Three hundred years after the defeat of.lamcs ll.
Limerick is ri 'alling Dublin‘s cultural
celebrations. Melanie Prestige trys out some Guinness. Gaelic and five-line verse in time for
St Patrick‘s Day.
Not everyone you meet in Limerick has a knack for inventing five-line ditties but they all share the ability to tell a cracking story. The citizens of this westerly city are making a valiant effort to turn the tourist spotlight away from Dublin (as ('ultural (‘apital of Europe). and onto themselves. This year Limerick proclaims the story of its Treaty 3th) festival with all the traditional ceremonies. events and vibrant
It helps to get an overview of Limerick's history to understand the origins of the festival. The first place we sought out was the stone on which the Treaty was signed in 1691. now resting on a plinth at the western end of'l'homond Bridge. 11 marked the end of a bloody siege when William of ()range defeated James II to secure his claim to the English throne. and promised ('atholics religious and property rights. After the departure of the Irish army to Europe. peace finally came to the
Ironically. the festival glosses over one important fact. The Treaty was never honoured. Instead the English enforced anti-( 'atholic measures to an extreme degree. Many locals beliey e that this betrayal alone. may explain the roots of today‘s element of Republican support in the city.
Limericks heritage is to explore its medieval quarter on a guided walking tour with Liam ()‘l lanlon.
(‘athedraL built in the 12th century and featuring striking misericords: choir seats made of black oak with reptiles carved in bold relief. Across Mathew Bridge we looked iiilo the (‘ustom House. an lts'th century
appropriate to a huge orig lrish party.
best way to appreciate
irst stop was St Mary‘s
building of classical design.
Opposite. the low it Hall houses a small art gallery with pictures of local
Liam is equally keen totell you about Limerick's reiuvenalion and its determination to become a forward—looking city. \"arious government bodies are investing £50 million into an urban renewal
King John‘s Castle. Limerick, built bythe Normans in 1210
programme to boost tourism and employment figures. Theatres. museums and main sites such as King .lohn's (‘astle are undergoing major facelifts.
To get into the swing of contemporary Limerick we headed for the pubs which line ()‘(‘onnell Street and form an integral part of Limerick‘s social life. Do not expect the food to match up to the conversation. or the legendary qlialitiesof a pint of(}uinness. In the whole of the Shannon region we found the food invariably of the plain meat and potatoes variety. Patrick l’unch‘s Pub is a notable exception. It may be over the top in olde worlde charm. but the owners can be justifiably proud ofthcir salmon steaks and oyster salads.
Most pubs specialise in differan types of mtisie on specific days of the week. If you speak (iaclic go to An (‘lii'su'n in a cheery basement in Thomas Street where you will be asked to sing a ballad within minutes of arrival. .'\.s my singing and my (iaelic leaves much to desired. We headed for .Vunri' Burke's on Denmark Street where we nestled into a dai k corner and settled dow ll to listen to a group of men playing fiddles. Take it from me. however had you sing. it is no good thinking a
l l i i ! l !
few inhibitions will save you. My advice to other no-hopers is to come armed with a stack ofjokes. or long convoluted stories with which you can distract your audience. Naturally the city hopes to make the most ofSt Patrick’s Day. It will be holding a week-long festival to launch the first major event in its Treaty3llllcelebrations. from 17—232 March there will be carnivals and exhibitions. choral events. lrish dancing championships and an international marching band competition. But the most
appropriate way to get into the spirit of the place. is to sharpen your wits and enter the Write a Limerick competition before 31 March. The winner will be awarded £100“ plus a weeks holiday in Dromoland
If you can improve on James Joyce. get scribbling!
iii/H'rt’ was a young privy! named Delaney H’lm yard In the girls, IIUIU bem'
'I'ivou/d temp! I/Tt’ archbishop
The way (hill vuu 5 wish up
Yours/(ms when I/lt’ H earlier is :(my.
USEFUL INFORMATION Getting There
Aer Lingus runs an Edinburgh—Shannon return Apexflight for 2115. Campus Travel's return Apex flight from Glasgowto Shannon via Dublin isthe same price. Telephone 041 357 0608. Students and anyone under 26 can buy a Eurotrain ticket. eg Edinburgh—Limerick costs £82.50. including sea crossing. Telephone 031 668 3303.
There is a Grade A ‘Oige' Youth Hostel in Perry Square which charges members £4.30 and non members £5.30. Telephone 061314 672. Mostolthe cheaperB&Bs are in Glentvvorth and Henry Streets. Fora more upmarket hotel. try Woodland House Hotel in
For details on forthcoming events in the Treaty 300 celebrations. city walking tours. maps and leaflets. visit this office outside the
i Granary in Michael Street. i Forentertainmentlistings. I pickupacopyotthe
3 monthly bulletin. What's
For details and entryform. ' write to Treaty300 Limericks Competition. Adapt House. Hosbrien. Limerick. Ireland.
Rough Guide to Ireland has a useful short section on Limerick.
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List a — 2i Much 1951—