Frank McCourt plaque unveiled in Limerick

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Writer Donal Ryan unveils the plaque to Frank McCourt with Alphie McCourt and Mayor Jerry O'Dea. Picture: Michael Cowhey
YESTERDAY was the sixth anniversary of the death of Angela’s Ashes author Frank McCourt.

YESTERDAY was the sixth anniversary of the death of Angela’s Ashes author Frank McCourt.

And so it was fitting, that in a further accolade to one of Limerick’s most famous sons, a plaque was unveiled in his memory outside South’s pub where he had his first pint.

Unveiling the plaque, the award winning author Donal Ryan, of The Spinning Heart and The Thing about December, said sometimes you can love a book so much you “start to kind of love its writer”. “I could talk all the day about Frank McCourt. I only saw him in the flesh once, and he was sitting on Limerick street collecting for people in need, and that fact I think sums him up. I was too shy to even speak to him, let along tell him I loved him. But I always regret the chance of not telling him I loved his books.

“Any time I try to be a writer I draw on Frank McCourt. Any time I try to be a teacher of writing I draw on Frank McCourt. His legacy is perfect and unassailable. Angela’s Ashes was one of the greatest childhood memoirs of all time, and certainly the most beautiful, and ‘Tis and Teacher Man, in many ways are books on how to live, how to teach and how to write, that will enrich the lives of readers until the end of time,” he said.

Of the plaque, he said it will remind visitors and even inhabitants who pass by that a “beautiful spirit once dwelled here, that these cold stones still contain some of his energy and his life.”

“I’m so grateful to be asked to be here, and so proud to be part of this lovely tribute to one of the greatest sons of Limerick Frank McCourt,” he said, to rousing applause.

The plaque unveiling has been coordinated by Dominic Taylor, of The Limerick Writers’ Centre, who said “this venue will now become a stop on our literary walking tour of the city, for visitors to Limerick who wish to walk in the footsteps of a writer of inspiration”. Frank McCourt’s younger brother Alphie was among those in attendance, and said their mother would be very proud.