Limerick City of Culture 2014: Creative, quirky, cool

King John's Castle at sunset, Limerick County
King John's Castle at sunset, Limerick County

Keen on the quirky/cool side of life? Limerick city has you covered, Daddy-o.

For every big international event in 2014’s Irish City of Culture, there’s a small show, exhibition or art display in an off-beat venue.

This means that no matter when you arrive or what you’ve got planned, you’ll find an impromptu cultural event taking place in a park, Georgian house, or even just on the streets. And it’s all for free!

How about some art along the River Shannon, for starters? Moving water meets dynamic sculpture with Denis Tricot’s Rendez-vous de Terre et Mer in May. The curves of Tricot’s super-light poplar wood sculptures make a perfect foil to Limerick’s chunky 800-year-old King John’s Castle and historic bridges. Watch them turn a walk along the river into an entirely artistic experience.

Keep your eyes peeled around the city for outdoors art springing up where you least expect it. As part of the Draw Out – Urban Exhibitionists project, arresting visual creations will take over disused sites around the city. You never know what’s around the corner.

Pop-ups are all part of the spontaneity of the City of Culture year and Limerick is most definitely embracing its free-spirited side for 2014. We’re talking a showcase of the city’s Georgian heritage in a Pop-Up Museum in an early Georgian house on Rutland Street; art while you snack on scones at the Hunt Café’s Limerick Printmakers’ exhibition; and a biodiversity garden on the corner of Anne’s Street and Thomas Street.

And then there’s Happenings. Known for setting up outdoor cinemas in some of Dublin’s most magical parks, Happenings will be running pop-up cultural events at a mere 36 hours notice. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook and you’ll be able to find out the latest event, instantly!

There are mobile pubs staging cultural events, dance performances on the street, and with the River Shannon Project, even a play performed on the river. Limerick isn’t just celebrating culture for 2014, it’s living it, breathing it and changing the way you think about it. 

Five-point mini guide to the city of culture

Eat...

Limerick has a sophisticated restaurant scene with favourites such as Freddy’s Bistro and The Glasshouse. For great seafood in relaxed surroundings, nab a table at The Curragower Pub on Clancy’s Strand. Said to be the city’s oldest pub, it’s a hotbed of fishy favorites, with fresh Irish mussels, baked seafood pie and open smoked salmon sandwiches. 

Shop...

With a flea market on Fridays, a food market on Saturday and a family fair on Sunday, the historic Milk Market is your go-to stop in Limerick for everything from old-school vinyl to homemade chutneys.

See...

Come for the culture, stay for the sights. Limerick is one of the island’s under-celebrated sightseeing cities. Enjoy history at the 800-year-old King John’s Castle, art at the Limerick City Gallery, and literary walking tours. Job done.

Enjoy...

Pop into the White House pub, a legendary venue that hosts open-mic poetry nights and live traditonal music sessions. A properly “cultural” pub. 

Explore...

You’re right on the River Shannon so why not take the opportunity to see more of this exceptional river, with its wildlife, breathtaking views and charming waterside villages.