Movies, music and mayhem at Limerick’s Theatre Royal

first_imgPrint Previous articleAfghan who hates Irish people ‘incentivised to return home’ court toldNext articleHead down to Plan’s arty party at Friday Milk Market Alan Jacqueshttp://www.limerickpost.ie Email London commemoration for famous Limerick exiles Advertisement Lighting up a Limerick legend Facebook Linkedincenter_img Twitter NewsMovies, music and mayhem at Limerick’s Theatre RoyalBy Alan Jacques – April 28, 2016 2639 RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR WhatsApp TAGSAustralian Pink FloydBilly NastyBoogie WonderlandBoyzoneCatherine HayesFather TedfeaturedJohn McCormacklimerickLimerick Film ArchiveMy Lovely HorseOscar WildePatrick PearsePicturehousePress 22Roger CasementSeamus FlynnSharon ShannonSlackjawSpice-ish GirlsThe CorrsThe CranberriesThe HitchersThe ProdigyThe Royal ProjectTheatre Royal THE Eurovision episode of Father Ted was filmed in Limerick’s Theatre Royal. Patrick Pearse also roused volunteers in the same hall. Oscar Wilde delivered a talk on his personal impressions of America here and The Cranberries took to its stage after selling their first million records Stateside. There is now plans afoot for a four-screen cinema and digital hub. Limerick Post reporter Alan Jacques recently visited his old haunt.I STAND centrestage in a landmark building in the heart of Limerick City and breathe in its rich history and consider all those who have tread its boards.In the year of 1916 Centenary commemorations, it is almost impossible not to conjure up images of Patrick Pearse rousing volunteers in this same hall more than a hundred years ago.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up On the same cold Sunday night back in 1914, Roger Casement, another founding father of the Irish Republic, was also present.The walls of the Limerick Athenaeum at 2, Upper Cecil Street are steeped in history. Since it was built in 1833, it played a pivotal role in Limerick life for more than 150 years, drawing the community together to laugh, love, learn and dream.The venue has served many purposes down the years as an art school, lecture hall, library, theatre, cinema and live music venue.Sadly, the doors of what was known in its last incarnation as the Theatre Royal have been closed since 1997.In its heyday, Limerick Athenaeum played host to an impressive range of luminaries from Oscar Wilde to Maud Gonne, Catherine Hayes and John McCormack.While in more recent times everyone from The Cranberries to The Corrs, The Prodigy and Boyzone have plied their musical wares here.A church pulpit is curiously placed over on the corner of the stage. I am told it was a prop left over from one of two ‘Father Ted’ episodes filmed in the Theatre Royal. It was on this very stage that Fathers Crilly and McGuire crooned their way through ‘My Lovely Horse’ in that unforgettable Eurovision episode.Most of us of a certain vintage will also have very fond memories of the venue as the Royal Cinema. I can remember being brought to see Franco Zeffirelli’s epic ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ here when I was just six-years-old.I asked photographer Brian Gavin of Press 22, who joins me for this trip down memory lane, about his recollections of the old movie house.“Oh, I remember it well. I loved Westerns and my father used to take me to see all the John Wayne movies here,” Brian recalls.“We knew it as the flea market. You’d be itching all over after coming to see a film at the Royal. You’d have to be deloused when you got home.”Interestingly, Declan McLoughlin of Limerick Film Archive, and Dave Burns, director of The Royal Project, both remember ‘Raging Bull’ as the last film they saw at the city centre cinema. The film, a classic, stars Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s emotional tale about a self-destructive boxer.Speaking of pugilists, the venue has taken a real pummeling in the last number of years. The harsh winter of 2010, which caused pipes to burst, delivered a severe body blow leaving the hall’s wooden floor buckled, uprooted in places, and in serious disrepair.That said, if Declan and Dave have their way, the Royal could, one day in the not so distant future, rise like a beautiful, fiery phoenix to relive some of its former glories.Their plan is to transform this desolate relic into a vibrant four-screen cinema, café/bar and digital hub that would bring much-needed life back into the city centre. The cost of realising this wonderful dream comes in at around €5.9 million — €12 million less than proposed for the controversial footbridge over the River Shannon.It may not make any of the ‘greatest movies of all time’ polls but as it turns out, the last film screened at the Royal was ‘Police Academy 2’.As I walk around one of my favoured city hangouts of the mid-nineties, the memories come rushing back. I vividly remember my old pals, Limerick band ‘The Hitchers’, launching their debut album ‘It’s All Fun and Games ‘Til Someone Loses An Eye’ here back in 1997 to a full house and real rabble-rousing party atmosphere.In the main foyer, a poster advertises a Picturehouse concert at the Theatre Royal on a bygone Sunday June 29 to promote their single ‘Heavenly Day’. Another talks up Billy Nasty, who performed here on Friday August 27, 1997, as “the UK’s number one Techno DJ”.A condom machine looks forlornly down from the wall of an upstairs toilet in this boogie wonderland. Once upon a time, it dispensed ‘sensual, ribbed and coloured’ variety packs to randy concertgoers with their minds on making sweet music of a different kind.In the dressing room, a flood of images come out to greet me from an antique mirror as I revel in a moment of nostalgia in these cosy backstage quarters. I can still picture former proprietor, the affable and charming Seamie Flynn, walking these corridors, greeting musicians and patrons as if into his home.Sitting on the bar in the main hall, an unopened bottle of Corrib Ginger Ale still waits patiently for a stiff drink to come along and liven things up.Posters and fliers that litter the venue tell their own tales of raucous musical capers from the likes of Sharon Shannon, The Spice-ish Girls, Slackjaw and the Australian Pink Floyd.These walls are filled with music, memories and laughter. Hopefully one day soon they will ooze vitality once more.It would be a Royal shame if they don’t!by Alan [email protected] pictures by Brian Gavin/Press 22last_img read more

Tara Pacific Expedition wraps up in Boston

first_imgSchooner finishes its research mission, offers onboard visits, and partners with Radcliffe Institute for science lectureAfter more than two years at sea, the research schooner Tara docked in Boston for a weeklong visit.During the Tara Pacific Expedition, which began in May 2016, the vessel has traveled more than 62,000 miles, studying 40 archipelagos and making 70 stops in 30 countries along the way — all in the interest of understanding the biodiversity of coral reefs and their evolution in this age of rapid climate change and increasing human activity.Forty percent of the world’s coral reefs are located in the Pacific, the world’s largest ocean, and this Tara expedition is the first of its kind in terms of scale.Scientists aboard the research schooner Tara; at far left is Chris Bowler and at far right is Eric Karsenti. Photo courtesy of Chris BowlerThis weekend, scientists on board are eager to share their findings with the public: they are inviting visitors to the Tara on Saturday, Sept. 29, and Sunday, Sept. 30, for 30-minute presentations about the expedition.On Tuesday, the Radcliffe Institute will host “Tara Oceans: Cells, Embryos, and the Origins of Complexity in Life,” to be presented by Eric Karsenti, the scientific director of the Tara Oceans expedition and codirector of the Tara Oceans Polar Circle expedition and a visiting group leader at the European Molecular Biological Laboratory. In addition to being the second in The Undiscovered Science Lecture Series, the lecture is the public conclusion of a Radcliffe-funded workshop organized by Chris Bowler, RI ’17, the CNRS Director of Research at the Institut de Biologie de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure, in Paris, and Colleen Cavanaugh, the Edward C. Jeffrey Professor of Biology at the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.Colleen Cavanaugh aboard the Tara. Photo courtesy of Chris BowlerBowler is a scientific coordinator of the Tara Oceans expedition, and Cavanaugh joined the Tara for its New York–Boston sail.On October 4, after making Boston its last stop, the Tara will set sail for home, in Lorient, France.last_img read more

Legendary opener Desmond Haynes frustrated by CWI rejection

first_imgWINDIES legend Desmond Haynes has accused Cricket West Indies (CWI) of turning a cold shoulder to his aspirations of joining the regional cricket team’s coaching staff.Haynes, once part of the most successful opening duo in West Indies cricket history, has expressed an interest in serving the regional team in the capacity of coach for the last couple of years.Despite receiving ringing endorsements from several former legends, Haynes was first overlooked under the Dave Cameron administration when Cricket West Indies (CWI) appointed Richard Pybus.Under the new Ricky Skerritt-led association, which later pledged to use regional talent to fill vacancies, he was again overlooked as Floyd Reifer was named interim coach heading into the ICC World Cup.“I sent in an application and the CEO said he’d pass it onto Jimmy Adams (West Indies’ director of cricket). So nothing’s happening. It’s that lack of respect – I think I deserve a reply just saying, ‘Desmond, we’re working on it’,” he added.“It got to a stage where I sent an application in February and they name an interim coach in Reifer; they’re preparing for the World Cup and they get (Ramnaresh) Sarwan to help with the batting. They’re obviously sending a message that they definitely don’t want me around West Indies cricket.” (Sportsmax)last_img read more