So, what did you make of that?
Published Date: 01 January 2009
We ask Limerick's cultural community for their personal highlights of 2008
Joan MacKernan, Limerick County Council Arts Officer"The highlight for me would be from our own programme. I had long wanted to have Brian Merriman's 'The Midnight Court' staged as part of our Eigse Michael Hartnett Literary festival and in April my dream was realised. The Arts Office commissioned Teaspach Theatre Company who, with Ciarda Tobin as director, produced a wonderful production that was performed at midnight in the Newcastle West Courthouse during the 'Hartnett' Weekend.
On another note the untimely deaths of poet and philosopher John O' Donoghue and writer and commentator Nuala O' Faoilain - whose contribution to Irish literature and society was outstanding and their passing has left a huge vacuum - were both very sad."
John Daly, Limerick Jazz Society"I would have several highlights from the year. From a Limerick Jazz Society point of view Manu Katche and John Abercrombie were great but from a personal perspective playing with Guy Barker was exceptional. The gig was great and he was a lovely guy to work with."
Caoimhe Reidy, general manager, Friars' Gate Theatre, "Top of the list for us was the award we received from the National Youth Council of Ireland for our youth drama outreach programme, which was run in tandem with Foroige and Fiona Quinn. It was part of our outreach programme which brings young people into the theatre, so it was great to get it.
On a programming front Rail Theatre Company's production of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest in May was a real highlight, and received a standing ovation. It was the first time we had them here and they were fantastic. The guitar player Preston Reed was also a memorable gig."
Dominic Taylor, co-organiser White House Poetry Revival"My highlight of 2008 must be the cultural twinning between Limerick and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne poets which took place last April with a visit to Limerick by a delegation from Northern Voices from Newcastle, led by poet Keith Armstrong.
Following a mayoral reception in City Hall a book marking the close ties established was launched, called 'Two Rivers Meet - Poetry from The Shannon and The Tyne'. The White House Poets reciprocated the visit in June when nine poets from Limerick visited Newcastle and met their Lord Mayor and gave a reading from the book."
Mick Dolan, Dolan's Warehouse"For me the highlight of they year was the festival we held in May celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Warehouse. The support we got for it was unbelievable and hopefully it will also be the highlight of next year. The atmosphere at all of the gigs was incredible, all of the bands played out of their skins and there was a real party vibe throughout the whole weekend. It was like the Warehouse, only bigger."
Mike Fitzpatrick, director, Limerick City Gallery of Art"There were a few things that were really special in the gallery, notably the opening of the Walter Verling retrospective. We had great fun gathering the works of the very sprightly 78-year-old painter and it was really lovely to see the culmination of all that work at the opening when Walter's friends and supporters gathered from around the country and it was wonderful to see the absolute quality of the paintings.
Showing the work of Simon Starling, a Turner prize winning artist, was a great honour for the gallery and the challenge of building a dry stone wall within the gallery is something I will remember for quite a while.
The best opening was for this year's Christmas exhibitions, Presence and Seeing Georgian Limerick, with 387 people attending the opening and it was a really fun evening."
Charlotte Eglington, Irish Chamber Orchestra"From the ICO's perspective our first ever cross collaboration with a theatre group, Storytellers Theatre Company, was a ground-breaking success for us. Also, performing Mendelssohn's technicolour score for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream was one of the most successful ventures in our productive year. As ever our MBNA Shannon International Music Festival was a major success, especially with the visit from Wayne Shorter and his jazz classical fusion band incorporating Imani Winds."
Joanne Beirne, Belltable Artistic Director"There was as a number of highlights for me through the year, one of which was the Lantern Parade held by the Northside Learning Hub from Thomondgate in November. The Belltable were delighted to facilitate and assist the project and it was great to see the children develop and the support the received from their families and the people of Limerick was fantastic.
For the Belltable this was a year of regeneration and we will have a wonderful new facility in 2009. Unfringed was a definite highlight from 2008, the level of activity from local and international performers, plus all of the new works presented, was excellent. The new space on Cecil Street, plus the Belltable Sessions in particular - which brought music back into the Belltable - were also standouts."
Emma Foote, UCH"It is hard to pick a highlight from a very busy year but having the great Billy Connolly perform at University Concert Hall to capacity crowds for three nights in May was very special. It was his first visit to Ireland in over 10 years and Limerick audiences really made it clear how popular he still is. There was a queue at UCH box office and the phone lines were jammed from 9am the morning the shows went on sale and all three sold out in a matter of hours.
Watching Twink (Adele King) lead hundreds of the 1,000 (female!) audience members up on stage for a finale song and dance number during the June run of Menopause The Musical at University Concert Hall was pretty memorable too."
Sarah Lynch, Limerick Event Guide and Eightball Promotions and Media"The Belltable Sessions with Si, Juno Falls, Nick Carswell and The Elective Orchestra and Walter Mitty and The Realists in September was definitely a highlight for me. The intimate venue, great acts who really pulled out all the stops with their acoustic, unplugged performances, the crowd's appreciative reaction and Juno Falls rendition of Paul Simon was magical. Everything a great live gig should be.
There were so many others; Roisin Murphy's December show in Dolan's was poptastic for all the right reasons; Beattorrent's set in the Trinity Rooms courtyard in July was amazing, a proper big and bouncy party; Kenny Dope, downstairs in Baker's, he's a legend, enough said; Lisa Hannigan in the Belltable Theatre, Colm Mac Con Iomaire in the same venue, The Swell Season in Daghdha, all Eightball shows but we know a good artist when we hear one; Mamuska in Daghdha, Teaspach Theatre and Pride 2008 in particular."
Joe Clarke, Trinity Rooms"Without a doubt my personal highlight of the year was Trinity Rooms 5th Birthday party back in July. From Kym Mazelle singing "Young Hearts Run Free" to the Ice Bar, Burlesque show, Casino and of course Beattorrent, it was our greatest party yet.
Outside of that, live shows from Republic of Loose, the opening of Thomond Park, Hot Chip, Mr Scruff and the Munster All Blacks match all made 2009 a year to remember for (at least some!) good reasons."
Sheila Deegan, Limerick City Council Arts Officer"Culture Night Limerick - which saw a host of city venues open their doors to the public for free back in September - was a personal highlight for me as we didn't know what to expect and it went way beyond our expectations."