Limerick 'sings' as European Capital of Culture 2020 judges arrive

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Limerick 'sings' as European Capital of Culture 2020 judges arrive

Zach Collins and Skyla Flood at Cleeve's for the silent disco Picture: Adrian Butler

MEMBERS of the jury panel running the rule over Limerick’s bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2020 are on a whistle stop tour of the city.

Two of the ten person panel that regulate the process – accompanied by a EU Commission official and a counterpart from the Department of Arts – are visiting Limerick this Tuesday, having visited Galway on Monday and ahead of a visit to Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny, the Three Sisters bid, on Wednesday.

The panel, accompanied by Limerick 2020 bid director and deputy director Mike Fitzpatrick and Sheila Deegan, visited Moyross and the Cleeve’s Factory site – currently home to the Eva International exhibition – before lunchtime this Tuesday.

A huge crowd took part in an outdoor silent disco at Cleeve’s as the judges arrived and the impact of the event was clear to see on the EU Commission representatives. Members of the Brothers of Charity and Daughters of Charity took part, as did Limerick Youth Theatre and a host of other youth organisations.

Eva curator Koyo Kouoh and director Woodrow Kernohan personally shepherded the judges around the exhibition, answering any questions they had.

A major street party, encompassing the Culture and Chips festival, is taking over a number of city streets until 7pm today, centred around the Crescent, with the jury to visit sometime in the afternoon.

On Monday evening, the bells of 10 Limerick churches rang out at 8.20pm – or 20.20 – to welcome the judges to Limerick and start 24 hours of celebration.

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy said he had “witnessed a continuing revival of all things cultural and today sees a city with a very proud identity”.

“We just wanted to do something to mark the moment. This is a big week with the jurors here and, in its own right, is the end of one leg of the journey and we felt the ringing of the bells across the city was a great way to do this,” he explained of the move, which saw bells toll at all Catholic churches and St Mary’s Cathedral.

“Limerick has every reason to celebrate as it has come a long way from where it was a decade or so ago. The cultural revival across Limerick is a great trumpeting of that and has been building steadily over the years.

“Limerick is most definitely singing again and if the National City of Culture programme two years ago did a lot to give voice to this, then 2020 would take Limerick to a whole new place and a place it thoroughly deserves to be.”