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Limerick Opera Festival - Limerick opera singers Joseph O’Mara and Catherine Hayes memorabilia will return to Limerick on May 14 with The Ilen as part of the Limerick Opera Festival Limerick Opera Festival - Limerick opera singers Joseph O’Mara and Catherine Hayes memorabilia will return to Limerick on May 14 with The Ilen as part of the Limerick Opera Festival

Culture

The Ilen brings home iconic Limerick opera memorabilia in time for 2022 festival

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Limerick opera memorabilia – Limerick opera singers Joseph O’Mara and Catherine Hayes memorabilia will return to Limerick on May 14 with The Ilen as part of the Limerick Opera Festival.

Limerick Opera Festival 2022 will feature the memorabilia of iconic Treaty performers Joseph O’Mara and Catherine Hayes

By I Love Limerick correspondent Ava O’Donoghue

An autograph signed by historic Limerick opera singer, Catherine Hayes.

Opera will be performed across Limerick city as part of the inaugural Limerick Opera Festival later this month of May.


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The Limerick Opera Festival kicks-off on Friday 20 May, and will see the Opera Festival take up residence in the Green Yard Café at Punches Cross, probably one of the most fashionable venues in Limerick City.

The memorabilia of famous Limerick opera singers Joseph O’Mara and Catherine Hayes will be transported from the Royal Opera House, London to Limerick onboard The Ilen, Ireland’s last timber-built trading ship, as part of its iconic journey to and from the British capital.  

The memorabilia will form part of the 2022 Limerick Opera Festival upon arrival, which was established in 2019 to bring opera to the public through a wide variety of performances, operatic renditions, exhibitions, and community events. 

The festival highlights the operatic history of Limerick, such as iconic artists Catherine Hayes and Joseph O’Mara, and in more recent times the influential soprano Suzanne Murphy.

Joseph O’Mara was a tenor opera singer described as the ‘Irish Caruso’, who made his London stage debut in 1894. Catherine was a world-famous soprano, often referred to as the “Madonna of her day”.

Their memorabilia will return to Limerick on the equally-historic sailing ship, arriving at Steamboat Quay on May 14. The Ilen is currently embarking on its ‘Limerick to London’ voyage, in an effort to highlight the centuries-old cultural and trading relationship between the two port cities.

Upon the return of O’Mara and Hayes memorabilia to Steamboat Quay, the Ilen’s crew will present it to the Mayor of Limerick City and County, Cllr Daniel Butler. It will then take residence in the Limerick Opera Festival Exhibition.

The arrival of the memorabilia will mark the beginning of the Festival.

The festival will feature a series of opera-themed events, such as the Operatic Aria Evening at the Greenyard Cafe on Friday, May 20, an Opera Trail on Saturday, May 21 and a Gala Evening on Saturday, May 28.

For more information on the 2022 Limerick Opera Festival, go HERE

For more cultural stories, go HERE 

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.