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I Love Limerick Chronicle Column

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Richard Lynch pictured with students at Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2017 .

Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2017 was held Friday, March 31.

The special guest at the event was David Stanton T.D., Minister of State, Department of Justice, with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration. There was plenty of colourful photo opportunities available with participating students in national costume and I was honoured to be the Master of Ceremonies again for the fifth consecutive year. Previously the event was held in the Salesians School before it closed last year and every year the event is organised by an amazing lady, teacher Siobhan Conway.

This was a hugely worthwhile, inclusive event, giving a unique opportunity to each of the International students to showcase their home nation. To see the pride of students in their native traditions and language is just wonderful. So many students can truly find a voice through this event and all in attendance, students, staff, parents and guests, learned so much – it truly is an education for all. The day created a real opportunity to celebrate both diversity and integration.

This year, students from over 16 different countries showcased their cultures to the entire school community. These include Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bangladesh, Burma, Lithuania, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa and Syria to name just a few! Each country had a visual display on all that makes their individual cultures unique and interesting. Many of the students also wore traditional costume for the day. Delicious food, prepared and cooked by the students and their families, further reflected the intercultural theme. An afternoon of international music and dance (featuring members of the Rusangano Family as part of Music Generation), attended by the whole school, brought the celebrations to an end. 

Being close to Seachtain na Gaeilge and St. Patrick’s Day, today (the final day of March) was seen as an appropriate time to give a well-deserved forum to the citizens of the new Ireland, and a real opportunity to share heritage. It is a unique event across the schools of the Limerick-Clare E.T.B., and indeed further afield, attracting praise from Limerick migrant rights organisation Doras Luimni over the years. This initiative was running for almost 10 years in Salesian Secondary School and was called Salesians Multicultural Day – Integration through Education. Following amalgamation and the establishment of Thomond Community College in September 2016 there was no hesitation in continuing with an event of such enormous popularity and previous success.

Students from local National Schools also attended on the day, as did the Mayor of Limerick City along with politicians representing all parties. At a time when it was never more important to demonstrate leadership in integration it really is a worthwhile initiative.

To read about the multicultural events in Limerick, click here

To see the event in previous years, click here.


Pictured was Richard Lynch,, Luke Culhane, Micheal Goulding, CEO of Novas and Roisin Lafferty, Director of Kingston Lafferty design at the DFS design evening. Photo: Oisin McHugh

Over 100 people turned out in style for the DFS design evening in the Limerick store last night on Thursday the 23rd.

Roisin Lafferty

Pictured was Roisin Lafferty, Director of Kingston Lafferty design speaking to people who had turned out for the DFS design evening. Photo: Oisin McHugh

Attendees were treated to a lively presentation packed with design tips and secrets from DFS Ambassador and award-winning interiors expert Roisin Lafferty, Director of Kingston Lafferty design. Many guests availed of the opportunity after the presentation for one on one style advice from Roisin and her team.

Roisin has previously expressed her happiness at the choice to support Novas through this one of a kind event, “Novas Limerick offers an invaluable service to the community of Limerick. Homelessness is a cause very close to my heart and I am honoured to be able to aid such an important charity. This event shows the importance of a happy home for everybody.”

Guests also enjoyed canapés and drinks, including Wild Orchard juices, from Hook and Ladder, a complimentary copy of Image Interiors and Living magazine and 10% off everything in-store.

The evening was run in association with local charity Novas, who are the largest provider of homeless services in the mid-west region. It was a huge success with €1094 raised for the charity. 

Roisin Lafferty

Pictured, from left, was Moya Farrell, Beckey Russell and Roisin Lafferty, Director of Kingston Lafferty design speaking to people who had turned out for the DFS design evening. Photo: Oisin McHugh

Deborah Geraghty of Caherdavin won a sofa and Louise Creamer an Interior Design Consultation with Create at Kingston Lafferty design. Limerick people are already looking to the next DFS event.

Novas is thrilled to be associated with this event with Communications Manager Una Burns stating that, “we try to provide homes for families and single people every day and an event like this highlights the importance of a happy home for everybody. We are extremely grateful to DFS and to Roisin Lafferty for hosting this lovely evening and for decorating our DIAL service in the city.”

Novas are a local non-profit organisation working with single adults, families and children who are disadvantaged and socially excluded, primarily homeless people or people at risk of being homeless. More than half of these were from Limerick. The organisation provides a range of services in the city including temporary accommodation, a family service, an out-of-hours service, long-term housing and a street outreach.

To read more stories about Novas click here

For more information on charity events in Limerick click here

Pathway to Recovery is a highlight of Be Well Limerick Week

Siobhán Wilmot, Mental Health Welfare Officer Limerick Youth Service, Richard lynch, ilovelimerick, Jen Ronan, Bobbi-Marie O’Callaghan, LYS, Andy Yu, LYS, Dr Eddie Murphy, Clinical Psychologist and Adam Coleman, Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Running from Monday, October 31 to Sunday, November 6, Be Well Limerick Week is a youth-led mental health initiative that promoted positive mental health and well-being organized by the Limerick Youth Service. The week aimed to equip young people with a mental health and well-being first aid kit, tackling the stigma sometimes associated with mental health and promote a help-seeking culture. A talk with a leading mental health expert and a number of interactive and diverse workshops were just part of the busy programme. 

This past Friday evening saw a variety of speakers at the Savoy Hotel share their personal experiences with mental health issues. Titled Pathway to Recovery, the evening included contributions from young people who addressed the crowd with tips on how to cope with mental health struggles.

Guest speakers included Richard Lynch of I Love Limerick, Operation Transformations’ Eddie Murphy, Jen Ronan, mental health advocate and blogger and Limerick Youth Services volunteers Bobbi-Marie O’Callaghan and Andy Yu. 

Richard shared his own mental health journey at the event on Friday evening, speaking candidly of his time in New York, dealing with addiction and the emotional turmoil that results. Richard talked about using wild nights out as a form of escapism to escape the inner pain he was feeling, saying he has learned that, “if you’re partying to make yourself feel better, you shouldn’t be partying at all.”

 Andy Yu, a volunteer from Limerick Youth Services gave tips on battling mental health problems commenting, “talking is your greatest weapon, your voice is meant to be heard.” The inspiring Jen Ronan spoke about her journey saying, “If you have a dip in your mental health, it’s not a bump, it’s not a detour – it’s part of the path”.

 Limerick Youth Service remains committed to supporting and encouraging young people to be active participants in shaping their futures. 

For more information on Limerick Youth Services, click here.
To read more about LYS, click here.

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Photos: Cian Reinhardt / ilovelimerick


They queued for four hours in advance to meet the man who is without a doubt a true Limerick legend.

Coinciding with the release of his much-anticipated autobiography, Paul O’Connell signed copies of his book, The Battle, in O’Mahony’s Bookshop .

Over 500 people queued for hours to meet former rugby legend Paul O’Connell at his book signing in Limerick city this past Sunday, eager to get a signed copy of his book The Battle.

The book signing was due to begin at 2pm, however after The Battle author observed images of the lengthy queues on I Love Limerick’s social media, he arrived early so as not to disappoint fans on his home ground in the Treaty City.

Paul O Connell book signing at O'Mahony's Bookshop. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Paul O Connell book signing at O’Mahony’s Bookshop. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Even before he was due to meet his legions of fans, he had planned to sign more than 200 copies of The Battle, which were pre-ordered by customers who couldn’t attend the signing.

The Battle was co-written with Alan English, former editor of the Limerick Leader and current editorial director of Iconic Newspapers, which own the Leader. He also attended the signing along with many family members.

I had the honour of interviewing Paul at the book signing. With typical modesty, when asked how he felt about the phenomenal turnout, he joked that the book might be an easy Christmas present for people, as many queued to purchase several books for friends and family members.

The former Munster, Ireland and Lion’s captain described The Battle as “the full story. I think it’s very honest and I hope people will enjoy it,” he said.

I asked him what exactly was ‘The Battle’ he faced, he revealed, “the battle was mainly with myself, the injuries, playing high-pressure games, trying to win things, trying to be successful,” and told me, “blaming myself when we lost a game made me better.”

I asked him how it felt to be so loved by the people of Limerick, “I am very proud of my Limerick roots. I love living here, the sense of humour the people have, what a great place to live.”

I admire Paul so much, not just for his sporting achievements, but for his soul. Paul is a man who is truly proud of our beautiful city as he has said himself on numerous occasions and proved undoubtedly over the years through his involvement with positive campaigns and charity work. Congrats Paul. All of Limerick are rooting for you!

You can find out more about the  Paul O Connell book, ‘The Battle’, here.
Here you can read more stories about Paul O Connell.

The Limerick CDKL5 Charity Walk 2016 took place Saturday, September 24. The aim of the walk was to raise awareness of this rare neurological condition as well as raise some funds towards research for a cure.

Richard Lynch pictured at last years CDKL5 Awareness Day 2014 with Jonna, Emma, Maia and Brendan Malone. Picture: Oisin Mc Hugh

Richard Lynch pictured at CDKL5 Awareness Day 2014 with Jonna, Emma, Maia and Brendan Malone. Picture: Oisin Mc Hugh

Maia Malone, a 9-year-old girl from county Limerick suffers from this rare neurological disorder. As a result of the condition Maia has severe daily seizures, which are not tamed by medication, she also suffers from gastrointestinal problems, visual difficulties, sleep disturbances, apraxia, bruxism, and she cannot talk or look after herself. Maia needs around the clock care by her family and those around there.

All members of the public were welcome to take part in the Limerick CDKL5 Charity Walk 2016 which started at 1pm on Saturday September 24. The group gathered in Limerick’s People’s Park at the tree planted at last year’s event before walking to Arthur’s Quay and returning to the park. Participants were provided with a wish ribbon that they can place on the tree at the beginning of the event.

Speaking at the event Maia’s Mum, Jonna said: “By raising awareness we are hoping that when people know more about CDKL5 and more doctors hear more about it, other children will get to be diagnosed sooner than Maia, Maia was four years of age before she got the diagnosis. The diagnosis has helped us to understand Maia’s condition a bit better.”

Limerick CDKL5 Charity Walk 2016

Jonna Malone and her daughter Maia pictured at the Limerick CDKL5 Charity Walk 2015 with Richard Lynch. Picture: Johnny Baynes for ilovelimerick.

“We are raising a little bit of funds today but that is not the main point of today, today is about awareness raising but the funds that are raised will go towards research for the condition. In Europe, they are doing very positive research about protein replacement therapy that maybe will be a cure for the condition, at the moment there isn’t one; but in time. Any money raised today will go towards funding the research.”

“When more people know about the condition it might be easier to have the diagnosis received quicker for other children. In this world, you have to shout for help if your child has a disability. By having the awareness that this is what our lives are like, it makes it a little easier.”

Another mother from Limerick named Graznya Musial whose four-year-old daughter Malgosia also suffers from the condition attended the event and said, “My daughter needs 24-hour care and it’s really reassuring that there are other families in similar situations to us.”

Both mothers have daughters with CDKL5 and met through the Irish CDKL5 Facebook page and met for the first time in person on the day of this year’s walk.

Also in aid of CDKL5 is ‘The Ultimate Firewalk’ that takes place in Bray, Co. Wicklow on September 30, just one week after the annual CDKL5 walk in Limerick.

CDKL5 is a rare X-linked genetic disorder that results in early onset, difficult to control seizures, and severe neuro-developmental impairment. CDKL5 is classed as rare disease however, more and more children and indeed adults are being diagnosed every day.

The CDKL5 gene provides instructions for making a protein that is essential for normal brain development. Although little is known about the protein’s function, it may play a role in regulating the activity of other genes, including the MECP2 gene (or Rett Syndrome). The CDKL5 protein acts as a kinase, which is an enzyme that changes the activity of other proteins by adding oxygen and phosphate atoms (a phosphate group) at specific positions. Researchers have not yet determined which proteins are targeted by the CDKL5 protein.

Most children affected by CDKL5 suffer from seizures that begin in the first few months of life. Most cannot walk, talk or feed themselves, and many are confined to wheelchairs, dependent on others for everything. Many also suffer with scoliosis, visual impairment, sensory issues and various gastrointestinal difficulties. As time has gone on it appears that there might be other symptoms that play a role in the condition.

Ten years ago, Professor John Christodoulou led an Australian research team that studied the DNA of three children from the same family and found a common genetic abnormality occurring on a gene that would later become known as CDKL5. His research was published in the prestigious journal, The American Journal of Human Genetics 2004. Glyn was one of the three children at the focus of Dr. Christodoulou’s study.

Glyn’s Legacy was in his DNA, which helped scientists to begin to identify what we now refer to as a CDKL5 Disorder. Unfortunately, Glyn passed on June 17, 1997, before his disease-causing gene was discovered, but his tragic, short life had an important impact on the children who have since been diagnosed with the same devastating disorder.

You can find more information on CDKL5 here.
Check out the CDKL5 Facebook here.
Read more about our previous coverage of Limerick CDKL5 Charity Walk here.

While you wait for Limerick CDKL5 Charity Walk 2016, check out our YouTube coverage of the Limerick CDKL5 Awareness Walk 2015 below.



Limerick Pride 2015 launch at Dolan's Warehouse

Pictured: Mrs Elsie Cox, Myles Breen, Richard Lynch, Mayor Jerry O’Dea and Aladdin Kishk. Picture by: Jonathan Baynes.

The countdown to Limerick Pride  2015 officially began with the press launch at Dolan’s in Limerick City on Mon, June 29.

At the Limerick Pride 2015 launch Patrick McElligott, Chairperson of Limerick Pride said: “We are thrilled to be able to offer a fantastic line up for Limerick Pride 2015, running from Tues, July 14 until Sun, July 19. There is something for everyone culminating in the annual Pride Parade on Saturday July 18 and the PrideFest party directly after the Parade.  We want to welcome everyone to join us in celebrating LGBT culture in Limerick and show Limerick for the truly open and accepting city that she is. It is set to build on the success and positive energy of previous years festivals, promoting community spirit, community engagement and celebration. This past year the Irish LGBT community has received resounding support from the wider Irish community in their support of equal rights and marriage equality so this will be reflected in this year’s Pride Parade. We will celebrate our freedom and the opportunity we have been given as a community to develop the concept of the family unit within our community.”

Jerry O’Dea, newly appointed Mayor of Metropolitan District of Limerick, showed his support for the LGBT movement at the launch, adding: “In previous years, people who have participated in Pride have felt that this annual event was their only time to be truly express themselves. Since the passing of the marriage referendum, Ireland’s LGBT population has been joined by the wider population in celebration.”

The Limerick Pride Festival 2015 will be taking place starting on Tues, July 14 with events each day until Sunday July 19 and will feature a multitude of events, from educational workshops and discussions to evenings of music and club nights, to cater to the Pride needs of everyone.

This year’s Pride will have an educational aspect. Workshops will be held during the week covering topics such as a Coming Out, Sexual Empowerment and social groups for people of all ages, orientations and genders. All will be welcome to the workshops regardless of their sexual orientation giving the people of Limerick City an opportunity to get to know the Limerick LGBT community more and everyone is encouraged to get involved.

For the first time ever, The Mr and Ms Gay Limerick competition on Sat, July 11 will be held before the Limerick Pride festival at the Best Western Pery Hotel at 9pm, hosted by Paul Ryder with Regina George taking to the decks once the winners have been crowned to entertain us with the best party music around. Tickets are priced at €10.

Limerick Pride’s official Launch night on Tues, July 14 will be in “Stroker’s Gay Bar” on William Street with champagne, finger food and dance floor musical treats.

The ‘Pride Wedding Show’, a wedding fair established in 2014 as part of Limerick Pride Festival, will take place on Wed July 15 at the Limerick Strand Hotel. Sharon McMeel, an award winning wedding planner, said about the fair: “We’ll have different suppliers and vendors there, so all couples regardless of their sexual orientation will have a good opportunity to get answers to their important questions if they are considering getting married. With the historic ‘Yes’ vote this year for the marriage referendum, we actually had many engagements on the day of the referendum. It’s great to be able to look out for all the people who have gotten newly engaged.”

The annual Pride Parade on Sat, July 18, bring some extra colour and music to Limerick City Centre, gathering at City Hall at 2pm, the Parade will make its way at 3pm up O’Connell Street, across Mallow Street to Henry Street, past Arthurs Quay Park and returning to the Potato Market for PrideFest 2015 – a showcase of LGBT Culture in Limerick that you will not want to miss!

This years Grand Marshall will be none other than Limerick legend, actor, director and playwright, Myles Breen. Myles has been a stanch advocate of LGBT rights for decades and in 2009 as part of Limerick Pride, staged his play “Language UnBecoming a Lady”, telling the story of one gay man’s life in Limerick and it left a profound effect on audiences in Limerick. Now as Myles is about to take the play to New York in Sept, it is fitting that he leads the community in their walk through the streets of Limerick celebrating their freedom and new-found equal rights. Myles said: “I am beyond honoured to be asked to be the Grand Marshall of this years Parade. Growing up in Limerick in the 70’s and 80’s, I never dreamed of one day leading a Parade through the streets of my beloved hometown in celebration of equal human rights for the LGBT community. It’s a dream come through and I feel my life has come full circle. I hope everyone comes out to help me celebrate!”

That night after Pridefest, the main “Climax Party” at Dolan’s Warehouse, will feature “Dragged Up” star Paul Ryder and guests Pixie Woo and Victoria Secret performing their colorful show full of energy and movement, followed by DJ Ruth on the main floor and a “Saved by the 90’s” party upstairs.

A full line-up for Pride week can be found at the Limerick Pride website, with updates on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Tag your photos and comments about this years Pride with #ExpressYourselfLimerick.

For media inquires email the Chair of Limerick Pride at [email protected]

For more information on Limerick Pride, click here

Check out the Limerick LGBTQ Facebook here

Check out the Limerick Pride Twitter here

To read more about Limerick Pride, click here