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Limerick Underground

The view from the gutter

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Limerick Tales

On St.Brigid’s Day

The photos were only thing I’ve kept, you’d be annoyed to know. Isn’t it what you wanted? To be invisible altogether? That was your one wish. I don’t take them out often, and less and less now. Maybe someday it’ll be a year or more since I’ve seen them. Hard to believe that though. I remember each shoot, how great you looked when it was just me and the camera. I didn’t have the studio then, we had to move the bed up on its side against the wall to make the room look bigger, but you always looked good on windowsills and in corners of rooms, anything that could frame the scene, anything that would hide the paucity of our options. You always looked great anywhere.

Our rooms were all strange angles then, walls built to divide bigger rooms into small flats. The grandeur faded but not wholly gone, though one window was painted closed and the other wouldn’t fully close. Catherine street outside was all electricity wires and cracked pavements and day time drinkers. At two in the morning the crowds from the Desmond and Costellos would mingle and riot to keep the night going. If we weren’t amongst them we’d watch them through the window, urban anthropologists laughing at ourselves. The flat wasn’t much, but the views were great conversation. Every Saturday night the scene was infinitely different and always the same, crowds moving to preordained rhythms it seemed.

 That flat suited us, careworn, better days behind and hopefully ahead. The back of the door was a history of locks, so many variations and changes. You could chart the building’s decline by the strength of the locks and so many keys we’d to keep it barred for fear some past resident would drop by unexpected, unannounced and definitely uninvited. It was patchwork of panels that had been broken through and replaced, not always with wood, polyfilla held the door and flat together. Everything broken not quite repaired, everything broken not quite fixable. Continue reading “On St.Brigid’s Day”

A Christmas ode to Sionna

There’s a feeling to this city, a dream I keep having, when the city is appearing through the riverfog as I cross Sarsfield bridge. The people could be spectres in the cold December weather. There is nothing special about Christmas in Limerick, or Limerick at Christmas, nothing you wouldn’t find everywhere and anywhere. Too much shopping, too many people, always too many cars. The city is maddeningly full and completely empty at the same time. We could all be phantoms, as if we shed our heavy jackets and layers there might really be nothing underneath. The wind comes blowing freezing up from the river, and I thought about how the river was once considered a Goddess, and wished we’d kept some of that paganism still, to keep some old magic alive, to keep any magic alive. Continue reading “A Christmas ode to Sionna”

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