My Limerick with cycling advocate Rachel Enright

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

My Limerick with cycling advocate Rachel Enright

Rachel with her children Leo and Amelia

What’s your idea of a perfect day, or a perfect weekend, in Limerick?

An ideal day in Limerick would be one spent with friends and family. Limerick really does family events well such as Riverfest, Culture Night, the fireworks for New Years, St Patrick’s Day and the band parade - all really good events. Limerick is a great place to meet people and events like this really draw the crowds and you are always guaranteed to meet with friends.

What’s your first Limerick memory?

My first memory of Limerick would probably be the old Savoy Cinema. I think we went to see Honey I Shrunk the Kids and I can remember the queue for the cinema being out the door and around the corner onto Henry Street. I was fascinated with the crowds, something you don’t see at the movies anymore. I also remember being very young and being in the Top of the Town and the Crescent Theatre. I enjoy the thrill of taking part, the hype of winning and I still know the song we sang off by heart. 

What’s your favourite part of the county/city and why?

My favourite part of Limerick city would have to be how accessible it is. We recently began cycling a good bit as a family and everything is within max 15 minutes of our home. We are very lucky to live in a city that is flat and despite popular belief has relatively favorable weather. I can cycle from home, to drop off number 1 at school on O’Connell Avenue, then drop off number 2 at King’s Island community crèche before getting to work in the city centre. This commute take me max 25 minutes. 

What about a favourite local walk or view?

My favourite places to walk or attempt to run are the bridges over the Shannon. And this walk also has my favourite view. From Arthur’s Quay across the river, past King John's Castle and the view of the hills. It’s a fantastic backdrop for our city. I find it so relaxing  to be near the water. When the evenings are nice it’s so lovely to see so many families out using the walkways. Personally, I would love to see the areas around the river pedestrianised so that as a parent you could relax that little bit more.

What do you think gives Limerick its unique identity?

The people of Limerick make Limerick unique. I recently went to a dentist who was not Irish but had spent time in other counties and he told me how he was blown away by how smiley Limerick people are. It’s something we take for granted at times. But I think Limerick people are genuinely warm and friendly. 

Do you have a favourite local restaurant?

The chefs at the East Room in UL are extremely talented. It’s real five star dining. I also love the Milk Thistle in Mungret College for breakfast and Story or Papa’z for lunch. Limerick has some really good local dining options. 

How would you describe the people of Limerick?

Cycling through Limerick city with our kids as part of Limerick cycle bus really highlights how courteous and kind Limerick people can be. The large majority of people smile at us especially when they see how much our kids enjoy their early morning commute to school. And although our roads are not designed for cyclists the majority of drivers give us space to manoeuvre through lanes and junctions. Also, the other families we meet whilst cycling are some great people, they have been  so kind and encouraging to my kids and I, without them I fear we would be destined to be sat bumper to bumper each morning in the rat race to school and work. 

How important do you think sport is to Limerick?

Limerick has some fantastic sports clubs. Our eldest daughter plays with Limerick Celtics. It’s a great club with great management and they are always so encouraging of each child. The Learning Hub kickboxing club is also a great assist to young and old in the city. We are firm believers in keeping our kids as active as possible. Which is one of the reasons we got involved with Limerick Cycle Bus. However, Limerick isn’t short of fantastic clubs and no matter which sports our four year old chooses I‘m confident that Limerick has a large variety for him to choose from.

What’s the biggest challenge facing the city/county today?

I believe the biggest challenge facing Limerick today is the fact that our main streets are not some where you would feel at ease especially with children. I sometimes feel like I need to get just through as quickly as possible to one of the pedestrian streets and it’s not somewhere I find myself wanting to spend too much time. Cyclovia recently was a prime example of how Limerick city could be. People gathered, children played and it really instilled a real sense of pride and ownership of our city. I also believe that the lack of housing in the city contributes to the fact that the city centre is deserted after 6pm and there isn't enough to entice people back in the evenings. City centre homes which are attractive to families and people of all ages would really breath life into our city. But in the short term a city centre cinema, a locally run late night coffee shop and more family friendly activities would be enough to get locals and visitors using the city more.