Limerick and Chips

Marvellous cultural weekend in Limerick

I love this town.  I love the endless pool of multi-talented bastards who inhabit it.  I love its edginess.  I love the way Limerick looks at the world and says, Come in at your own risk, we are who we are.

We are a strange crowd and that’s what sets us apart, but in a nice way, you know?  In a nice way.

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This weekend, as part of the City of Culture thing, we had a celebration of chips, and why?  Everyone likes chips, apart from the people who don’t like chips, otherwise known as liars.  We’re not a pretentious town.  We tend not to give our eating-places spurious French names or pretend to love things that are plainly disgusting and that no sane human being would swallow, although yes, it is true that we have one or two cringe-inducing restaurant names and a small bunch of folks who like to go on about truffles, but you’ll find gobshites everywhere.

What a mad weekend.  Culture and Chips with the Tomcat Festival and the very same Spiegeltent in which Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich performed, combined  to give us Limerick at its finest.  Random pianists playing in reclaimed city-centre open spaces and in posh department stores like Brown Thomas.  Traditional craftsmen offering free workshops in the art of water-gilding.  Screen-printers making tee-shirts for kids in the street.  Flash-mobs, tangoing, street-haranguing.  Activism.  General childishness.  And of course, a chip competition, or to be more specific, the World Chip Championships.

Everything with chips, including the wonderful Jerry Fish (and chips) in the  Spiegeltent and my man, Jack Loughman, aka Jack Lukeman, aka Jack L, who made the tent his own and who can surely now die happy after a breathtaking performance in the same space occupied by the divine Marlene.

Credit must go where it’s due, though in no particular order.  The council is constantly on the receiving end of abuse, sometimes fairly and sometimes not, but in recent times, perhaps because younger staff are now involved,  it seems to have realised what the rest of us knew forever, that Limerick is a place buzzing with creativity.  So yes, well done to, eh, whatever it’s called now that it’s been combined.  As usual, of course, no marks to the elected councillors.

Credit also to Dolans, who demonstrated the ability to make a public event into a welcoming, embracing thing, without keeping people behind barriers.  With the antiquated model of event management employed in Limerick up to now, there has always been  far too many shabby VIPs, friends of the organisers, and not enough important people.  It’s time everyone in Limerick felt themselves a participant at these events, and not just simply an onlooker at the other side of the fence.

Needless to mention, without the input of the TomCat people, the town wouldn’t have had the same buzz, and therefore, much kudos to them, especially the good folks of the Blind Pig, Mickey Martin’s and Bourke’s Bar, but also to the traders of those streets, including Karl Kleiser the best piano-supplier in Ireland,  who all pitched in to support the weekend.  I’ll be adding details as the week goes on.

It all goes to show that when a town comes together, so much is possible.  I was proud of Limerick this weekend, not only for the Barcelona feel (without the pickpockets) but also for the Munich-style Gemütlichkeit .   It could have been any town, anywhere in Europe, almost, but at the same time, we never lose the edge.

That’s Limerick City, kid!  Great stuff.  Much to fix, but much more to be proud of.

Limerick city of culture and chips tomcat festival


Limerick city of culture and chips tomcat festival


Limerick city of culture and chips tomcat festival

Limerick city of culture and chips tomcat festival


Limerick city of culture and chips tomcat festival


Limerick city of culture and chips tomcat festival

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Limerick city of culture and chips tomcat festival

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Limerick city of culture chips tomcat


Limerick city of culture chips tomcat

5 thoughts on “Limerick and Chips

  1. Limerick City traditionally empties out in the summer months (unlike Galway, for example). I think we’re starting to see the emergence of a city where people prefer to hang around rather than head away from, to Kilkee, Ballybunion, etc. Both are lovely spots but our city has much to offer too.

  2. I was in town on Saturday and must agree with Brian & Bock. There was a great buzz in the city and it seemed for once that the city belonged to us Limerick folk. We don’t really do citizenship in this make believe republic of ours.
    The national press have been rather quite about the positive events in Limerick, obviously it doesn’t suit their agenda.

  3. It would be nice to see a marquee left up in Arthurs Quay for the whole summer, like Cork do. The Spiegeltent was spectacular. There was a great atmosphere around there and the whole city this weekend. Hats off to all concerned. Even the waahs had a noticably small presence.

  4. I moved out of Limerick last year and I do miss the place. It’s great to see things like this happening in the city. I could never understand why there was a mass exodus from the city during the summer months. People leaving there nice houses to go and stay in a shitty little caravan in Ballyb or Lahinch or Kilkee or wherever. Limerick needs a more efficient way of marketing itself. I work in hospitality and I always try and steer people to take in Limerick on the tours of Ireland. I hope this City of Culture thing will put the city on the tourist trail for good.

  5. Great stuff. I love chips and hate all those spilsport fuckin’ scientists and healthy people who tell you that you can’t eat them all the time or they’ll kill you and then we have to tell our kids and see their poor little hearts break when we tell them that this stupendous food is not good and to eat the fuckin’ brocolli (I usually but not always manage to omit the expletives with the kids)… wonder they don’t trust adults…. Can you blame them………and yeah I miss Limerick…..
    When did we get all cultured and stuff ? ……sham. Xxx

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