I Love Limerick Year Review 2016
Cliona’s Foundation celebrate raising one million euro with special guest Keith Duffy
In January, to celebrate their 9th anniversary, Cliona’s Foundation Annual Celebratory Night 2016 took place in Bulgaden Castle.
Cliona’s Foundation is a charitable organisation that provides financial assistance to families from Ireland with children undergoing long-term medical treatment for critical illness for non- medical expenses.
The evening of celebrations featured a VIP appearance from singer, actor and philanthropist Keith Duffy on behalf of his charity the Keith Duffy Foundation. The night kicked off in celebration as Keith announced that Cliona’s Foundation has risen €1,000,000 to date which is now providing funding for over 300 families. Congrats to all!
A Tribute to Terry Wogan
Terry Wogan was my idol and he passed away in January 2016, aged 77 after a battle with cancer. Born in Limerick in 1938, Terry began his career at RTÉ, first in radio and later as presenter. The son of a grocery shop man from Limerick became a legendary broadcaster and he was a huge inspiration to me as if Terry could do it someone else from Limerick could do it. He inspired people from Limerick. He left Limerick when he was 15 yet he kept coming back and there must have been a reason for that. He loved Limerick and he was so proud of it. His wonderful personality and charm will never be forgotten. He is forever in our hearts. Terry, We love you! You did us proud!
A Tribute to Gemma Carcaterra
In February, it was with great sadness that I learned of Gemma Carcaterra’s death following a short and devastating illness at the young age of 42. Gemma was an astounding community member and contributor to dancing in Limerick.
Gemma was still on maternity leave from her post as Director of glór Music Centre in Ennis when she was rushed, after becoming ill, to the University Hospital Limerick, where she died. Gemma had just given birth to beautiful triplets Ava, Ríona and Ceon five months prior to her illness. Prior to taking her post at glór, Gemma was general manager at Daghdha Dance in Limerick.
Following Gemma tragic death the board of glór music Centre decided to set up a page of which people can donate as little as €1. The money raised will be kept for the triplets or be given to a charity close to Gemma’s heart.
To donate to the fund for Gemma’s triplets please go to www.gofundme.com/svggqstm.
Luke’s #CreateNoHate video goes global!
Safer Internet Day is a EU wide initiative to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people and was celebrated in Ireland on Tuesday, February 9, 2016. In honour of the day a 13-year-old Limerick filmmaker Luke Culhane, from Castletroy, produced a short film entitled ‘Cyberbullying – Create No Hate’, which has amassed over 500,000 views on YouTube and another 5 million on various platforms.
Since the launch of the Luke has been interviewed by Sky News, Fox News, RTE, TV3, Ryan Tubridy, Ray Darcy and countless others and has become a global internet sensation.
In honour of his work, Luke was nominated for Limerick Person of the Year, won a Garda divisional Youth Award and was asked to speak at the Young Social Innovators Speak Out Tour at the Lime Tree Theatre. For more info visit www.createnohate.ie.
Limerick Person of Year 2015 is Katie Whelan
In February, a 19-year-old student who chose to embrace positive mental health after losing her first cousin to suicide has been named 2015 Limerick Person of the Year.
Katie Whelan was named the youngest ever winner of the prestigious annual award at a gala awards lunch in the Clarion Hotel, where other nominees, including racehorse trainer Enda Bolger, Limerick’s All Ireland winning Under 21 hurlers and LIT President Dr Maria Hinfelaar, also gathered.
A tribute to my mother Florence Lynch
I wanted to pay tribute to one of Limerick’s true ladies, my mother Florence Lynch who has passed away on Monday, April 7 at 3.06am at the University Hospital after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. In the hours before her passing, her entire family surrounded her as we sang our favourite family songs. My father Eric passed April 23, 2015 and my mother was heartbroken and never recovered from his passing.
My dad Eric and my mother, Florence used to own the legendary pub bearing his name on St Joseph’s Street. I am one of eight children and we all lived upstairs over the pub. The pub was synonymous with good times, a great atmosphere and above all, a first-rate music scene for four decades and they sold it in 1997, after my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Many Limerick people have wonderful, nostalgic memories of the pub, with my mother playing the piano and my dad singing songs. Everywhere I go in Limerick people always ask after my parents. I come from a background steeped in history and I am incredibly proud of my heritage. My parent’s pub was the first bar in Limerick to have music, the first to get a music license. I remember as a child lying in bed upstairs as the sounds of all the old songs played below. Eventually, my mother’s health got the better of her and she could no longer continue to play but she would play for my dad at home and he would sing her all the old love songs. I lived in NY for over 15 years but eventually came home in 2008 to care for my parents. I could not bear to be apart from them.
My mam was a very kind, strong and determined person. For decades she would hold raffles in the pub and raised tens of thousands for charities such as Parkinson’s Midwest and St. Gabriel’s School. She was a brilliant musician, a voracious reader of books and an expert in Tudor history.
My parents are very loving, kind, liberal people who always put on emphasis on the importance of loving one another. I organised the first week-long Pride Festival in the city in 2008 and my parents came to the parade to support my community. After that, they would try to come every year and one of my siblings would roll mam down in her wheelchair to the top of O’Connell Street with my dad to watch the parade as it passed.
I Love Limerick would not exist if it were not for my parents. I have done it voluntarily for 8 years for no money, not because I have no self-worth, but because my greatest thrill was to see the smile on my their face every week when they opened my Limerick Chronicle column to read about their son working hard to try and make a difference and to do something positive for their beloved city.
Mam and Dad were married almost 60 years and were madly in love. Mam, I am so happy you and dad finally together again. I love you both so much and I am sure right you are singing with the angels in heaven.
Love you. Your son, Richard X
TLC2 a massive success!
In April, over 13,500 people were out on the streets of Limerick city and county on Good Friday to take part in the biggest one-day cleanup ever staged in Ireland. This was the second year for the Team Limerick Clean-up initiative to be staged and the event attracted over 10,000 volunteers.
Sponsored by the JP McManus Benevolent Fund, Team Limerick Clean-up2, (TLC2) is fronted by Paul O’Connell and was launched at the O’Connell Monument in Limerick where volunteers joined JP and Paul as they raised the starter flag to launch the countywide event.
In Moyross JP planted a strawberry tree in the grounds of the playground of Moyross Community Enterprise Centre. Congrats to everyone involved!
Leben Building Neurological Centre/Acute Stroke Unit launched at UHL
In April, a new era in the care of Parkinson’s patients at University Hospital Limerick was marked with a ceremony at the newly opened Leben Building Neurological Centre/Acute Stroke Unit.
A plaque was unveiled in recognition of the contribution of the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland Midwest Branch in developing the unit and the generosity of JP and Noreen McManus and family.
The unit takes up one floor of the six-storey, €16.5 million Leben Building, a project delivered through a development agreement between the HSE and three charities which came together to form Leben Developments Ltd; namely the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland/TLC4CF and the Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust.
I was there filming for I Love Limerick when they broke the soil for this new building in 2012. I was honoured to be back there again for this ceremony as my mother spent 6 weeks in this very ward before she passed away. I am so indebted to the hospital for the amazing care they gave my mother in her final days and to Una Anderson Ryan and JP McManus for making this facility possible.
Limerick LGBTI Community honour Orlando victims with candlelight vigils
In June, the Limerick LGBTI Community honoured the victims of the Orlando shootings with two separate candlelight vigils. One vigil took place at the Treaty Stone and I organised the second vigil in Arthurs Quay Park.
We encouraged those attending to spread the word, to bring a candle if possible and to bring rainbow colours so we could honour Orlando victims in a way that would be colourful and memorable. More than 250 Limerick people gathered for the vigil to show solidarity not just for the LGBT community in Orlando who experienced this hate crime, but for everybody who has been affected by acts of terror, violence or oppression in their lives.
Limerick LGBTI Pride 2016 puts the T back in LGBTI
In June, the Limerick LGBTI Pride festival got under way with a number of special events held for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities in the city, as well as the wider Limerick public. The main event, of course, was the annual Limerick Pride parade, which kicked off from City Hall.
The theme of this year’s festival was #UnitedColoursofLimerick and the Parade was led by Broden Giambrone, the chief executive of Transgender Equality Network Ireland. Broden brought many friends from Dublin and after the Parade made an inspirational speech at PrideFest 2016, a showcase of local LGBT culture, held in a beautiful marquee on the grounds of the Hunt Museum.
Let us build on Limerick 2020
In July, Limerick lost its bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2020, with Galway being announced as the winner.
The CEO of Limerick Chamber, Dr. James Ring, has said that Limerick is still a winner from the bid process despite Galway being chosen. “The 18-month campaign ensured that the cultural candle has continued to burn bright post our 2014 designation as national capital of culture and come 2020 it will be burning even brighter. We have a proud city and we are as proud today as we have ever been.”
Andy Lee welcomes St Francis Boxing Club extension
In July, Andy Lee, one of Limerick’s greatest sports stars and it’s first boxing World Champion, was in the city to see the premises adjacent to the club that will facilitate its much-needed expansion.
Former World Champion Andy Lee has said his old boxing club St. Francis will turn out more national and potentially even world champions following an investment by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government through Limerick City and County Council that will double the size of the club.
Bressie talks about mental health and well-being in Ireland
In September, musician Niall Breslin aka Bressie, a role model and advocate for mental health in Ireland gave a talk on mental health and well-being at the Castletroy Park Hotel. The event was a huge success with a full house of around 400 people listening to his keynote speech.
Before his speech, Bressie spoke with I Love Limerick correspondent Holly Kenny about mental health and well-being on a variety of topics such as the evolution of mental health in Ireland, the connection between physical and mental health, how music and creativity help when battling anxiety and depression and the next step for the progression of mental health services in Ireland.
Troy studios open its doors
In October, the curtain went up on the new resource to promote Limerick as a production location as more than 600 people attended the Troy Studios Film in Limerick Open Day.
A ‘shop window’ for film producers across the world, showcasing the advantages of filming in Limerick was unveiled. Troy Studios Film in Limerick is a new resource for the film, television, moving image art and online video industries to promote Limerick and the wider mid west region as a film destination.
Paul O Connell book ‘The Battle’ is a huge hit!
In October, coinciding with the release of his much-anticipated autobiography, Paul O’Connell signed copies of his book, The Battle, in O’Mahony’s bookshop.
Over 500 people queued for hours to meet former rugby legend Paul O’Connell at his book signing in Limerick city, eager to get a signed copy of his book The Battle. The Battle was co-written with Alan English, former editor of the Limerick Leader and current editorial director of Iconic Newspapers, which own the Leader. He also attended the signing along with many family members.
I had the honour of interviewing Paul at the book signing. With typical modesty, when asked how he felt about the phenomenal turnout, he joked that the book might be an easy Christmas present for people, as many queued to purchase several books for friends and family members.
The former Munster, Ireland and Lion’s captain describe’s The Battle, as “the full story. I think it’s very honest and I hope people will enjoy it,” he said.
The book has gone on to become the top best seller of the year. Congrats Paulie!
Winner of Limerick Going for Gold 2016 is Glin!
In October, the West of Limerick was awake and celebrating after Glin was announced as overall winner of Limerick Going for Gold 2016 at the Limerick Strand Hotel.
Limerick Going for Gold’s mission is to make Limerick a brighter, better, cleaner place to live, work and visit. I hosted the event as I do every year and I am honoured to be involved with this initiative for the past 5 years. It is my favourite event of the year! The competition fosters and nurtures community spirit and it’s plain to see in every town, village and estate that it’s flourishing.
A total of twelve communities made the final of the Limerick Going for Gold Challenge Category. Limerick Going for Gold 2016 has a prize pool of over €76,000, courtesy of the JP McManus Charitable Foundation. All finalists receive prizes to help them continue their good work. Congrats to all!
Community mourns the passing of rugby great Anthony Foley
A hearse carrying the body of Anthony stopped briefly outside Thomond Park as fans welcomed home the local rugby hero on his final journey.
Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service celebrate their 30th anniversary in style
In October at the Limerick Strand Hotel, Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service (LMSR) hosted a glamorous Black Tie Ball in celebration of their 30 years in service since their establishment in 1986.
I was honoured to host the event and thrilled when Joe Morgan, Chairman of LMSR presented myself and my team at ILoveLimerick.com with a special plaque thanking us for the new website that we built for LMSR and the ongoing publicity and marketing we offer to the charity.
Joe spoke about the honour of working with LMSR, “I think it’s important to recognise that there has been a lot of members in and out of the service over the last thirty years. The one thing they had in common was to improve the service and to save lives in the water and bring people who are lost back to their families. I would like to thank each and every member, past and present, for bringing LMSR to the level it is at today.” See www.LMSR.ie to learn more.
Limerick woman Dorothy Meaney awarded National Carer of the Year 2016
In November, Limerick woman Dorothy Meaney was awarded National Carer of the Year 2016 at the family Carers Ireland awards ceremony in Dublin. I have known Dorothy all my life as she is my neighbour and I love her and her family. They are great neighbours and lovely people. Dorothy looks after Zondra who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which damages all of the body’s internal systems. Dorothy gave up work to look after Zondra and Zondra’s 9-year-old son.
Of the 25 nominees from all over Ireland, Dorothy was awarded the overall award for Carer of the Year having recently won the title of Mid West Carer of Year. A family friend, Laura Fitzgerald represented Dorothy at the awards ceremony in Dublin as unfortunately, on the day of the ceremony, the funeral of Dorothy’s beloved mother Colette took place.
Zondra, speaking of the pride her grandmother had in Dorothy winning the Mid West Carer of the year award, the Limerick woman said it was a lovely memory that would stay with them forever. Zondra concluded, “I want to thank everyone for that moment and for giving my mam the recognition she really deserved. It will forever be a moment we will never forget.”
If anyone wants to keep tabs with what I am up to around Limerick, you can find me on Facebook as Richard Lynch and Twitter @Richanthon. If you have a good news story about Limerick I could share on this page, you can contact me via email at [email protected] Look forward to hearing from you!
Love to you all. Have a fantastic 2017!
Richard (Richanthon) x