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 Jacques 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

Lion Air offers discounts to rev up business amid virus fears

first_imgIndonesia’s largest low-cost carrier, Lion Air, is offering discounts for flights to and from three destinations across the country as the aviation business is weighed down by the coronavirus outbreak widely believed to have originated from Wuhan, China.The airline will offer discounts of up to 60 percent for flights to and from Batam, Riau Islands; Manado, North Sulawesi, and Denpasar, Bali, following a meeting with government officials on the matter. The three destinations are among the favorite destinations of Chinese tourists, who for years have been the main group of foreign visitors to Indonesia.Lion Air Group spokesperson Danang Mandala Prihantoro said the company offered discounts of up to 50 percent for flights from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, to Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado. Meanwhile, tickets from Soekarno-Hatta airport to I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar are up to 60 percent cheaper, as are flights from Jakarta to Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam.“Lion Air is offering the lowest prices for flights to the three destination,” Danang said on Thursday, as quoted by, adding that promotional discounts had also been applied to flights to other destinations.Read also: Govt asks airlines to slash fares to Bali, Bintan to keep tourism afloat amid virus scareDanang went on to say that the airline operator had taken the measure because it was entering the low season with fewer travellers. Lion Air hoped the promotion would encourage people to travel by air. Aside from the low season, the spokesperson said, there had been calls to lower domestic airfares in response to the virus outbreak.The government has urged airlines to entice domestic tourists with special discounts for flights to top tourist destination as part of the country’s strategy to cope with declining foreign tourist arrivals amid the coronavirus outbreak.Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the declining number of Chinese tourists had been discussed with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo after the government enforced a travel ban on Chinese tourists.Read also: China virus spread continues to hit Indonesia’s tourist sectorThe government has imposed a travel ban to and from mainland China in a bid to prevent the 2019-nCoV virus from entering the country, despite its potential effect on tourism in Indonesia.Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said the travel ban would be a big challenge for the country as the number of Chinese tourists was quite large.Chinese tourists accounted for 12 percent of the 16.1 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2019, or some 2 million visits that year. (ydp)Topics :last_img read more

I’m terminally ill and the debate on euthanasia scares me

first_imgSydney Morning Herald 17 January 2017Family First Comment: “Recognising the full scope of human dignity, we stopped capital punishment a long time ago. Now bringing in legislation that allows a group of experts to determine who can “legally” die, seems a retrograde move. Intellectually, that worries me. And once the legislation has been approved, experience tells us that it is likely to grow exponentially. I can imagine a time when particularly frail and vulnerable people will succumb to the thought that it might be best for their families and for society in general for them to let go and die – they will agree to something because they think they ought to. That scares me.”It scares us all.The NSW community is about to debate physician-assisted death or voluntary euthanasia. No doubt one of the key ideas will be the notion that we ought to have a “free choice” when it comes to the manner of our death. This is coupled with the different understandings that people have about what it means to die with dignity. These are vitally important conversations. However, it often feels to me that the voices who want physician-assisted dying are given extra amplification by celebrities, and that, because they talk about dying with dignity, they somehow must be right. But the past four years have confirmed for me everything that my two ethics degrees have taught me: that human dignity is so inherent that it is expressed even in extreme vulnerability and not just in the good times.The debate worries and scares me on several levels. Fortunately we just don’t go around killing each other any more, so the notion that it’s a person’s “free choice” to die just doesn’t make sense.  Recognising the full scope of human dignity, we stopped capital punishment a long time ago. Now bringing in legislation that allows a group of experts to determine who can “legally” die, seems a retrograde move. Intellectually, that worries me. And once the legislation has been approved, experience tells us that it is likely to grow exponentially. I can imagine a time when particularly frail and vulnerable people will succumb to the thought that it might be best for their families and for society in general for them to let go and die – they will agree to something because they think they ought to. That scares me.I have always been an extremely private person, so the thought that my increasingly frail body will need intimate help does not thrill me. But just as I cared for and loved my friend in all her messiness and fragility, I will have to let others care for and love me in the same way. There is nothing undignified about that. So my experience of being a primary carer tells me that as I’m dying, the presence of people who have the emotional capacity to sit with me during long hours, who have the strength to continually stroke my arm, to bring me cups of water in the night, to tell me that they love me and to stay with me even if it seems that I am no longer present to them is of beyond measure. I’m sure that I will know their voices, and that I will know their touch. So as the doctors relieve my physical pain, I trust that my family and friends will abide with me so that just as I have lived, so will I die, with integrity and grace.“In 2012 my father was diagnosed with end stage stomach cancer. He was scared of the process of dying, but the people from palliative care reassured him that he would not suffer. He did suffer. I still feel guilty that I could not help him.Since that time three bills seeking to legalise assisted dying (in NSW, Tasmania and South Australia) have been rejected by state parliaments. To hear politicians blithely debating euthanasia laws is particularly galling, having experienced the painful end of this process.”READ MORE: read more