Three exciting new ventures for Limerick arts community


Arts_Encounter_Logo_RGB_mediumLaunched at the birthday party for the Lime Tree Theatre,The Limerick Arts Encounter is a new pilot programme of events funded directly by the Arts Council and the City Council. It is a collaboration between the Limerick City arts office and the Lime Tree Theatre.

What money would have earmarked for the now defunct Belltable Arts Centre is to be funneled directly to theatre groups and arts practitioners to present work in local venues. Many well-known companies and individuals are involved. One event that has already taken place was a rehearsed reading of an adapted version of the Kate O’Brien novel, Distinguished Villa, in the refurbished Boru House (sickened that I missed that).

The programme of events started in mid-September and will run until March. Theatre, film, visual art and literature will get an airing. Venues include the former Belltable at 69 O’Connell Street, the Lime Tree, the Victoria Snooker Club, Dr John’s and the Blind Pig and Dance Limerick—the former St John’s Church, which once housed Daghdha Dance Company.

It is hoped that it will give a boost to the arts sector in the city and all stakeholders are delighted that the Arts Council are still supporting productions and events.

The Limerick Leader has speculated that the funding is in the region of €240,000. While not a long-term solution, it will hopefully lead to one. Further information on the Limerick Arts Encounter programme is on


Limerick Dance. Picture: Alan PlaceA new contemporary dance hub is being launched this Thursday, October 3, in at the dance space at the former St John’s Church (previously occupied by the now defunct, Daghdha Dance Company).

The initiative—a new support and development organisation for professional dance—is also funded by the Arts Council and Limerick City Council.

Director, Jenny Traynor, will attempt to reinvigorate dance in Limerick city. She is a former manager of CoisCéim Dance Theatre, one of Ireland’s leading dance companies, so the future of dance here is in safe hands.

Commenting on the launch of Dance Limerick, Ms Traynor, praised the “phenomenal” facilities at John’s Square and is “delighted to have the opportunity to programme these world class facilities for dance artists and dance audiences in Limerick”.

Choreographer Mary Nunan has been commissioned to create a performance especially for the event. It will feature five female dancers and is set to the 2nd movement of Schubert’s String Quintet. Tickets for the launch are available via its Facebook.

Dance Limerick will offer a programme of performances, residency opportunities, master classes, talks and lectures.


johnssquareMinister for Arts, Jimmy Deenihan, has officially opened a subsidised living space for artists at John’s Square in the city—a unique scheme thought to be one of the first of its kind in Ireland.

Limerick Arts Office is providing use of six newly refurbished apartments at 1-2 John’s Square to contemporary visual artists, performers, musicians and writers. Six artists will take up residency straight away (they can stay for one to three years) and another two apartments are available to local arts organisations for short-term use i.e. to accommodate visiting artists.

The entire square was redeveloped by Limerick City Council and is now being dubbed “Limerick’s living cultural quarter”.

All of these news items bode well for Limerick City of Culture 2014. The applications process is closed for that now so hopefully a programme will soon materialise.


I’ve slipped back into my complacent ways about posting again. D’oh! Cue summary of some of my cultural intake for the last while…feel free to skip through; I’ll never even know!

I neglected to post about Angela’s Ashes: The Musical, which quickly blasted away my cynicism with a catchy score and fantastic performances all round. I hope it returns again so more people can see it. I didn’t get a chance to talk about the amazing documentary, The Summit, which was premiered as part of Elemental Arts & Culture Festival. The photography was breathtaking, the interviews heartbreaking and the tremendous courage and sacrifice shown by Limerick man, Ger McDonnell, on K2 was conclusively revealed.

I failed to mention the first birthday celebrations of the Lime Tree Theatre, which has totally excelled expectations and brought some outstanding performances to the local stage. The stage adaptation of Tuesdays With Morrie which followed was very moving; I read the book and it was lovely to see it played out so well.

I was seemingly stunned into silence by the dual brilliance of Break, at the Dublin Fringe Festival, and Fleetwood Mac at the O2 in Dublin. Both shows were just unreal!

I saw About Time…yeah I know it’s Richard Curtis and by default (A) Impossibly romantic (B) more than a little sentimental but I really enjoyed it. Domhnall Gleeson really comes into his own and it was very sweet and funny. I read the much hyped, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn and I thought it was quirky, tense and had some killer twists—great stuff. I discovered a new bluegrass band, Punch Brothers, who have this fusion thing going on where there’s a bit of country, bluegrass and jazz. It’s a bit mad in a good way.


Coming up! Elemental Festival/Culture Night

September is a busy month in the arts community in Limerick with two events of scale on the calendar.

1009841_546270225421045_2075562295_nElemental Limerick Arts and Culture Festival will take place this weekend (Friday September 13 to Sunday 15). The festival will encompass the arts in all their guises including visual art, street theatre, literature, music, crafts, film, photography and more.

Programme highlights include the premier of film, The Summit—a feature length documentary about the deadliest day in modern mountain climbing history on K2 where Limerick climber, Ger McDonnell, lost his life—and Shannon’s Way by Helena Enright, which is a  promenade theatre/walking tour/audio experience celebrating the River Shannon as it flows through Limerick.

Bedford Row and Lower Thomas Street will come alive with all sorts of street performance on Saturday. There are two photography exhibitions running, several film events, author talks/readings and a gig in Dolan’s featuring Purple Earth Theory, Raging Sons and Windings. From a HighNelly Bike Tribute to forgotten skills demonstrations, there is something for all interests.

For more information, see or check it out on Facebook or Twitter, @ElementalLmk

1185284_549730368408364_2121697298_nThe nationwide event, Culture Night 2013, takes place on Friday September 20 this year and there will be events all over Limerick City and County.

Late night opening and free admission to cultural institutions is always a great thing but this is coupled with workshops, demonstrations, tours, performances and more.

There is always a buzz around for Culture Night so break out and take advantage of our wonderful heritage, artistic and cultural facilities.

The packed schedule is available here or more information on Twitter, @CultureNight.

Elemental Festival Fundraising Quiz

ELEMENTAL FUNDRAISING TABLE QUIZElemental Arts & Culture Festival 2013 will take place this year from Friday September 13 until Sunday September 15.

To add to the coffers for the event, there will be a table quiz led by Mike Finn and Myles Breen on Thursday May 30 at 8pm in Pery’s Best Western hotel on Glentworth Street.

Tickets are €7 each or €28 for team of four and there will be a raffle on the night.

The first Elemental was last year and featured a varied programme of events. What started as a one day event has now expanded to a whole weekend. It was great to see a new festival on the scene last year, along with the Make a Move Festival of Hip Hop Culture (which is happening again from July 26-28 this year).

Further details on Facebook: Twitter:@ElementalLmk or the website.