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I Love Limerick Chronicle Column
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Local Heroes Limerick
Limerick Local Heroes is a community driven, not for profit initiative that aims to energise Limerick people from all walks of life to create new and sustainable jobs for the people of Limerick. In excess of 400 people from all walks of Limerick life attended the first ‘Limerick Local Heroes’ public meeting at the Strand Hotel in January, at which a wide range of exciting ideas and visions for the city’s future were shared. The event was moderated by RTE’s Aonghus McAnally and kicked off with a number of local speakers including Mark Quinn, the youngest Irish person ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest, telling the attendees what Limerick means to them personally, before the floor was opened to the public.
This was followed by a very successful ideas summit in Thomond Park this past Monday, where the attendees were broken into smaller groups to each have the opportunity to develop further the ideas discussed at the initial meeting and also bring new and exciting ideas to the table.
The next step of the campaign is to create a Local Heroes Hub which will open to the public in the coming weeks. Michael Tiernan of Tiernan Properties, has offered the use of a first floor unit in Arthur’s Quay Shopping Centre. This unit will act as the focal point of the initiative. It will allow the general public who wish to get involved to sign up to help, give ideas and help get the buzz back in Limerick business and culture. Tony Frawley, spokesperson for the Limerick Local Heroes Steering Group, explained, “The support for the initiative so far has been enormous and goes to show that Limerick’s battling and entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. Now is the time to capitalise on the momentum and drive forward with actionable, practical ideas from all walks of life including business, community, culture, trade, retail, tourism and sport to benefit our great city.” For more information visit www.limericklocalheroes.com.
The Cranberries Are Back!
I remember in the early nineties when I was living in New York going to see The Cranberries play in Central Park. As they performed their signature song ‘Linger’, I remember feeling so proud that a group from Limerick were now superstars known across the world. Well the quartet who reformed in late 2009 after a seven year absence will celebrate the release of their first studio album in over a decade on February 27th. The album entitled ‘Roses’ will be the band’s sixth studio album and was recorded in Toronto with producer Stephen Street, who produced several of their previous records. It will be preceded by the anthemic lead single ‘Tomorrow’ and the video was recorded last month in Dublin and instantly recalls the band’s classic tracks. Despite breaking up in 2003 after selling in the region of 40 million records worldwide, the band’s reunion tour saw them play 107 concerts around the world. They performed a thumping set at the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in Thomond Park in 2010, their first appearance in the stadium and ILoveLimerick were there to film the event and the video can be seen on our site. “The minute we started playing, it felt like we’d never stopped,” Dolores tells me. “There’s something about playing with The Cranberries. It’s like putting on a perfect pair of shoes. It just fits.” With a world tour scheduled for this year it looks like the group will once again represent Limerick on the world stage. We are blessed to have them and I hope it’s all a huge success for them. For more info visit www.Cranberries.com.
A new marketing DVD showcasing Limerick life will be screened around the world in the hope of stimulating tourism to the region. ‘That’s Limerick’, produced by Laura Ryan of the Limerick Communications Office, is a vibrant ten minute film showcasing the best the region has to offer and was launched last week by Mayor of Limerick Cllr Jim Long. “It was fascinating, it is everything that one would aspire to in promoting the city. My hat is off to Laura Ryan and her team,” said the mayor after watching the video, which was shot and edited by the Pallaskenry based Matt Kelly Productions. “I think it is a marvelous tool for promoting the city in education, sport and commercial activities. I would hope now that people all over the world would see this video and come to Limerick as a result,” he added. Laura tells me she “wanted to portray Limerick as a fun, buzzy place. It is an upbeat snapshot of Limerick.” The short film features footage of a wide variety of local sights set against a soundtrack that includes local bands Windings, Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters and Size2Shoes. Local personalities such as Paul O’Connell and Celia Holman Lee all have their say on the strengths of the region and its attractiveness to outsiders. “I wanted something a little bit different that didn’t have a big voice over and would allow Limerick people to tell the story and showcase the city in their own words,” Laura tells me. It is hoped that local hotels, third level institutions, businesses and tourist centres will all use the DVD to promote the city. Copies of ‘That’s Limerick’ are available from the Limerick Communications Office on 88 O’Connell Street and you can watch it now at ILoveLimerick.com.
Val’s Kitchen is one of the longest running food blogs in Ireland, owned by local food lover and journalist Valerie O’Connor, hers is a story where following your passion can turn into an exciting career. “I set up Val’s Kitchen back in 2006, when the whole blogging thing was taking off. I had switched careers from newspaper reporting to press photography and was definitely feeling a bit of frustration regarding a lack of creativity in my work. Blogging was a great platform to both write and publish photos about my favourite subject, food”. Valerie explains that her childhood was all about good food and she spent many happy days with her Mum cooking at home.
The blog led to people like the Bridgestone Guide approaching Valerie to be a restaurant reviewer, many foodies idea of heaven. “Yes it does sound great, but the reviewing is quite intermittent and there are criteria to follow. You can’t just wander in somewhere and eat for free. I love Bridgestone as they are a genuine guidebook with very high standards.” Reviewing restaurants has led to a couple of TV appearances, back in 2009 with Kevin Dundon where she cooked in RTE’s HEAT competition and reached the quarterfinal. “That was great as I cooked in Dunbrody House for a week and learned a lot, but I was gutted when I lost. You put everything into those competitions so I really empathise with people on shows like Masterchef where the pressure is huge.” Speaking of Masterchef, Valerie was invited to screen-test for the position of presenter on the Irish series last year “That was nerve wracking too, I had to write about ten minutes of script to camera about food. I gave it my best but the jobs went to the right people, Nick and Dylan both own restaurants. I did a day as a guest critic and it was great to be on set and to see how a show like that gets made.”
“Food writing is very much a labour of love, but it’s very interesting. Limerick has a richer food community than we give ourselves credit for.”