What’s your idea of a perfect day, or a perfect weekend, in Limerick?
To start, an early visit to the Milk Market to meet some of Limerick’s finest characters and stock up on essential supplies, then home, walk the dogs, a few hours in the polytunnel. A light lunch of home grown salad served outside preferably, weather permitting. Puck a ball around the back with the kids or going to one of their matches. A nice dinner of our own roast duck a glass of red and quality time with my family.
What’s your first Limerick memory?
I think growing up on a farm in Monagea, West Limerick has lots of wonderful memories for me. From bringing in the cows for milking from the top of the hill with my dog Bingo, to milking my own goats at the age of 10 and selling the milk to the neighbours. Drawing in the bales during the summer, getting to travel back to the barn on top of the full trailer of bales before stacking the barn with bales for the winter. We also used to slaughter our own animals then, we made black and white pudding and butchered our own meats for the freezer. This is where I believe my passion for food began.
What’s your favourite part of the county/city and why?
It has to be Rathcahill Hill; the views from the farm and the kitchen window where I grew up are breath-taking. On a clear day you can see all of the Golden Vale from the Clare Hills, through the Galtee Mountains in Tipperary and down into north Cork. The smell of the heather and gorse are nostalgic and bring back fond memories of days spent outdoors with neighbours and friends.
What about a favourite local walk or view?
The Great Southern Greenway is only a 2 minute walk from my house, I walk there at least four days a week with my two springer spaniels. It is the perfect place to relax and recuperate and a fantastic amenity for the west Limerick area.
What do you think gives Limerick its unique identity?
We have a food culture and affiliation to food production like no other area. We have the finest food markets in the country, one in every town in Limerick. From the pork and bacon factories and ham producers of old to the exceptional beef and dairy producers of today, not to mention the abundance of fruit, vegetable and salad growers all in the Limerick area. This is the Limerick I love and through my work with Limerick Food Group and The Pigtown Food Series we run in the autumn I endeavor to keep this unique identity alive for the next generation to appreciate.
Do you have a favourite local restaurant?
I have a few but the one I enjoy with my wife for over 20 years is The Mustard Seed in Ballingarry; the food and service are always outstanding
How would you describe the people of Limerick?
Limerick people are sharp, we have a grittiness and resilience about us that can weather any storm.
How important do you think sport is to Limerick?
Sport is integral for Limerick, it's in our blood. Limerick people are very passionate about sport from GAA to Rugby and Football to Golf. The sports arena in UL is second to none, we have fantastic amenities for sport in Limerick and it shows its worth with the quality of sporting legends we have produced throughout the years
If you could add one amenity to Limerick what would it be?
I think an indoor concert or entertainment venue with a capacity of more than 15,000 would be a fantastic amenity for Limerick. Locals here and in the surrounding counties are great supporters of all local concerts and entertainment. To have a venue that could operate 12 months of the year attracting all demographics at different times throughout the year would be a huge boost to local economy.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the city/county today?
It has to be the current crisis we are in since Covid-19 has hit us. There is a huge task for the government to get all industries going again when we are out the other side of this. Rebuilding the confidence in the local economy and to support our local tourism industry. There is no sector unaffected in this crisis and I believe it’s only through collaboration with the tourism boards, county council and government we can get through this.