Lords Of Strut bring their mayhem to the Lime Tree Theatre this Saturday
Festivals are like Limerick buses - you wait forever for one and then you get two at once, both of which will zip by you if you don't run after one of them.
This weekend in Limerick you can catch the joys of Open House and I.NY, two festivals with plenty of unusual variety to amuse you. Plus the city hosts some great music and the return of the annual scare fest!
Thursday (October 17)
The Open House Limerick festival returns this weekend, opening at 8pm on Thursday with a free Belltable screening of Generate The State, Johnny Gogan's fine documentary about the building of Ardnacrusha.
If you're interested in how cities work and how cities can be made to work well, get yourself to St Mary's Cathedral at 6pm on Friday, where modernist architect Riccardo Marini will be giving a talk on place-making and involving citizens in urban planning. It's the sort of thing that you'd hope all of Limerick's city planners will be attending.
Open House's main events are the Saturday and Sunday tours of Limerick's landmark buildings and spaces we don't usually get to see inside. Highlights include the MIC Summerville house and Gardens International on Saturday and Ardnacrusha on Sunday. There's also a Limerick Treasure Hunt for children running all day on Saturday, starting at the Belltable. Most tours are first-come first served but a few need to be pre-booked on openhouselimerick.ie. All events are free.
Friday (October 18)
The I.NY Festival is back for its third outing in Limerick this weekend. Aimed at exploring the relationship between Ireland and New York, this year's festival features talks by author Kevin Barry, broadcaster John Kelly and historian Miriam Nyhan Grey.
It also serves up some of the best club nights you will experience in Limerick this Autumn, including the annual temporary rebirth of Limerick's beloved Strictly Rhythm.
Highlights of the festival are Kevin Barry's talk about writing for the New Yorker (5.30pm Friday at Dance Limerick, tickets €10), Strictly Rhythm in Dolan's Warehouse on Saturday night (doors at 11pm, tickets €10) and fiddle-player Martin Hayes in conversation with John Kelly, followed by a performance (7:30pm Sunday at Dance Limerick, tickets €25).
There are also some wonderful free events in I.NY - I particularly recommend the Hunt Museum's Being Irish In New York at 5:30pm on Thursday, which will explain to us why rich Irish-American Catholics aren't the absolute worst, and the IRL LGBTQ In New York panel discussion hosted by Una Mullally in Dolan's Upstairs on Friday at 9pm. See the full festival lineup at thisisiny.com.
The Scare Factory returns to Limerick this week for Halloween, offering you a tour filled with evil clowns and scary ghouls, all intent on stealing your soul and dragging it to the pits of hell for Satan's amusement.
Being scared by people is a perfectly good reason to get out of the house and it's a lot more fun if you go as part of a group. It runs in the old Cleeves factory every night between 7pm and 10pm from this Friday until November 3. Tickets are €15, or €20 if you want to skip the queue.
What do you get if you combine Irish folk music with an undercurrent of baroque murder ballads? You get Lankum, the Dublin four-piece group who take themes of Irish trad, deconstruct it, strangle it rather viciously and then turn it into something that wouldn't be out of place in an Appalachian moonshine bar. They're in Dolan's Warehouse this Friday, supported by Junior Brother. Their sound isn't uplifting stuff but if you like your music to be perfumed with the poetic underbelly of humanity's darkness, this gig is right up your alley. Doors at 8pm, tickets are €20.
Saturday (October 19)
Comedy acrobatic duo Lords Of Strut have been in heavy demand since reaching the semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent in 2017 and they're at the Lime Tree Theatre this Saturday with their Absolute Legends show.
The two Cork-based street performers are in search of the ultimate dance routine and are willing to sacrifice anyone and anything to achieve perfection. As it's a Lords Of Strut performance, you know not everything will go to plan and this show comes with a nice uplifting moral for any young children watching. It's a marvellously silly spectacle for a Saturday afternoon. 4pm, tickets are €10 and family tickets are €35.
Limerick shoegaze post-punkers His Father's Voice are in Pharmacia this Saturday night to launch their new single In The Shade. Promising as the group have been over the past year, the new record is an absolutely banging tune. It's already one of my favourite tracks of this year and is worth any attention it gets from the radio airplay gatekeepers. They'll be supported by Laurie Shaw and NOWONOS. Doors open at 9pm and tickets are the usual DIY LK fiver.
Le Boom continue their rise towards the pinnacle of the Irish electropop scene with a gig at Dolan's Warehouse this Saturday. It's very much inoffensive stuff but there's nothing wrong with inserting a catchy track into your head and have it roll around in your brain for years. If there's one thing Le Boom do, it's intoxicatingly catchy tunes. They've played all of Ireland's biggest festivals in the past year - Primavera, Longitude, Body & Soul and Electric Picnic - and you should definitely experience them live at least once. This is the gig you shouldn't miss this week. Doors at 9pm, tickets are €16.
Sunday (October 20)
Catch an afternoon of family fun this Sunday at Limerick Milk Market in aid of Leon's Lifeline. You can expect a few hours of kids' entertainment, a lantern-making workshop with Lumen Street Theatre and live music throughout. From 11am to 3pm and entry is free.
Qool DJ Marv hosts a New York block party this Sunday afternoon in Mickey Martins. He'll take you on a journey through forty years of NYC funk, soul and hip-hop for a full four hours between 2pm and 6pm. It's a free event for I.NY and you can drop in whenever you like. Wear a pimp hat if you don't mind people staring at you.
Mariele Neudecker's Sediment exhibition is at the Limerick City Gallery until November 17. The Open Minds exhibition at the Hunt Museum runs till November 24. Both free to see.
That's your lot for this weekend and, as always, if you go to things, there will be more things!