There is lots of discussion of late of making Limerick a liveable city. Most of this dialogue focuses on the architecture of our streets to transform Limerick into a modern urban oasis on par with other forward thinking European cities. While the built environment plays an essential role in shaping our culture and the wellbeing of citizens, it is the attitude and beliefs of its people that make a city as liveable as it can be. Something that struck me during the #liveableLimerick discourse was how much of this conversation was dominated and shaped by men. From media commentators, to consultant architects, to city councillors, to sports and comedy stars, an androcentric debate developed that very much mirrors the current state of our urban fabric. A fabric that maintains a pervasiveness of sexism existing throughout our city. A sexism not usually seen by men, and some women, in our everyday lives because it is such a habitual way of being in Limerick. Continue reading “Where are the women in #liveableLimerick?”
Last month I moved into a new apartment overlooking The Shannon and for the most part, living beside the river in Limerick is wonderful. There are early morning rowers, moonlit city tours by kayak, Sunday strollers feeding the swans and stunning river views completely unique to anywhere else on this island. On announcement to my friends and families that I was setting up home in an apartment close to Thomond Bridge I was met with cries of concerns. Would the rescue helicopter not wake me at night? How will I feel with the continual sirens and patrollers outside my bedroom window? How could I live so close to such a tragic place?
A quick review on river activities over the last few months makes it obvious to why my move would elicit such a response in so many Limerick people I encountered.
Over the last year Limerick has seen a proliferation of suicide prevention groups, alongside local news outlets that still persists with front page news coverage of suicide in the River Shannon. This is despite all evidence suggesting that ceasing reporting on suicide could significantly reduce suicide rates.
The emergence of various suicide prevention groups over the last few months has garnered much attention and praise within the Limerick community. Continue reading “Limerick, we still need to talk about suicide”
A Saturday morning in Limerick conjures up many images for most. Meeting friends in The Milk Market, stopping for a bun in Bean a Ti, picking up the latest read in O’Mahony’s, with an accompanying soundtrack of the hustle and bustle of weekend city life. Yet, there is one sight and sound so constant in our Saturday Limerick rituals that it is often overlooked. Be it walking through Bedford Row or strolling up Cruises Street, the distinctive timbre of panpipes accompanying a taped backing track of ‘My heart will go on’ and other classics, is a staple with Saturday city-goers.
As I sat and waited for an opportunity to meet the man behind this distinctive sound, I reflected on the numerous occasions I have walked passed, barely glancing and failing to recognise the skill required in playing a wide array of panpipes and flutes. I was surprised at the number of passers-by stalling to listen to the music, taking videos and browsing through the cd’s for sale.Even more unexpected was meeting Luis Shanakan, a spirited, passionate and affable man from Ecuador, that has made Limerick his home. Continue reading “Introducing the panpipe guy”
It’s 7.40pm on a Wednesday evening, 20 minutes before closing time in Badass Burittos, Catherine Street. I walk in to do an interview with the owner, Mags Nash, aka Buritto Lady, whom has adopted an unlikely position as one of Limerick’s most controversial characters of late. It’s a hot, balmy night in Limerick and I expect us to have the place to ourselves.
Through the course of the interview we are interrupted five times by customers, some travelling in from the suburbs to get their fill of what they describe as ‘Limerick best burritos’. Rocky, a regular customer, comes back in for seconds and bemoans the fact it is now closed on a Sunday, depriving him of what he describes as his weekend ‘cheat’ meal. When he mentions the lack of Sunday opening Mags gives me a self-deprecating look and with the same jovial banter she uses with her customers, she suggests we start with just one of the contentious issues that has made her one of Limerick’s most talked about women in recent weeks. Continue reading “Introducing the badass lady”
There was a time in my life when the sound of an approaching helicopter conjured up images of holidays, glamour and adventure. Then three years ago I moved back home to
Limerick and took up a job with a company located near the banks of the Shannon River. Now, the dreaded drill of helicopter rotors evokes feelings in me of death, distress and despair.
The sight and sound of the Coastguard rescue chopper is a regular occurrence in this city and it is not hard to see why. Limerick appears, at least anecdotally, to have one of the highest suicide and self-harm rates in the country. Alongside this, we have increasing numbers seeking support for depression and related disorders. It is safe to say that Limerick city and its people are in a state of emotional distress.