The historic city of Limerick is Ireland’s inaugural City of Culture for 2014, and with over 200 performances and exhibitions lined up it looks set to put on quite a show.
International, national and local acts will present a varied programme of cultural expression including street events, visual art, music, Secret Limerick, food, fashion and craft, children’s events, architecture and sport.
The year of cultural celebration kicked off this month with a performance of Riverdance, composed by Limerick-born Bill Whelan, and which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
One of the highlights of the City of Culture year will take place in March (13–22) when the city hosts the Irish premiere of the sell-out London show, Fuerza Bruta.
This dance-circus-theatre fusion features astonishing visual effects including the image of a man bursting full throttle through a series of moving walls, and a watery world suspended just above the audience’s heads.
The all-standing show promises to deliver sensory overload and is billed as a theatrical experience of edgy non-stop entertainment.
In June, Ireland’s most famous flautist, Sir James Galway will perform with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, just one of a number of heavyweights from the world of music that will perform in Limerick during the year.
On a different musical note, Cranberries musician Noel Hogan will participate in ‘Pigtown Fling’, which will tour the city in a music bus throughout 2014 to encourage and support local musicians to create original work (‘Pigtown’ is one of Limerick’s nicknames, referring to the city’s thriving bacon curing industry.)
While 2014 is sure to be Limerick’s year in the cultural spotlight, there are many reasons to visit the city at any time.
One of these is the imposing medieval King John’s Castle, which sits in the heart of Limerick City and has recently undergone a multi-million euro makeover.
The 800-year-old castle now boasts a new visitor experience, which presents the dramatic history and archaeology of the site in an exciting, modern and multi-sensory way.
Another must-see visitor attraction is the Frank McCourt Museum, which celebrates the work of this Pulitzer Prize winner. McCourt spent much of his youth in Limerick, an experience that inspired his famous autobiographical novel, Angela’s Ashes.
Limerick is also a city that worships sport, and was designated European City of Sport 2011.
Rugby fans should not miss a visit to Thomond Park Stadium, the home of Munster rugby.
A tour of the stadium includes a visit to the Munster Experience Museum, which tells the history of the stadium, and a visit to the Munster Interactive Museum, a spectacular hands-on experience.