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