LIMERICK’s arts festival with a difference has officially opened in Roches Street this week.
Lily’s clothes shop, which opened in the unit occupied by Helene Modes, played host to the opening of the Roches Street Traders Festival, which is back for its 13th year in a row.
The 12-day festival sees traders put works by new as well as renowned artists on display in their windows.
While shopping, people on the street will see a piece of art alongside the other products each trader sells.
If interested, they can go in and bid for the artwork, with 25% of the proceeds split between Children at Risk in Ireland (Cari) and Rape Crisis Mid-West.
More than €100,000 has been raised for charities since the popular festival kicked off.
A number of artists have agreed to forego their cut of the proceeds from paintings, including long-time festival contributors Anne-Murray Browne and Tom Greaney, plus Marie Buckley, Marie Jacques and Una Kelly.
Businessman Colm O’Brien, a Cari board member, spoke at the opening of the festival, saying he hopes other streets got together in the same way as those in Roches Street.
“I think it is wonderful to see the synergy between the arts community and traders. I was passing John Sadlier’s shop earlier, and it is quite amazing to think you can go into a fishmongers shop in a city centre location and buy a wonderful piece of art. It is quite unique,” he said.
Mary Madden, of Cari, guaranteed all the money donated from the Roches Street traders festival will remain supporting the charities work in Limerick.
Miriam Duffy, of Rape Crisis Mid-West, added: “The community spirit in Limerick, and particularly Roches Street is so vibrant.”
On Saturday, the mid-way point of the festival will be marked with a street party organised by Arts Connect.
There will be dancers, traditional music instrumentalists and a cookery demonstration, with the fun getting under way at 11am.