Reviewing the Limerick 2020 Bid Book

Limerick bid for European Capital of Culture 2020

limerick 2020To my shame, I didn’t read the Limerick 2020 bid book before it was submitted.

I just assumed, to my shame, that it would be a professionally-prepared submission making the most of our town as any submission would in the circumstances. I assumed, and now I am ashamed of my stupidity, that the Limerick 2020 submission would be written in plain English, that it would be devoid of cliché and that it would be packed with hard, compelling facts. The sort of facts that a jury would be unable to resist.

I assumed these things because, despite everything, I retain an unbending confidence in our town, but my confidence continues to wilt under the hammer-blows inflicted on it by disasters like the Limerick 2020 bid book.

At the very least, it seemed reasonable to assume that the 2020 bid would be written by a grown adult, but in reality what we found was a document drawn up by somebody who might have have been kicked out of a course in bad business cliché writing.

I felt embarrassed reading the opening paragraph that emphasised everything negative about Limerick. I cringed at “Dat’s Limerick City“. I asked myself if the people behind this bid had either lost their minds or somehow been hypnotised by a demented illiterate fifteen-year-old.

Do yourself a favour and read this thing right here. Don’t  take my word for it.

Read this document. Telll me if you think the person who wrote it  had a functional grasp of the English language. Tell me if you think the author understood what the bid was seeking to achieve. Tell me if you think the best way to win a bid is to write the submission in meaningless business-speak bullshit.

The smugness is simply staggering. This submission is based solely on the arts in Limerick and has no regard to anything else in our culture. It’s written in a stultified, meaningless jargon filled with clichés.

Limerick 2020 submission

This submission represents nothing of the Limerick I grew up in. It represents nothing of the Limerick we have our culture and our being in. This submission was written by one or two people who have not the slightest grasp of Limerick culture, one or two people who have no grasp of what our culture is, and therefore, predictably enough, this submission failed.

Shame on them.

But all the more shame on us for allowing them to speak on our behalf. We deserve what we get.


37 thoughts on “Reviewing the Limerick 2020 Bid Book

  1. You couldn’t have read it before it was submitted. They didn’t publish it until after we lost. Galway’s was available a few days before. Waterford’s (3 sisters) a week ago.

  2. The word culture embraces more than the arts. It’s more than art exhibitions, music, poetry and drama festivals. If we use it in an anthropological sense it will cover intellectual achievement (the University and everything educational), Lyric FM, Shannon Airport and industrial zone, and the ready access to the Atlantic fisheries and merchant shipping. Cliche utterances about the Arts heritage miss the economic and infrastructural dimensions to an important city. I’d think that the wrong people were consulted when the Limerick 2020 bid book was being drafted. The captains of industry didn’t get a look-in.

    In general the IDA tries to represent Ireland internationally as a modern, educated young population that industrial investors can confidently come to. Our tourism copy writers dwell on images of a quaint land flowing in poetry and song and lots of well bred horses running around castle ruins.

  3. It’s fairly shocking.

    I didn’t read it all, life being so brutally short, but it appears there’s little mention of sport – which should have featured in lights –, the heartbeat of the old town.

    No Munster rugby, club rugby, hurling, football. Andy Lee, Ireland’s only boxer at the 2004 Olympics,winning the WBO World middleweight title, the great Sam Lynch, a two-time world rowing champion and many more great athletes.

    They made a bollocks of it, like.

  4. Are they for feckin real…. Dat’s Limerick city…..
    Where to feck did someone give them the go ahead to mention that…
    We all know that saying is ONLY associated with the 3 stripes (adidas tops) with the white socks tucked in brigade…culture my arse….
    That piece was probably written by someone outside of Limerick and probably got most of the shite from Wikipedia…

  5. Sadly, this is also a part of our culture- the same few people with their fingers in the pie safeguarding it for themselves… No lessons were learned from the Irish capital of culture when it became a dog fight about the arts and largely became a series of private events for the same few circles with nothing bar a giant granny for the ordinary man to join in on, but what the fuck had that to do with Limerick culture? When I saw the giant banner the morning of the judges visit with #belonging all over it I actually thought we had got our act together, I thought- finally someone has woken up here and realized what culture, and particularlyLimerick culture, Is about, our people! This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to turn our city around and to make it a much better place for the next generation, bigger fools us is right.

  6. ‘Are they for feckin real…. Dat’s Limerick city…..
    Where to feck did someone give them the go ahead to mention that…
    We all know that saying is ONLY associated with the 3 stripes (adidas tops) with the white socks tucked in brigade…culture my arse….

    Are we not allowed laugh at ourselves anymore? ‘Dat’s Limerick city kid’ is said by men top business men wearing nice suits in Limerick..

  7. @Robert, not sure what you mean by the ordinary man, but as I work for a living and live in an 3 bed semi I’ll include myself in that group. On The Wire was a play about Limerick men returning from the trenches of WW1 and their struggles with adjusting, Beautiful Dreamers was about the lives or everyday Limerick people, including the 3 stripes brigade, Fuerza Bruta was a dance / acrobatic performance. All were part of the 2014 list of events, all were inclusive and when I went attracted what I saw as ordinary people.
    Limerick has a great tradition of opera, I remember council refuse workers singing arias in a pub during their Christmas break up. Top business men wearing nice suits looked on in appreciation.

    You’re right to say that the culture of anywhere is it’s people, but those people have to keep that culture alive. We can’t blame others if we choose not to attend something because it doesn’t appeal to us.

  8. Did these people consult anyone before publishing it? From a historical point of view some of the points they make are laughable – Limerick has always been a city of multiplicity, of Europe and of the world…Not one of the way to these things. Galway grasped this very basic concept… You wouldn’t walk in to an interview and say you will learn on the job…a farce.

  9. The opening paragraph of the introduction … “Limerick had been a non place in Europe, in Ireland for a long time. The power of culture made us discover our city as a place on the European map in its own right; as a city of multiplicity – full of contradictions and multiple layers.”

    I think that is down right insulting to Limerick. It really shows the ignorance of those who wrote this, and perhaps too the ignorance at senior levels in our local authority. What hope have we in Limerick with such people calling the shots?

  10. The introduction paragraph’s language is a disgrace – I don’t think anyone in Limerick every believed or currently believes they live or work in a ‘non-place’ – and then two sentences later Limerick is a ‘problem city’!! – all within the opening paragraph!!

    What a negative position from which to represent Limerick!!


  11. I don’t think anyone in Limerick every believed or currently believes they live or work in a ‘non-place’

    Oh.. written by someone from skank central so – Dublin.

  12. Funny, I have never heard anyone say “Dat’s Limerick City”, ever, and I’ve been here for over 15 years.
    Now I *have* heard plenty of people say “Dat’s Cork byyyyyyyy!”, in Cork. So I am confused.
    Is that a thing that people say in Limerick?

  13. Who did they think they were addressing? The judges were from Spain, Slovenia, Latvia, Austria, Germany, Finland Portugal, Poland, Belgium and the UK.

    The only one likely to get the joke would be the Brit, and it wouldn’t be in a good way.

  14. I congratulate Galway on being chosen as ECoC 2020, and agree that the Limerick bid appears to have been very poorly prepared. However part of me is glad that Limerick wasn’t successful.
    To me Galway is a success in marketing. It’s culture revolves around getting on the piss in the Shop St. area, greasy dreadlocked buskers with dogs on a string and staged Oirishness for the American tourists. Having been a frequent visitor over the years, I now dislike the place and avoid at all costs. I can’t remember ever meeting a Galwegian in a pub.
    I don’t want Limerick to become a been there tick box on some tourists itinerary. Limerick, its festivals and its culture, should first and foremost be about its citizens and not an exercise in gaining acceptance from a passing audience.
    I live here out of choice being a native and returned emigrant. It’s far from perfect, but it is a living, working city with great people and some great amenities. We need to be confident enough to say “If you want to visit Limerick do so to meet its people as they go about their day lives”.

  15. Funny that for all Galway’s artyness , Limericks musicians , actors and writers have been much more successful on international stages . I don’t think we manged to remind the Judges of that .

  16. It’s strange how they didn’t include anything about the majestic River Shannon in the submission. The only city on the cleanest river in Europe. Surprising how it was completely ignored in contrast with their (the county councils) unhealthy obsession with building a pointless bridge along its bank.

  17. At a much deeper cultural and existential level, there was – stand back – a DJ in Tom’s on Saturday night.

    A DJ in Tom’s?

    Consequently, there was dancing, The dancing occurred in the lane on Saturday night and early Sunday morning between the hours of 10.30pm and 12.30am,approximately.

    Dancing in Tom’s?

    No attempt was made to separate the sexes on the dance floor. Women, who,apparently, are allowed vote and drive cars now, mingled freely with men who may not have been their husbands.

    “What’s all the commotion out the back?” asked the boys at the bar.

    “There’s, how can I break this gently.There’s,an,er,DJ in the lane.” said I to a stunned silence.

    The DJ brought the curtain down on an iconic and historic occasion, July 23/24, Year of our Lord, 2016, with the Irish national anthem, Sandstorm, written by Peadar Kearney.

  18. Nobody from limerick was involved. dont think the head of arts in limerick or even the mayor himself read the submission , so we,re ok. no one to blame thank god. someone made the submission without anyone knowing or understanding what was happening

  19. SO Limerick people couldn’t be trusted with such a huge undertaking? makes sense.

  20. Flash Gordon

    I didn’t know the arts in Limerick had a head.

    And as for the mayor, why would a person with no power, no authority, no staff and no budget have any involvement in this?

  21. Fair point on the status of the Mayor. For a bit of mischief I think I’ll call myself the Mayor of Limerick and appoint my dream team. I’d have no power and no mandate from the people but sure it’d make a great ‘Arts’ projwct. ….a virtual reality council….aka Second Life or Half Life kind of thing. The real thing is designed never to work.

    To be honest I’d say the higher echelons in city hall were still bitter about the what happened during the city of vultures. They very very obviously went out of their way to lose 2020 .They toOK a slash hook swipe at their nose to spite their face. Anything for an easy life.

  22. For some public representatives, Culture means excusing yourself and leaving the room to break wind discreetly in the bathroom. For uncultured reps, it means farting all over the place and getting their names and mugshots into the local newspaper.

  23. Galway’s flagship projects were far superior – ‘every place has an artist’ ‘small town …big ideas’

    Limerick on the other hand had imagined a ‘international recipes exchange’ and a wedding. Yes- the powers that be behind the bid decided that a fictional wedding celebration would be the perfect flagship programme. Its Father Ted- esque ( have they any idea about culture or the opportunity they had- I’m guessing not. The 2016 bid is as poor as as the 2005 bid- it has the same people behind it too- more or less.

  24. After 30 years I think Limerick needs a professional in that role who is polite, forward thinking,hard working, gracious. Basically a professional person who understands what it means to be a civil servant and understands culture- not someone who understands politics.

  25. As someone outside looking in, it seems all the (valiant) efforts of the the community is coming from outside of officialdom. The embarrassing farce that was called a “proposal” exemplifies what they actually think of the city. Time to pass the baton to someone who genuinely cares about and knows the city, its people , and where it is going. Another 5 years of the status quo would just be wasted time.

  26. The ignorance in this piece and comment section is terrifying. Perhaps read the bid book and research the team who campaigned before assuming facts.

  27. @Hugh do you agree with Limerick being described as a “non-place” and “problem city”? I don’t, but then again I’m ignorant.

  28. Hugh

    Don’t be terrified. It’s only a post about a culture proposal, not Donald Trump’s manifesto for world domination.

    I read the bid several times. It’s dreadful.

    The team are irrelevant.

  29. Hugh,

    As you consider yourself informed unlike some of us others here, perhaps you could answer the question I asked earlier on this thread: Have the reasons for the decision not to give it to Limerick been published?

  30. Just read that Bock, seems to be suggesting they Tippexed over the dates on the 2014 plan and wrote 2020 with a different coloured biro. Tried that in 3rd year of secondary school and got 6 of the leather from Bro Damien for my troubles.

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