Damien Dempsey with the 'King of New York' Brendan Behan launching I.NY, which takes place in Limerick Picture: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
I FOUND myself listening to RTE Radio 1 one morning last week. During an ad break in the Sean O’Rourke show, a thirty second spot gave details for the first I.NY Festival which is to be held in Limerick from this Thursday until October 15.
Forgive me if I am wrong, but this was one of the first times I had heard a Limerick festival plugged on national radio.
There is a reason for this. The I.NY Festival has been in the pipeline for a number of years. A lot of planning; a lot of soul searching; a lot of research and many, many hours of work have gone in to making this festival a reality.
Significantly, I.NY has received funding from Failte Ireland under the National Grant strand, the first time a Limerick project has received such funds.
What is also important to note is the fact that this is the inaugural year of I.NY.
The fact that Failte Ireland has committed to funding it suggests the tourism body is very aware of the potential I.NY has in terms of growth over the next three to five years.
The concept of I.NY is simple. It will explore the connection between Ireland and New York City through art, literature, music, education, business and more. It will be hosted in Limerick and will welcome a diverse range of speakers.
The festival has been developed by David O’Donovan and Aoife Flynn. Both have many years of experience in the area of cultural, music and festival development. What interests me is the fact that both in recent years decided to embark on academic courses to further develop their skills in terms of festival development.
In Flynn’s case she completed an MA in Cultural Entrepreneurship at Trinity College. O’Donovan completed the MA in Festival Arts which is delivered by the University of Limerick. This investment in further education has clearly reaped rewards.
O’Donovan and Flynn have clearly developed a detailed understanding of what is required to deliver a new cultural project of note.
The I.NY team have only had just over six months to deliver year one of the festival. What has been achieved in that short period of time deserves acknowledgement.
They have secured names such as Damien Dempsey, Jane O’Meara Sanders, Orla Kiely, Tim O’Connor, Glen Hansard, Joseph O’Connor and Rhonda Sherman.
They have secured the organisers of the popular Dublin club Mother to host a Limerick residency which will also see New York DJ Qool Marv participate. Cork’s Sunday Times club will also play the I.NY Festival Club.
They have formed links with the New York Tenement Museum. They have a host of film screenings. They are hosting a fascinating symposium and a I.NY Gathering event.
I.NY must be acknowledged as one of the most exciting event to be developed in Limerick in many years.
They team are in ongoing discussions with Failte Ireland to ensure the project continues to develop its reach going forward.
If year one is anything to go by, we in Limerick should be extremely excited by the potential this festival has to put us on the map in the coming years.
Full details on the I.NY Festival line-up can be found at www.thisisiny.com.
A riverside walk out to University of Limerick celebrated in verse
My thanks to Oonagh Kirby who sent me this poem during the week where she celebrates Limerick Smarter Travel through the form of poetry.
Ode to Limerick Smarter Travel
Want some soul food
That's fun and free?
Just stroll with me
Along the riverside walk from Corbally to U.L.
Who you will meet, you never can tell!
First stop is The Lagoon
Let's shoot the breeze,
or watch the terrier give the swan a tease!
Amble along with the slow talkers,
Run past the fast walkers!
Ramble through the woods,
or grab a free lemonade
before The Smarter Travel Bike Parade!
Ponder on the beauty of this place,
That has no boundaries for age, race or pace!
Smell the freshly-cut grass,
The Council Parks Team enhance the scene
for Fr. Derek's mystical Dawn Mass.
Mid-week attracts the junior Triathlon Team
They really are living the dream!
Of course, there are also the lecturers and students
biking to College, where do they carry all that knowledge?
Walk, run, bike, skate along the way
or sit with Granny, catching the rays,
Telling us, that these are the days!
She says she will follow us to
the Outdoor Gym, her Tír na nÓg or just a whim?
Watch the children cycle over the white bridges
full of fun and laughter
Everyone wants a Happy-ever-After!
So, go raibh míle..... to Limerick Smarter Travel,
What an ancient gem you did unravel!
Well done Oonagh!