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A giant granny, the Rubberbandits and Dr Paulie: Here's why Limerick is the best

Limerick was the City of Culture last year, and they say they can do it all again.

Dr. Paul O'Connell.
Dr. Paul O'Connell.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Each year since 1985 the European Union designates one or more cities as a European Capital of Culture. Croatia and Ireland will host the event in 2020, and have launched their respective competitions. Galway, Dublin, Limerick and the South East are all competing for the title.

We asked each candidate to tell us about some of the great things about their city. Are you from Limerick? Get involved and tell us what you love about your city. 

LIMERICK CITY of Culture 2014 shone a light on Limerick’s cultural identity. The European Capital of Culture 2020 is an opportunity to continue the momentum into the growth of the city’s rebirth and continue to build on their cultural journey.

Limerick is brimming over with a collective of creative talent from music, to arts, theatre, sports, film, wherever you go you find it… sometimes it’s planned, sometimes it just comes from within.

limerick Source: Limerick2020

1. We broke the internet with a video about a horse outside

Who would have thought two teenagers wearing plastic bags over their heads to mask their identity, speaking in an almost incomprehensive brogue would ignite the imagination and result in millions of internet hits with their Horse Outside video. Anyone have a horse outside? 


2. A girl from Limerick was part of one of the biggest rock bands

A young girl from Limerick was so shy that she used to sing with her back to the audience. She went on to front one of the most successful rock bands Ireland has ever produced.

Dolores O’Riordan joined the band The Cranberries, her experience was singing at confirmations and funerals. Two years later the band were singed by Island Records and went on to conquer the world selling over 40 million albums.

3. Dublin may have produced U2, but their career started here

U2 credit Limerick as the place where their career took off. In March of 1978, the 4 Dublin teenagers hopped on the train from Heuston station hoping to win the Limerick Civic Week Pop competition. Known as The Hype, they promptly changed their name just before they went on stage to U2 and performed some original numbers including Life on a Distant Planet and The TV Song. Winning the competition Adam recalled ‘that was the exact moment they became U2’.

4. Riverdance rocked the world and it started with this composer

A Limerick composer could reach such dizzy heights as Bill Whelan and bring Irish music to the four corners of the world with his Riverdance composition, which also changed the face of Irish dancing forever.

Source: escbelgium4/YouTube

5. We were way ahead of the curve when it came to digital

That Limerick would be chosen as home to RTE’s classic station Lyric Fm at the time of the station’s launch in 1999 RTÉ Lyric FM’s digital studios in Cornmarket Row, Limerick, were the most advanced in the country.

6. Richard Harris. No more words are needed.

Limerick produced a major film star in the shape of Richard Harris, who starred in over 75 movies and in one of world’s biggest blockbusters before his untimely death- Dumbledore in Harry Potter.

Others include presenter and broadcaster Terry Wogan who became a Sir, Peter Halpin aka  Malachy McCourt in Angela’s Ashes, Marian Keyes; author of Watermelon and pioneer of chick-lit and famous children’s author Darren Shan.

Richard Harris Camelot conference Source: EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

7. We’re not bad at sport

Limerick has produced numerous famous sports people including; Andy Lee, David Wallace, Peter Clohessy, JP McManus, Ciaran Carey, Sean McGowan (first man to row solo across the Atlantic), Neil Cusack (the only Irish athlete to have won the Boston marathon), Conor Niland and last but certainly not least, captaining Ireland to the Rugby World Cup – Paul O’Connell, now Dr O’Connell!

Source: UniversityofLimerick/YouTube

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8. We use our old sites for the movies

An old disused factory of over 300,00 square feet in Limerick’s Castletroy will soon be providing major film production facilities. The Dell factory which once had more than 1,900 employees will now become Troy Studios, has received a multi euro investment and will be the destination for film producers both in Ireland and abroad.

9. A giant granny  walked through our city 

A giant granny could have attracted over half a million visitors and overseas attention when Royal de Luxe Granny visited the city as part of the Limerick City of Culture 2014 celebrations.

5/9/2014. Huge Grandmother Puppets Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The 2020 bid is coming at a unique period in Limerick’s history. The opportunities are endless and the bid is allowing the city, the county and its citizens to embrace a cultural strategy that will be at the heart of a transformation in Limerick that has already been ignited for future generations.

Source: Limerick 2020 European Capital of Culture Bid/YouTube

Find out more here and Facebook here. Today and tomorrow all the competing cities will make their pitches in Dublin Castle. We will be featuring the other cities soon. 

Get involved and tell us why you love Limerick. What’s your favourite thing about the city? 

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