take place in Jackman Park. The team recently opened up a new store displaying their, quiet impressive jersey and sports wear, in Arthurs Quay shopping centre.
54. O’Mahonys Book Store
When I was growing up O’Mahonys was a magical place, so large and housed in such a unique building, I thought O’Mahonys was a book giant. It wasn’t until I was old enough to travel when I realized that O’Mahonys Book store is something unique to Limerick. With some five levels of books of all genres, O’Mahonys is honestly something quite original, the architecture of the building alone sets it apart from anything else I’ve seen and even though it has been around for many a year, I still enjoy taking the time to stroll within its confines.
Poormans is a spot just behind the new Dunnes store (I call it new but its been open years now), just on the bank of the Shannon. It’s a little green patch that’s original name was Poormans Kilkee after the beloved hot spot of all Limericks natives. Poormans is synonymous with underage drinking but please don’t let this put you off, its not a bad place filled with horrible kids, it’s a gathering space where youths come to blow off some steam and enjoy each others company just far enough away from the populated city for it to be called their own. Poormans also serves as a general lounging area when weather permits.
56. The Lodge
The Lodge of Castletroy, we’ve all been there, don’t deny it. It’s a hole, a hovel, a cesspit but it also acts as more than that. You haven’t really experienced Limerick until you can complain about the Lodge, it’s a right of passage so to speak. Its doors are open to all… and why not, it is a business after all, its dance area looks like a pit where a local fight club initiative might set up, spectators circling the boundary and drinks are robbed by everyone (if you take your hands and eye off it, its fair game). The Lodge is home, primarily to UL students who either couldn’t be arse to head into town or are mad for banter any night of the week. I once went to a Debs there, a very strange occurrence, all of us dressed in suits and fine clothing surrounded by tatty wooden features, it was an enjoyable night, like we were all children of respectable business owners being held for ransom. Ah the Lodge… what more can I say.
57. Friendship – United for Dean
Bar a few years of college and a long period in Dublin, I’ve lived in Limerick a majority of my life, over the course of this time I’ve forged many friendships, all of which I hope to hold on to forever more. We all have friends and we all know we feel about them, so instead of me waxing on about how great my mates are (I tell them this regularly, they are often victims of expressions of love. Honestly, ask any of them, they’re sick of me telling them how much I love em, I love you guys!), I’m gonna tell you the story of friendship that has little to do with me. Back in 2009 a young man that I went to primary school with named Dean O’Carroll passed away from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. Dean was an avid soccer fan and his friends, who missed him dearly, wanted to honour his memory and did so in the only way they saw fit. Every year, his friends gather and hold a charity soccer tournament called United for Dean. The tournament is growing every year and this year, due to immigration, a separate United for Dean was held in Australia. How wonderful the people of Limerick are, that friendships forged here outlive the lives of people themselves. United for Dean is a charity event, which fundraises for Bóthar every year and can be found on Facebook.
58. Gaelic Grounds
The Gaelic Grounds on the Ennis Rd is another crowning achievement in Limericks sporting legacy. With a capacity of 49,500 (nearly twice as much as Thomond park), it is another site to behold on game night. Cheers from the ensuing crowd can be heard at least from my house located some 3 miles away from the grounds. Home to the Limerick Hurling team, I have had the pleasure of taking the pitch in my youth… although, I never really knew what I was doing in hurling, I generally dug up the pitch when attempting to hit the sliotar.
59. Blind Pig
The Blind Pig is Limericks latest alternative music venue. Previously Bakers place was the principle location for local live music, however, once this was hit in the recession, a new location was needed to house the vibrant music scene. It took some time but in the last year The Blind Pig has opened on Foxes Bow Lane. A small venue, it is serves perfectly as hangout spot for all those who wish to experience Limericks alternative music scene.
60. Glenstal Abbey
Glenstal Abbey, in Murroe Co. Limerick, houses the Benedictine Monks of old. Situated on over 500 acres of land the Abbey plays host to lakes, nature paths, various streams, at the heart of which is an ancient Norman style castle. The Abbey itself is built in honour of Saint Joseph and Columbia and houses the Benedictine Monks who go to church four times for mass… I could hardly sit through half an hour as a kid, so fair play boys. The land is as picturesque and the site is open to day visitors interested in the lands rich history.
61. Brilliant Childhood
I would have to assume that Limerick is one of the greatest places in Ireland to grow up. Please, if you’re reading these from elsewhere in the country don’t be mad, I know I’m wholeheartedly biased on this one but whenever I steal quiet time with friends we often discuss how most of everyone we are associated with are good, honest people. Kind hearted with minimal ego, we can’t all have turned out this way without a brilliant childhood. Going to School in St. Nessans was something I often reminisce about as the greatest years of my life, many people would scratch their heads but for me school was a joy, not that I was a nerd or anything, I generally just drifted by but with level headed mates all game for a laugh how could you not love going there, my other mates too often discuss their schools with fond recollection. Limerick, a wonderful place for a childhood.
62. The White House
The White House bar, located at the top of O’Connell Street, is a charming little Irish bar that harbours some of Limericks greatest intellectuals. The White House holds weekly open mic poetry and short story nights as well as the occasional table quiz’, although I’ve been too embarrassed to sign up for these, for fear of coming last… While also serving some of the best Guinness in Limerick, this bar could be classed as a classic old man pub but offers and warm and friendly vibe whenever inside.
63. King Johns Castle (Landmark)
King Johns Castle, a 13th century fort, stands proud and tall over the city of Limerick. Its presence is felt throughout the county and I pass it daily as I walk from home to town and vise-versa. I am in awe of that building… at least from the outside river view, don’t ever go to the front door and, even more so, don’t consider going inside. It is atrocious, not a heritage tour but more so a hollowed out castle… were you waiting for a punch line there? Sorry, there is none, the inside of the castle has nothing whatsoever but from outside you can marvel in its beauty. Very recently it was unveiled that King Johns Castle would get a new facelift, turning its surrounds, such as Bishops St., into a medieval quarter, similar to Edinburgh, if this is done well it will be a selling point for the city and have great pulling power. King Johns Castle is a marvel from the river side and I am glad that I was born on that side of the river, as I get to wake up to it daily with beautiful walks and scenic views we can only hope further development enhances its qualities and make it a landmark we can actually be proud of.
64. O’Connell Grill/Golden Grill
Chippers are in abundance in Ireland, let alone Limerick, but if for some reason you can’t seem to get your lazy ass as far as Donkey Fords the O’Connell or Golden Grill in the city centre are honourable substitutes. You’ll be greeted with a warm Limerick “How’a’ya Love”, smiles and banter are ripe in these institutions and with enough salt and vinegar to bring down a small elephant you’ll leave satisfied.
65. Clare Street Park
When I was compiling this list the Park on Clare Street was something that came to mind fairly early on. I couldn’t think of the name for it though, surely it wasn’t just called Clare Street Park, I’d look into it, the internet would have an answer or failing this, my mother… but none could solve the mystery. The nameless Park on Clare Street is a strong memory from my past, a large park filled with green fields and childrens play area it is generally reserved for the students of the Arts College across the road but is perfect for hanging out on a sunny afternoon. A prime location just outside the city limits, its large open space provides ample room for all activities, from laying about to small games of rugby, football or frisbee.
66. Long School Dresses
Limerick seems to be the only county that has a modicum of respect for its female youth… and for that, I can never forgive it. Whenever I travel outside the county I am greeted with schoolgirls in short skirts, literally everywhere. I spent a year averting my eyes in Galway and I pretty much hid away when I was living in Dublin. Limerick has imposed a zero tolerance stance on exposed ankles; I remember when my sister was in school there was a limit to the length of your school dress. A Limerick thing by all accounts, young pubescent boys must travel beyond the city walls to get a go of some much coveted calf action.
67. University Concert Hall
The University Concert Hall, in the grounds of the University of Limerick, is a seated venue, which can hold over 1000 patrons. A large stage it is used for everything really from Operas, Dance shows, Comedy, Plays, Concerts. UCH provides and evening of high class entertainment, a relaxed atmosphere I have had the pleasure of seeing sets from the likes of The Frames to comedy shows from the likes of Tommy Tiernan and Des Bishop.
68. Papa Ginos
There is Pizza and then there is Papa Ginos Pizza. Located on Denmark St., Papa Ginos is a family run business as owned by Papa Gino himself, it opens, whenever he feels like and closes in a similar fashion. His pizzas are hand made with love… and pepper, lots of pepper. A wonderfully exuberant man you will often find him sitting in his back kitchen watching Gangster movies, heaven forbid he actually live up to the stereotype. His pizzas are delicious and his smile equally as refreshing.
69. BYOB Events
Bring Your Own Booze events are another aspect of Irish culture that has grown in the past few years. While in Dublin I attended several of these held by various institutions, primarily short story groups… some of which I found a little strange. Limerick however, plays is safe with music events. As I said, Limerick is crazy about rhythmic ceremonial rituals and when these events are turned into BYOB party, they provide a cheap and effective way of enjoying a night out with mates.
70. The Shannon Bridge
The Shannon Bridge, more commonly known as the New Bridge given the fact that it is the newest bridge to extend over the River Shannon… even though that was some 30 odd years ago. The bridge itself is actually quite an eyesore, after all it was build in the 80’s, think of the fashion, how were we gonna make a bridge look good, the best we could hope for is that it served its purposed and let traffic pass over it. So why am I mentioning this bridge if it is such a slight on Limericks landscape, well, if you were stand on the only place where you couldn’t see the bridge you happen to get another fantastic view of the city. Yes, that’s right, stand on the bridge itself and look back on the city. Again, the beautiful landscape holds your line of sight, the River Shannon raging towards you, the town a bustling feature, the much more attractive Sarsfield Bridge and the old defunct rowing club. I’ve always marvelled at that view, something that should be enjoyed more often.
Limericks tattoo industry seems to be in full bloom at the moment, with every passing day a new tattoo shop is opening up throughout the city, offering the best in skin artistry. I’ve never gotten a tattoo, at one time I thought about it but I just don’t think it’s for me, but many of my friends proudly show off the various pieces of art that adorn their bodies, a testament to the artists and tattoo galleries that line Limericks streets.
72. Magic FM
Magic FM was a supremely popular pirate radio station from another life ago, way back in the early 2000’s. When we were a younger, teenagers, growing up and just discovering music we wanted to be surrounded by it in every aspect, Magic FM catered for this, at least for me and many others. An alternative music station it broadcast in the evenings with 2 DJ’s shooting the breeze and playing requests and anything that came to mind. I remember the only radio I could listen to it on was the one in my dads car, I used to hijack it in the evening and sit down texting in with the terrible handle of C-Man… of course, whenever they called out my name on air it came out as seamen… classic. Anyone growing up in Limerick during the 90’s knew Magic FM, it was surely the basis for a love of alternative music that has grown in years since then, if any of the people involved in Magic read this, I thank you, yours the C-Man.
73. Annie Fitz
Again immortalized by The Rubberbandits, in their song Bag of Glue, Annie Fitz is Limericks resident town drunk. Always seen with a bottle of Linden Village she, harmlessly, rambles about town. If Limerick had taken a different route and not invested in its people and surroundings, Annie Fitz could easily have been the mascot to this town but thankfully she is not.
74. Castletroy House Parties
House parties are rampant throughout Limerick but the house parties of old, primarily college and mainly those of Casteltroy are legendary, how working residents put up with it is beyond me. Castletroy is located adjacent to University of Limerick and with over 11,000 students on campus there tends to be a few parties every now and again. A place of debauchery and mayhem these parties live on in memory, for once you leave college you wonder how you ever survived these hellish places. Walks of Shame are commonplace in this part of the world and rotten heads, while not mandatory, are understood and empathised with.
Bentleys, much like its clientele, is an old bar, hanging almost adrift from the city mid way up O’Connell Street, surrounded by nothing, it is a place for people who want to escape the loud yelps of downtown youths. For the younger patrons it is a place to make yourself feel youthful once more as many of the main customers are over 30, not necessarily a bad thing, they’ve found a spot that caters to them and they’re happy with it. On the bright side, Bentleys seems to always be open and on a Saturday night is mobbed so they must be doing something right.
The people of Limerick are diamond, don’t get me wrong we have our fair share of scum that wonder the streets ruining it for the rest of us but, the vast majority of the people of Limerick are salt of the earth folk, who greet you with a smile and nod as you walk by. Barring instances of youth orientated violence I have seen only respect shown by the people of Limerick and this is something we should be proud of. The only thing I can fault any of us on, and were probably all symptomatic of it; not only in Limerick, is the diffusion of responsibly theory, whereby if something bad is seen in public no one stands to take action assuming others will look after it. If the good people of Limerick were to stand together when dealing with a lot of the hoodlums of this city we’d stamp it out with ease. Limerick, generally speaking, a great bunch of lads.
77. Limerick Grand Prix
A little know fact about Limerick is that it once held its very own Grand Prix back in the late 1930’s. The biggest names in car racing of the time, Maserati, Bugatti, MG, Ford, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Austin came to Limerick to compete in the ‘Race Between the Houses’ Grand Prix. Competitors raced over a 2.76mile circuit, completing 55 laps that took them down O’Connell Street, up William Street, out Roxborough Road to Careys Road, Rossbrien Road, up to Punches Cross then back down O’Connell Ave to O’Connell St. In 2010, marking the 75th anniversary of the race, Limerick had to privilege of having many of these pre 1940’s cars return to compete in a much more civilised Grand Prix. Limericks on street Grand Prix is only matched by the Monte Carlo Grand Prix as the only 2 street races taking on the original layout.
78. Shannon Pop
Another wholly Limerick thing Shannon Pop, it was around many moons ago, long before my youth. It came in two sizes; tiny hand size bottles you can down in one gulp or massive 3litre bottles that you could never finish, because you realize how bad it is. We grew up on Shannon Cola in our house and for years I was addicted to it, literally addicted, only one shop locally supplied it and I was probably their main customer, they had a monopoly on me. Shannon Pop also came in other varieties, the now apparently illegal, Red Lemonade, and Cream Soda… remember that horrible yellowy almost urine coloured drink that tasted literally like nothing else, Cream Soda… what is it? I still don’t know. In recently years Shannon Pop seems to have disappeared and Country Spring has taken its place, thankfully I’ve been weaned off the Cola flavour since they stopped doing the 30p bottles.
Curraghchase is a Coillte maintained forest and general park area, with a general admission of €5 per car this place is a bargain. Located just beyond Askeaton, in Co. Limerick, the 380 acres of land are open to roam about, all year long. With a large lake in the centre surrounded by a forest, the grounds also hold a large, now boarded up, mansion. The €5 entry fee is minimal as the grounds are kept to a high standard, it is perfect for cycling, running and prime for lounging with friends in the summer months.
I would consider myself a relatively well-travelled man, at least in terms of Ireland. I’ve been the length and breadth of country at this stage but having spent a majority of my life in Limerick, I have to classify our women as some of the best our nation has on offer, I’m not talking just in terms of looks. Limerick holds some of the most down to earth birds the world over, well able for witty banter with the lads, some of the most intelligent and insightful creatures I have ever come across have been natives or long time settlers in Limerick. And yes, lets face it, visions, beauties that can only be matched by the Shannon herself, Limericks women folk are, for the most part, stunners and while they look through me as if I weren’t there, at least I get to gaze upon these Goddesses on a daily basis.
Many people dislike the relative smallness of Limerick City, the city itself only encompasses around 7 miles across and 5 miles in width, as the crow flies. Limerick, at times, can seem a rather tiny place but in the grand scheme of things were not doing so bad. We are the third largest city in Ireland with a population over 90,000 citizens, it general size is something we should be proud of. Limerick is prime for circumnavigating, whether on foot of by bike, you can be in one end of the city to the next in just little over an hour. Limerick is slowly realizing this and bicycle lanes are springing up all over the town making it much more environmentally friendly. Another nice aspect of our quaintness is a proximity to the countryside, we’re only a stones throw away from wonderful scenic views of Clare, Tipperary, Cork and Kerry. This distance to the wilderness also enhances out ability to see nature in action, often witnessing Urban Foxes prowl our streets on late nights.
82. Bella Italia
Another proud building located on Thomas Street, Bella Italia is Limericks main authentic Italian restaurant. This place is delicious and has always been consistent in procuring customers; its wide range of dishes and downstairs take away deli counter caters for all. Simple dishes like spaghetti bolognaise are transformed into something completely original and with its friendly staff you are guaranteed a relaxed, comfortable and, most importantly, tasty night out.
83. Lough Gur
Lough Gur is situated some 20kilometres from Limerick City Centre, just passed Ballyneety. It is a relatively small lake nestled nearly beneath a quaint hill top. The scene is picturesque, very relaxed and tranquil, my father used to bring my siblings and I out there when we were younger, using our superior eye sight to catch frogs for him to use as bait when fishing. With a heritage tour also in place, similar in vein to Craggaunowen in Co. Clare, Lough Gur hosts some 6000 years of archaeological history all open to the public and all highly recommended.
84. City Block Grid System
What does Limerick and New York have in common, well… its kind of obvious now from the heading but yes, we are both based on the city block grid system. Back in the early 19th centaury Edmond Sexton Perry, speaker in the Irish House of Commons, was the driving force in developing Limericks new Georgian town centre into the block grid system, this gave Limerick a wonderfully simple planning, enabling ease of traffic flow, and serving as a useful directional tool. Limerick is by no means the first to implement this grid system but local legend dictates that Limericks grid system was, in fact, the motivating factor in putting Manhattan on the Grid System also. Of course, I have found no facts to substantiate these claims but Limericks Grid System was proposed in 1800 and Manhattans Grid System came into play marginally later in 1811, close enough for the legend to hold weight at least.
The other great walled city of Limerick, Kilmallock, close to the boarder of Co. Cork, is a prime example of the beautiful small towns Ireland has to offer. Kilmallock was once a town of great strategic importance and has a vibrant history of war and battles. The town has retained a lot of its ancient qualities, the Killmallock Priory still standing proudly right next to the town centre, the old walls of the city are also still on show and can be seen throughout this vibrant and spirited town.
86. Death Notices
Another interesting fact about Limerick (this one I learnt just this week!) is that it was the first city ever to broadcast the death notices on the radio… a bit morbid I’ll admit but still, something in Irish culture which is still on going started within our city walls. Apparently there was a radio documentary on Radio 1 last week, which went into detail about it (a friend of mine filled me in on the details over a pint). The radio presenter used to walk around Limerick discussing current affairs with the locals and upon find out who has passed away, decided to inform the general public over his weekly broadcast radio show. Yet another wonderfully interesting fact about this charming city.
87. JP McManus
Limerick owes pretty much everything to JP McManus, the multi-millionaire born in Limerick has bank rolled us for years now. Little is know about this recluse outside of the fact that he is a shrewd businessman with money to burn. McManus is the largest owner of competitive racehorses in Ireland with over 400 horses in training. McManus is also a philanthropist, of sorts, and each year offers a scholarship fund for 8 selected students of his former secondary school in C.B.S. Limerick. Every few years he also hosts the J.P. McManus Invitation Pro-Am gold tournament in Limerick to raise funds for local Limerick charities.
Again, this might not hold weight with others from outside of the County but those of you reading this in Limerick of my age, for you, Limerick is filled with absolutely wonderful memories. My teenage years were spent happily moshing away in Lexus nightclub, not too long after, I got my first fake I.D. (cheers Pa Griffin) and more doors opened up, Termites particularly, both of these venues were the same place but only one served alcohol, the dingiest spot in town in the Savoy night club. The Highstool, too, became a preference, going there for your weekly dose of live music, listening to all the local bands promoted by AMC and Grey Area Music (if I’m not mistaken). Captain Jacks Café, something that was only a blip on the radar of Limericks history (was it really only opened for a year), it seems like I lived in that place half of my life. Hanging out with the Goth crew occasionally, drinking in Poormans, heading to Trinity Rooms, if Limericks walls could talk, they’d probably talk about much more important things than this but they can’t so Im filling in the details.
89. The Treaty Stone
The Treaty Stone is named after the Treaty of Limerick was signed on this otherwise unimpressive piece of limestone rock. The treaty marked the end of the Williamite war in Ireland between the Jacobites and the followers of William of Orange. The stone was originally a mounting block for horse riders but due to the lack of a suitable table, the Treaty of Limerick was signed on this rock and since then we have held it as a false god… not really. Originally the monument stood pretty much on Thomond Bridge but was moved just off this site in favour of a Clancy Strand spot in 1990.
90. Stroll Down Memory Lane
As previously stated Limerick is a proud, historical town, where memories run as loftily as the Shannon herself. Local historian and journalist, Sean Curtin, has taken on the mission of capturing the history of Limerick in photographic documentation in his series of books called, Limerick: A Stoll Down Memory Lane. We used to get these books back when my Grandmother was still alive, so she could look back on the days gone by and remember, with fondness, her youth but as more books came in, I found myself drawn to them. You can literally see the evolution of the city since the advent of the camera, old street views and how they have changed, A Stroll Down Memory Lane has become a permanent fixture in our house and I highly recommend all the citizens of Limerick to pick one up and pa-rouse it, it is fantastically interesting.
91. Limerick Youth Theatre
Limerick Youth Theatre (LYT), was set up in 1997 and is now reaching its 15th year in Limerick. A youth services company, LTY was set up to engage with the youth in, not only producing and encouraging interest in theatre, but also other forms of media from film, television and radio production. Some of the best people I have ever come to know have come out of LYT, its structure seems to call and invite the engaging and exceptional youth of Limerick into its arms… obviously I myself was part of this motley crew, but I was kicked out for being too damned amazing… and breaking the very few rules they have in place, but what can I say, I’m a radical.
92. Clancy Strand
I might be a bit prejudiced here, I live down the road from Clancy Strand but I love that road, I think it’s one of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever seen. Not from looking at the houses mind but by looking our over the river. The road was recently revamped and a walkway was implemented making scenic views even more enjoyable. Starting from the Treaty Stone you have a stunning view of King Johns Castle and Thomond Bridge, walking towards town you are then gifted the wonderful sights of the Curragower falls itself (although with the addition of the new park, a lot of its original magic is lost), from here you are treated with the Potato Market Bridge, a stunning hump back bridge, seldom in use. Then the city opens up right before your very eyes and as you walk along the river, you really see the scale of the city centre. A juxtaposition of old and new, castle and town, you see Limericks original selling point, its placement on the banks of the Shannon. Clancy Strand is a sight to be seen at any time, day or night, a joy I still marvel upon her on a daily occurrence.
93. Drunken Thady and The Bishops Lady.
Limerick is not without its fair share of the supernatural, the legendary poem, as written by the Bard of Thomond, Michael Hogan, tells the tale of The Bishops Lady and Drunken Thady. The Bishops Lady, a philistine and philanderer, was killed in a moment of passion, her ghost continued to haunt Thomond Bridge, where she died, until a priest suppressed her spirit. Many years later Drunken Thady came to be, his wicked ways rivalled those of The Bishops Lady. One night, when returning home drunk, he is confronted by the ghost of the Bishops Lady on Thomond Bridge, she is determined to drag him to hell, to pay for his debauchery as she had to. She threw Thady over the bridge, where he clung for dear life, permanent etchings of his finger nails can still be seen on the bridge where he tried to hold on, he was unable to do so however and plummeted into the Shannon being dragged towards the Curragower falls. Thankfully he knew the river well, having swam it all his life and survived the ordeal, only to become a good and honest Christian man.
Todds, that’s what it will be known forever, not Brown Thomas. No one from Limerick calls it Brown Thomas, even though it’s been Brown Thomas since I was a child and I have never had any reason to know it as anything other than that. Our parents called it Todds and so that’s what we call it. Todds is the central hub of Limerick, when meeting anyone you meet at Todds. I’m pretty sure if you stood there for the day the only people you would see would be people waiting for other people in aims of moving away from Todds. It once was home to the local Goth crew who sat there day in, day out, wreaking their own brand of mischief, Todds is now Brown Thomas… but don’t let anyone hear you call it that, cause it Todds.
The people of Limerick are a proud bunch, we love our city and we take offence to those who put us in bad light. Yeah, we like to take the piss, but Limerick is our family, we’re entitled to do so. When we use the old Stab City line it’s always said in jest, when people outside of Limerick use the Stab City line, it’s said with malice. Tabloid journalism has made us out to be a place of debauchery, a Gotham City, where no one can walk the streets for fear of muggings and killings, and yes, sometimes these things do take place but they take place all over the world, the fact of the matter is sometime people are bad but for the vast majority people are good and that is where Limerick firmly stands, on the side of the good. We are a united people and if the rest of the country took the time to visit they would see that we have quite a bit going for us.
Again, probably made famous by The Rubberbandits, Limerick seems to have a language unto itself. Down in this part of the world everyone can do a scumbag accent, it seems to be some sort of crazy evolutionary step we all have taken to fend for ourselves in unsightly situations. Some of the best Limerickisms are entire sentences whittled down to single words for example ‘Come here, I would like to talk to you’ becomes ‘C’mere’I’wancha’, ‘Kid’ replaces the i with an a and becomes ‘Kad’, all crisps are known as ‘Taytos’, so people often ask for a packet of ‘Walkers Taytos’ or ‘Tayto, Taytos’, ‘eating’ becomes ‘atein’ but my absolute favourite of all the Limerickisms has to be that there are no such thing as runners or trainers down here, you wear ‘tackies’, ‘daycent’ ones at that. Tackies, I dunno where it came from by my word do I love it.
97. Great Limerick Run
I wasn’t too sure whether I should give the GLR a spot of its own on this list, after all it does fall under several other categories within this list from May Festival to Limerick: Irelands Sporting Capital, but the GLR is a triumph of the city. The GLR is a race series, a full marathon, a half marathon and a 10K run that takes you on a full tour of Limerick, from the city centre, out to UL, back out to Raheen and then over to Thomond Park region. As I said before Limerick is a fantastic city to begin running in, several years ago I took it up myself and just in the nick of time too it seemed as when GLR was announced, I opted to take part in it. Three years on I have taken part in all of the three events, finishing my full marathon last year with a great sense of pride. The Great Limerick Run is a wonderful addition to the city and has fostered a remit of healthy living for all those who wish to take part.
98. Mickey Martins
Mickey Martins just off Thomas Street, on Augustinian Lane, is a prime location for any bar. It is settled right into an alleyway, surrounded by cafes and restaurants, Mickey Martins has nightly DJ’s and a nice relaxed atmosphere. While small, it seems to accommodate for its clientele very well, never appearing too busy. In years gone by, Mickeys was quiet dingy and almost dangerous at points (particularly that narrow stairwell), recently it has come into its own, now serving as one of the finest and most entertaining bars in Limerick.
99. Flip It-Tv
Last but certainly not least, us, right here at Flip It-Tv. Started by the magnificent Olivia Chau and Alison Daly in 2010, Flip It-Tv was an effort to get out of the funk of saying that Limerick has nothing and does nothing by actually going out there and doing something. Over the past 2 years the girls have been joined by a whole host of crew to bring Limerick up to speed on the latest trends, bands, DJs and general people who grace our much loved land. Flip It is growing in popularity weekly and with your help, by sharing and these pages and watching the videos, it will continue to do so. They also gave me the opportunity to voice my opinions and get me writing more so, for that, I am forever thankful.
And there you have it, my 99 Reasons to Visit Limerick. This list, for the most part, is personal but I would imagine it reflects a lot of people within my age group from Limerick. It is in no way in order of preference and, being conceived from my head alone, probably leaves out quiet a lot. I invite people to discuss the list in an open forum, recommending pieces I have left out, forgotten or failed to mention due to lack of personal experience. I also implore people from other cities and towns to take heed of what they have on offer and possibly list their own preferences, it broadens the scope of understanding throughout the country and is actually quite refreshing to undertake.
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