The 20th anniversary world tour of Riverdance will form the centrepiece of Limerick’s year as the City of Culture programme, which will be launched today.
The €6m programme, which is hoped will result in a massive spin-off for the city, also includes performances from James Galway and a film festival in honour of one of Limerick’s most favourite sons, Richard Harris.
Limerick takes over the city of culture mantle from Derry for 2014 and organisers are confident new Ryanair routes at Shannon will boost visitor figures.
Limerick City of Culture 2014 board chairman, the former European Parliament president Pat Cox, said: “Our programme aims to unlock and reveal Limerick’s cultural potential.”
Street events will include performances by the UK’s leading contemporary circus company Nofit. One of the big coups is Riverdance, which will kick off its 20th anniversary world tour at the University of Limerick Arena from Jan 16-19.
The city centre will host events including performances of the Irish Chamber Orchestra in the Milk Market.
Acclaimed flautist James Galway will perform at the UL Concert Hall on Jun 21 and will be joined by the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra. Cranberries musician Noel Hogan will participate in ‘Pigtown Fling’, which will tour the city in a bus.
Another major triumph for the organisers will be the Irish premiere of the sellout London show, Fuerza Burta.
A series of children’s events will take place throughout the year.
To mark Limerick’s role in hi-tech education and industry, a two-day digital youth media festival will be staged next October.
The city’s Georgian heritage will be featured in a pop-up museum. Food, fashion, and craft festivals will also attract visitors, and a major military exhibition will be staged.
One of the many theatrical productions includes a play to be staged at the Limetree Theatre featuring residents of Moyross, who will tell the story of their own place from their point of view.
The home city of Richard Harris will also have a film festival to pay tribute to the actor.
Limerick will also host some major sports events in 2014, including the Irish finals of the Special Olympics, an under-19 international club soccer tournament, as well as the European Mountain Bike Marathon Championships, which will roar through the Ballyhoura range in June.
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