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Posted by on Aug 3, 2011 in Historic, Limerick, Literary, Shannon, Shopping | 6 comments

Limerick Street Scene

Tilt Shift – Limerick Toytown from Conor Bryce on Vimeo.

When I spotted this video of Limerick streets, I just had to share. Firstly, the tilt-shift filming technique facinates me… it makes places look like toy towns. Secondly, it gives a little peek at the Limerick I know… a bustling city with shops and restaurants and pubs and people.

Limerick steetsLimerick often gets a bum rap from guidebooks. It’s a Viking city that had a notable building boom during the Georgian era… that means some wider streets and big, gray stone buildings that are usually much more interesting on the inside. So, comparing it to places like Galway or Cork with their their quaint, narrow streets with clusters of small buildings is a bit like comparing a six-pack of one beer to a keg of another… it really depends on what you’re looking for.

Limerick also gets labeled as a dangerous city… gotta say, in all my years, I haven’t seen anything that made Limerick appear more dangerous for tourists than any other Irish city… standard travel safety tips apply in Ireland, and Limerick is no different.

While in Limerick, I’d recommend the Hunt Museum, the Milk Market, the pedestrian shopping streets in city centre… and I’m keen to inspect the new Frank McCourt Museum when I get over there… and since Limerick is the European City of Sport in 2011, I might suggest a visit to Thomond Park Rugby Stadium.

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6 Comments

  1. Many thanks for the embed! I’m currently working on more footage to add to the video, most of the current scenes were shot early on a Sunday morning so there’s not much life about. I’m going to try to shoot in Thomond Park soon enough also, I’d love to create a ‘miniature’ rugby match ;0)

    • Mini rugby! That would be cool. Thanks for putting the video out there for us to enjoy.

  2. From The Irish Examiner, Saturday August 6, 2011.

    I AMBLE across the wide open street rather neglecting the safe cross code to marvel once more at the graceful Georgian houses enjoying the evening sun and their own particular view of the lush green park.

    One house, on the corner, has been tastefully converted into a luxurious boutique hotel yet still retains the welcoming ambiance of a private home.

    Shortly, I will sip camomile cocktails on the hotel’s terrace overlooking the newly-opened kitchen garden growing their own fresh produce, while nibbling some delicious hors d’ouvres. Later, I’ll enjoy a lovely meal in the hotel’s restaurant before dawdling a while in the cosy little bar, finally, bunking down in the first hotel room I’ve liked in years. It’s not just me, Conde Nast Traveller magazine was equally smitten, including it in its worldwide ‘Hot List’ just two years ago.

    Too many Irish people would struggle to recognise the location, even standing in my shoes. Name the city, however, and half the country will line up to warn you with absolute authority about ‘Ireland’s Detroit’. It irritates me; if I actually lived here, I’d be angry. Welcome to Limerick.

    Communications Executive at Limerick Coordination Office Laura Ryan admits the national reputation is extremely frustrating: “The main problem is the difference between perception and reality, we fight that all the time, reassuring people they are as safe here as in any other large town in Ireland.

    “We just had a very successful tag rugby festival, over 4,000 visitors, 80pc from Leinster. They had a fantastic weekend, leaving with a great impression of the city. But many admitted they bought into the national stereotype before that. Rugby fans over the years always have a great time. The Lonely Planet raved about the friendliness. Getting people here is the problem. Once they’re here, they have a great time and want to return.”

    Rugby has been a great ambassador, but now there’s another excellent reason for visiting Limerick — food. That’s no misprint, the Treaty City is fast becoming another Irish gourmet Mecca: an increasing number of good restaurants, fine local producers and, the jewel in its crown, the Milk Market.

    My escort is Nicole Dunphy, owner of Pandora Bell, a chocolate and confectionary company whose stunning sweetmeats are adored by kids of all ages, this kid in particular. She launched the business in September 2009.

    “I was very worried but I needed to believe in Limerick, in the whole country. If you can make things work now, it will work really well in good times. Obviously it’s been tough, but it’s starting to stabilise and it’s growing. I’m happy —it has a future.”

    Michael O’Loughlin, a long-established craft butcher of the old school, on Upper William St, sees the effects of the recession on a city that could ill afford it in the first place. “The spend is definitely down,” he says, “but, on the other hand, customers are trying some of the more offbeat cuts, which cost less but can taste just as good if done right.” Such as the meltingly tender beef cheeks we ate the night before in our hotel’s restaurant, Brasserie One, chef Alan Burns delighted to use Michael’s excellent produce.

    Restaurauteur and Mid-West Chairman of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) Padraic Frawley is a driving force behind the city’s growing gourmet status.

    “Once upon a time the offering foodwise here wasn’t great,” says Padraic, “but the same could be said about a lot of places in Ireland. But, in recent years, a lot of major high quality hotels have been built and are offering incredible value for money.

    “There’s a lot of great restaurants here, some great ethnic restaurants,” says Padraic, “This year we had a very successful gourmet week and are pitching Limerick as a foodie destination.”

    Saturday, Limerick, there’s only one place to be: The Milk Market on Cornmarket Row, which has existed in some form or other since 1852. A mixture of permanent units and temporary stalls, on market day it is absolutely buzzing. Passing through the old stone archways to the inner sanctum, you surrender to a joyous, boisterous, munching sea of humanity.

    The place is a national treasure even if it remains — shamefully — unvisited by many Irish food lovers. The recent canopy development won the Public Choice Award at the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2011, days of lurking in the arches during downpours are now a thing of the past. It would be fruitless to attempt to list the fabulous stalls but the range of superb produce on offer is as good as anything available elsewhere in the country: fish, meat, cheeses, dairy, homemade jams, chutneys, baked goods and confectionary, all supplemented by imported goodies.

    The icing on the cake is the ‘overspill’, those traders who pitch up outside the four walls, selling everything from homegrown organic produce to bric a brac to … well, whatever happens to be there on any given Saturday. Any Irish food lover who hasn’t already made the pilgrimage is living a lie. It is beyond compare, the best market in the country.

    “Limerick people are slow to pat themselves on the back and say well done but this is a good reason to,” says Nicole. “It’s our flagship. In terms of price, you can go either Harrods or Lidl, it’s got the lot, from serious gourmet foods to a big bag of veg for a fiver. Plus, it’s revitalising social Limerick, you meet everyone here on a Saturday morning.”

    It’s not just commerce, people are the lifeblood. When a city centre is empty, it is soulless. “I was in the Corn Store midweek,” says Nicole, “it was very vibrant, whereas the pubs were quiet. Food is providing a social space, a city centre destination other than the shopping centres and that’s important.”

    “While the restaurant business is a struggle,” says Padraic, “at least people are dining out four or five nights a week. A culture is being created, people come for a cocktail or a glass of wine, a bite of food and there’s no big hangover in the morning and it doesn’t cost the earth. In La Cucina, you can get a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine for a tenner — you wouldn’t go far wrong there.”

    La Cucina, the little Italian restaurant/deli/takeaway in Castletroy, is not strictly city centre but is to the fore of Limerick’s gastronomic revolution, winning the RAI’s Best Casual Dining in Ireland award two years running. Lorraine Ferranan, (owner/operator along with husband Bruno, the chef) is renowned amongst the online culinary community as ItalianFoodie, a highly prolific blogger and tweeter.

    “Social media has made our business,” says Lorraine, “we need that extra boost because we’re in Limerick. People would always have bypassed Limerick but they’re now coming here specifically to visit La Cucina. Once we get them here, they aren’t disappointed. Also, with the recession, you have to shout louder. With social media, you can constantly stay in someone’s mind. Every food business should be doing it.”

    However the word is spread, shout it loud, there’s a place for you at some fine tables in Limerick. But I’d better not catch anyone in my bed in No 1 Pery Square, my new favourite hotel in the world.

    • If your comment doesn’t prove there’s something for everyone in Limerick… I don’t know what will.

  3. First town I ever saw when I landed in Ireland May 2009. Loved it! Annie McNulty, here in Tacoma, told me to look for the lovely daffodils, and I did! Thanks for posting!

  4. My favorite place to start my tours around the country….

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