Culture night in Limerick

I withdrew the cash from the machine and re-entered the barbershop.

Cleeves Factory

‘I’ll be with you in a few minutes love,’ she called from out back where she was ‘avin’ a fag.

While cutting my hair she asked me all sorts of questions, including where I am now living. I told her about my glorious return to my hometown, a quarter of a century after leaving.

Her face winced.

‘Be careful love, it’s really rough there. Flats’.

I ignored that piece of advice. I was mentally preparing myself for culture night. An annual event that takes place all over the country this event last took place in 2019 pre-Plague.

Having studied the programme I had a reasonable idea of my itinerary for the evening. Fortifying myself with an espresso from the Abbey River coffeeshop I headed to the Freemason’s Lodge opposite King John’s Castle. I know nothing about freemasonry, but I like the building and wanted to see inside it. The masons were all attired in their splendour and were friendly, welcoming and allowed us to take pictures in the grand master’s chair in the hall.

Freemason’s Lodge

Afterwards I headed over to Michael Street near the Granary for a spoken word event called ‘Events in spiritual places that people have forgotten to visit’. Set in an old graveyard this was a poetry event where one ofthe poets was my sociology lecturer from university. It was an atmospheric setting for an interesting gathering. Having a great affection for graveyards – this one being the fifth I have visited since my return to Limerick a month ago – I was delighted to have discovered this forgotten graveyard, so hidden that you are not going to stumble on it by accident – you’ll need to search it out.

Graveyard poetry

I strolled over to Ormston House to see once more the exhibition ‘Figures’ by Richard Malone. I attended the opening of this show a few weeks ago where I got chatting to the artist’s father (and his dog). He told me that the gallery in the centre of town has been leased for thirty years at a cost of 100euro a year to the gallery. What a splendid use for a grand old building. It’s a beautiful exhibition.

‘Figures’ by Richard Malone in Ormston House

The last event of my evening was the Three Bridges walking tour. Organised by the Limerick Pedestrian Network, his tour encompasses the three bridges of Limerick City – the Thomond, the Sarsfield and the Shannon bridges. I have walked this walk several times since my return to Limerick, but getting a guided tour would be novel. I never knew for example that the old barracks building was originally the city workhouse where vagabonds, miscreants, lunatics and abandoned Swedish sailors were housed. The walk ended on the bandstand close to the Terry Wogan statue where local singer Emma Langford closed the event with a beautiful number.

Emma Langford

Having walked for three hours I made my way home. I need to be fresh for my dose of Mancunian culture tomorrow, when I venture to Kerry to see Morrissey in concert.

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