Rev Paul Fitzpatrick
A LIMERICK city priest has expressed his views on how the city should better utilise one of its most ‘valuable sources of energy, life, death, challenge and inspiration’ - the River Shannon.
Rev Paul Fitzpatrick of Limerick City Parish, who originally hails from Carlow, has said: “the waterway is unique. As comparable, if not spectacularly outshining, Venice, Parks Canada and the Rideau Canal - which has many similarities to the Shannon and is now designated as a world heritage site.”
“Our city of Limerick standing at the point where the river meets the seawater is a wonder of majesty, magic and unpredictable wildness and if sought, serenity,” he added.
“This city also possesses an extraordinary people that the water shapes.”
Rev Fitzpatrick posed the question: “wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if we honoured and allowed this source to teach us?”
Rev Fitzpatrick said Riverfest this year “provided an amazing forum that allowed the communities and beneficiaries of the water to meet and engage.
“It allowed many to listen to local wisdom and knowledge,” he continued, “if we can continue to harness this and merge it with the endeavour and skill of our local political officials a teaching moment and a concrete diamond mine can be uncovered.
“Prior to Riverfest, Waterways Ireland provided Primary School Resources that were distributed to some schools.
“Wouldn’t it be another wonderful opportunity to educate all our people at all levels within the city and our counties systems about the treasures in our midst?” he asked.
Paul has a good idea of exactly how this can be achieved: “the first step is to listen to what the waterway is saying to us. Let’s look at what is unique in an adaptive, collaborative, realigned way that offers natural, sustainable, local and economic potential with astronomical possibilities.
“Let’s change the narrative,” he said, “we need to find a language that turns a blind spot into the world-class natural reality that it is.
“There is nowhere as unique as our stretch of waterway and our historic Ketch llen has returned from her extraordinary voyage to Western Greenland, let us honour the crew and vessel,” he added, “why not turn Limerick into a centre of excellence, boat building and heritage?
“Why not honour the Ketch llen and provide solid educational substance to our very intelligent and intellectually hungry population?” he asked, “why can we not enable state of the art modern facilities to be created enhanced, cleaned, fixed and maintained that attracts national and international personnel, tourists and users to our terrain?
“God bless our city. Correction, the Divine has blessed us already with the Shannon waterway.”