Last Thursday Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon honoured me with a Mayoral Reception at City Hall with friends and family present as recognition for my work with I Love Limerick. In attendance, Limerick Person of the Year Luke Culhane, style queen Celia Holman Lee, fitness guru Leanne Moore, Senator Maria Byrne, singer Emma Langford, actor Myles Breen, blogger Sharon Tucker, community activist Helen O’Donnell and representatives from various charities and communities.
I was very honoured to be recognised by the city as this city is not only my birthplace, but I could never ever imagine living anywhere else. It’s my home and my life. I have been doing I Love Limerick for 9 years and I can’t believe it will be a decade next summer!
I have been involved every year in the Limerick Pride Festival since 2008. In 2008, I produced Limerick Pride and made the event a weeklong festival. I wanted it to be integrative and inclusive so I called it I Love Limerick. The theme of that year’s Pride was of Limerick people loving one another and loving our city. When you logged onto ilovelimerick.com it actually took you to LimerickPride.ie. That was the birth of I Love Limerick.
It developed into a community website dedicated to reporting and promoting positive news about Limerick people, communities, charities and events. I Love Limerick was set up to help people, to give people a platform that normally wouldn’t have one. I started the project in an effort to counteract the negative press Limerick was getting in the national media at the time; little did I know the adventure I was undertaking. I have been so blessed to meet so many incredible people, to work with so much talent and to given the chance to make a difference and do something positive.
Highlights of the last nine years include interviewing my idol Terry Wogan, doing the last interview ever with the last living Knight of Glin, winning Limerick Person of the Year in 2011 and being part of the success of the many charities and community groups that I do voluntary PR for.
Money and fame don’t motivate me. If they did I would be living in Dublin or I would be still in New York where I lived for over 15 years. The most important thing for me is my family and I could not imagine being apart from them. My parents passed away in the last years and I used to care for them full time. Now I live in a house with my partner Hugo, between my brother and sister homes and all their children and it’s heaven! It’s just what my parents wanted, for us to all be together. The highlight for the Mayoral Reception was that my eight year old niece Lucy and my six year old nephew Ryan were there as it’s something they will remember always.
My thanks to Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon who is so very kind to me and who said, “When I first spoke to Richard, I knew what he was doing for Limerick and that made me happy as Richard does a lot of work for a lot of communities in Limerick and he only puts out positive news because he love’s Limerick and we all love Limerick.”
I intend to keep working hard. The emotional payback from the work is immeasurable. I don’t care about money. I know I need it to survive so I am doing my best to make a living and also continue volunteering with I Love Limerick. Fortunately, loyal fantastic talent surrounds me since the beginning such as Dolf Patijn, Orla Clancy and Jonathan Baynes. My right arm for the last 4 years has been my videographer, Aisling O’Connor. I am so grateful to everyone who works with us, as you are only as good as the people you work with.
I do love Limerick. It’s been so good to me and the people inspire me every day. All the hard work has been worth it and I would do it all over again. Limerick is really about the people who make up this great city and county. I am Limerick, You are Limerick, We are Limerick. Thank you Limerick, I Love you. Richard x