Limerick turns out for giant of a woman
Street extravaganza is highlight of Limerick’s year as City of Culture
It seems the Irish hospitality proved too much for one 85-year-old visiting grandmother, whose Sunday lie-in left thousands waiting in anticipation in Limerick yesterday. The final farewell to the gentle giant who captivated the hearts of more than 200,000 people in Limerick this weekend was delayed after her sleep-in also meant she missed her boat home.
High tides and technical issues were being blamed but it seems the half-Breton, half-Irish grandmother may also have indulged in one or two whiskeys too many during her visit to the Treaty City.
The street extravaganza by French theatre company Royal de Luxe was the highlight of Limerick’s year as City of Culture and cost €1 million to produce. Despite some disappointment over the cancellation of her departure on the river Shannon, thousands of spectators who lined the riverside enjoyed a few extra hours with the giant grandmother as she took one final power nap on O’Connell Street in the heart of the city’s main thoroughfare.
Crowds in excess of 230,000 flocked to Limerick over the weekend to see the Royal de Luxe giant make her three-day epic journey through the city. The record turnout is the highest the city has witnessed with more than twice the amount of people attending the giant’s journey as the pope’s visit to Limerick in 1979.
“The attendance at the event has exceeded all our expectations with in excess of 200,000 visitors over the weekend. It has been a massive boost for the economy,” said Mike Fitzpatrick, director of Limerick City of Culture.
“The granny has captured the hearts of not only those who visited the city but overseas with photographs, videos and images being shared throughout the world, putting Limerick firmly on the map.”
The city centre was pedestrianised until 7pm each day for the street theatre event, which it is hoped will become a gigantic part of Limerick’s history.
During her three-day stay, the 25ft giant visited some of the city’s regeneration areas and enjoyed an afternoon nap in Lee Estate, along with an overnight stay in Sarsfield Barracks and Shelbourne Park.
“The organisers ensured that all parts of Limerick were given the opportunity to participate and it meant going into all areas, including the regeneration areas,” said Conn Murray, chief executive of Limerick City and County Council.
“This meant everybody got an opportunity to see the granny and be part of the celebration and to see what City of Culture is about,” he added.