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

Dorms compete to reduce waste during Energy Week

first_imgThe Kill-a-Watt competition, the first dorm energy competition of the year, has officially begun on campus for Notre Dame’s annual Energy Week. Rachel Novick, who oversees the competition for the Office of Sustainability, said this week is held to encourage students across campus to reduce their energy consumption by hosting the events for the week. The competition began Sunday and runs through Saturday. “Dorms are judged by what percent they can reduce their electricity usage from the baseline, which is a typical week during the semester,” Novick said.    Novick said certain dorms seem to be taking the competition very seriously, namely Howard Hall, Fisher Hall and Carroll Hall – the top three dorms as of Tuesday. “There is a double prize for the winning dorm. They will receive a chalk-talk with coach Jeff Jackson of Notre Dame men’s hockey for the whole dorm plus $1,500 worth of Energy Star appliances from GE,” Novick said. Students can track their dorm’s progress online with Notre Dame’s energy dashboard, first put into use in the spring of 2011. This interactive site allows students to see real-time data, including comparisons with other dorms. The dashboard was designed with social media in mind and students can chat with each other about the competition.   One feature of the website is similar to Facebook’s “Like” system.  Students can “commit” to certain habits that will reduce electricity use.  Some of these include using a desk lamp instead of an overhead light, using natural daylight as much as possible and adjusting computer settings to reduce energy use during inactivity. The dashboard also allows students to view how much energy has been saved during the competition.  As of Tuesday, the campus has averted 21,128 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and saved 15,091 kilowatt-hours of energy.    McGlinn sophomore Caroline Fullam said she sees the competition as a great opportunity for the campus to come together and try to change negative behaviors. “I think it is a great idea to have Energy Week to raise awareness. Also, since it is a competition, Notre Dame students will really get into it,” Fullam said. “Even though McGlinn is third to last in the competition right now, we still have time to spread the word around the dorm and win.” This is the University’s sixth annual Energy Week, which is co-sponsored by the Student Advisory Board for the Center for Sustainable Energy and GreeND.   In addition to the dorm energy competition, events for the week include guest speakers from energy companies, a tour of Notre Dame’s power plant, a faculty forum and a community Energy Day tour.  The tour also offers the option to travel by bike instead of bus to emphasize the importance of saving energy. “Notre Dame students have come together for so many great causes in the past,” Fullam said. “I am glad to see us focusing so much on waste reduction here on campus because we really do have the potential to make a difference.”last_img read more