AT midnight on December 31, the bells of St Mary’s Cathedral will toll and ring in 2014, and with it major transformational change for Limerick.
Following the local elections on May 22, the Limerick City and County councils as we know them will cease to exist, and a new unified council representing a joint local authority for the region will come into power.
As Limerick faces this important year - perhaps the most important since the signing of the Treaty some 320-plus years ago - the arts minister Jimmy Deenihan, in his wisdom, has seen fit to award a national cultural status on the city as it undergoes “a process of profound change”.
We have seen in recent weeks and months that the Limerick City of Culture 2014 project has not been without its problems, and even now, just days from inception, could yet be rankled with more internal disputes.
But once the clock chimes on midnight on December 31 and fireworks explode above the city skyline, the year of culture will being, offering a major opportunity for Limerick to reinvent itself, to rid itself of a much maligned and unwarranted reputation.
A major concert, among the biggest the city centre has ever seen, will herald the arrival of City of Culture, with RTE to broadcast the event around the world.
We know the quality of Limerick’s culture, from art to food to sport, as we endeavour to bring you the best coverage we can of local events on a year round basis.
Those familiar with Limerick and her fighting spirit know of the quality of the artistic community based here and emanating from here, some of which bubbles beneath the surface, a lot of toil for scant reward.
On January 1 until the closing night in December 31, 2014, the national spotlight will shine on Limerick as a cultural programme runs for 12 months, hopefully drawing some of the success of the 2013 Gathering project with it, and bringing an influx of visitors with it.
This will be a crucial year, we must make the most of it if we can.