For visitors to Ireland Limerick may not be the first stop on their agenda but a surprising number of tourists are discovering that the literary and cultural life of Limerick has much to offer. In modern times, Limerick has become a hotbed of the arts. New events, publications etc are constantly being added to the cultural calendar and literature has been more than catered for in this welcome development.
Limerick has had a troubled history. Dating back to its first inhabitants there have always been wars and rumours of war. But despite this Limerick has produced some of the ablest writers to come out of Ireland. People like Maurice Lenihan, Gerald Griffin, Francis O’Donnell, Kate O’Brien and more recently Jim Kemmy, Desmond O’Grady, Michael Hartnett, Michael Curtin, Mike Finn and Frank McCourt all of whom have played a major role in the cultural and literary life of the city.
There is no doubt that Frank McCourt is our most famous literary export having put the city on the map as a result of his memoir Angela’s Ashes. But beneath the glamour of media hype and celebrity there continues, beavering away producing new work, a coterie of writers who may never reach the dizzy heights of Frank McCourt but non the less oil the wheels of the literary life of the city making it possible for, perhaps, a new superstar to emerge from the ashes of this ancient city.
Our work at the Limerick Writers’ Centre, since its foundation just over five years ago, has managed to provide a platform for those with an ambition to write, whether they be aspiring poets, playwrights or novelists we have endeavoured to provide much needed guidance and critique of their work.
Proof that there is an appetite for things literary in the city and surrounding area are the number of people who attend our monthly literary gathering ‘On The Nail’ the first Tuesday of every month in The Loft Venue, Locke Bar, George’s Quay, Limerick – one of Limericks oldest pubs it is now one of Limericks most vibrant, professionally run cultural and entertainment venues. A packed house is the order of the day made up of interested patrons who avidly listen to the invited guest readers and also from the open-mic, which takes place after the main reading.
So Limerick continues to offer and produce a stream of writers some of whom, like the young poet Edward O’Dwyer, will surely take their place at the top table of the literary establishment in the near future.
If you are from Limerick or just visiting take the time to explore this ancient city and its literary history…you will be well rewarded.