VISITING LIMERICK, IRELAND
The Irish city of Limerick
is probably best known for the ribald rhymes supposedly invented by its wags, and, lately, as the setting for the alleged "memoir" by Frank McCourt of his impoverished Depression-era childhood there. Neither of these "claims to fame" do justice to this historic gateway to Ireland's beautiful Southwest.
Just sixteen miles from Shannon Airport via
the N18 national highway, Limerick is the crossroads for routes that take the visitor south to the Lakes of Killarney and west to the Hills of Tipperary. But the city is not just a place for passing through,
and it's well worth spending a few hours or an overnight to take in its attractions.
Among the historic points of interest are: King John's Castle, a mighty fortress built in 1200 by the Normans; St. Mary's Cathedral, final resting place of several of Ireland's high kings; and the Treaty Stone, a monument to English perfidy in the 17th century, where Irish rebels surrendered to save the populace, and the slaughter began before the ink was dry on the treaty.
The city is now known, however, not just for its history, but as a major shopping area for the west of Ireland. The Arthur's Quay Shopping Centre and the new Cruise Street pedestrian mall are great places to pick up Irish products. Cultural afficionados will enjoy the Hunt Museum, which boasts a large collection of Celtic art, while the Limerick City Museum features some of Ireland's more recent paintings of note.
Those who choose to stay over can pick from several first class hotels, including Jury's Inn, Greenhills and the Castletroy Park. For dining, there's Querelles
or Freddy's Bistro, and for Irish music, go to Nancy Blake's Pub or Hogan's.
Additional information on Limerick can be obtained by calling the Irish Tourist Board at 1-800-223-6470, or logging
on to their website at www.irelandvacations.com
RVC ST. PATRICK'S PARADE
A unique St. Patrick's Parade, co-chaired by Limerick-born restauranteur Dave Crowe of Lily Flanagan's fame, is the Rockville Centre St. Patrick's Parade, which steps off at 12 noon on Saturday March 24 at Long Beach Road and Maple Avenue. What's unusual about this parade, now LI's largest, is that it annually aids three charities through sponsorships and fundraising events. This year's charities are the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Bridges for Peace and St. Agnes Parish Outreach. The Grand Marshal's reception, in honor of Irish American business leader William Flynn, will be held Friday evening March 23 at the Rockville Links Country Club. For information, call Ken and Keely Collins at (516)764-8729. For information on parade sponsorships, call Joe Kelly at(516)536-3538, or for general info, call Co-Chairman Bud Cosgrove at (516)766-2582. Slainte!