Sarah recently released her novel A Strange Kind of Brave and also won the Limericks To Limerick competition this year!
What’s your idea of a perfect day in Limerick?
A morning in the city’s Granary Library (I’m part of a writing group which meets there regularly); a coffee in Hook and Ladder; a browse in our wonderful O’Mahonys bookshop on O’Connell St; chips in the Curragower.
What’s your first Limerick memory?
Arriving for an interview at UL thirty years ago, parking my mother’s mini outside Plassey House.
What’s your favourite part of the county/city and why?
There are so many wonderful places but Castleconnell is among the most special. The rowing club there, (where my daughter is a member) is set on a truly stunning stretch of the river - beautiful views, amazing wildlife, a club full of dedicated volunteer coaches and keen, committed rowers.
What about a favourite local walk or view?
Best place for a bike ride: The riverside walk from Corbally to UL. Best place for a walk: Castleconnell (see above) and The Clare Glens.
What do you think gives Limerick its unique identity?
The arts scene here is fantastic. Limerick’s literary festival (aka The Kate O’Brien weekend) that’s held every February has a real uniqueness and vibrance to it, cleverly showcasing the best of the city. UL’s creative writing summer school now brings Limerick’s creative culture to New York every June, reinforcing the cultural links between the two cities. The Belltable, The Lime Tree, Limerick City Gallery of Art, The Hunt Museum, Dolan’s Warehouse, the University Concert Hall, the Irish Chamber Orchestra. We are lucky to have so many resources supporting theatre, art, music, culture and creativity on our doorstep.
Do you have a favourite local restaurant?
The Grove on Cecil St is a vegetarian restaurant, which, established in 1982 has always been ahead of its time. Cheese and spinach tart may not sound like your cup of tea, but honestly, you’ve got to try it. For me it’s the ultimate comfort food. And their salads are so delicious and healthy that I’m pretty sure eating them makes you immortal.
How would you describe the people of Limerick?
I’m originally from Dublin but I have always felt thoroughly welcome in this city. Limerick people have a brilliant low-key kind of humour that’s different and darker and funnier than anywhere in the world. People here are decent and generous and kind too.
How important do you think sport is to Limerick?
I get a ripple of pride every time I pass the stunning Thomond Park, not far from where I live. Our university’s sports arena and its running tracks and facilities makes UL a place where health and fitness can be an integrated part of every students’ experience, accessible also by our local communities.
If you could add one amenity to Limerick what would it be?
Better, safer, wider, more joined-up bike paths so that we could all cycle safely and happily around the city.
What are the biggest challenges facing the city/county today?
Mental health provision and hospital overcrowding. Limerick is wonderful, but these problems continue to cast a long shadow, and desperately need to be addressed.
Sarah Moore (Fitzgerald) is professor of teaching and learning at the University of Limerick. She was the inaugural chair of Ireland’s National Forum for Higher Education. Her research interests include writing development across genres, creativity and effective pedagogy. She’s also an award-winning novelist. Her latest book for young adults, A Strange Kind of Brave, came out in July. Follow her on twitter @smoorefitz