The biggest street theatre act in the world drew over 60,000 onto the streets as the Giant Gran commenced her three-day, 19k journey through the capital of the Mid-West.
It is expected that up to 200,000 will see the 25ft tall gran before she departs the city on Sunday by boat down the Shannon Estuary.
Since 1979, French company, Royal de Luxe, has left a gigantic footprint in street theatre in more than 40 cities, where their giants have been greeted by over 18 million people.
The latest giant, Gran, drew over 2 million to Liverpool last month. She will visit three cities this year. During her tour of Limerick city yesterday, she was propelled by a small army of ‘Lilliputians.’ and combined warmth with mischief.
As well as smoking a pipe, she ‘spent a penny’ and also succumbed to bouts of flatulence.
It cost an estimated €1m to bring the huge event with its full-time corps of 170 to Limerick.
Limerick gran, Mrs Maura O’Donovan from Crecora, was delighted to meet her giant peer.
Mrs O’Donovan, who has nine grandchildren said: “She made very good eye contact, even though she is so tall, and she had a lovely smile. I was very impressed.”
Architect, Michael Healy was astounded by the logistics.
He said: “It is a magnificent piece of engineering that makes it all happen.
“It created a great carnival atmosphere and brought people onto the streets to enjoy themselves.”
Gerry Scanlon, a 65-year-old mechanic, home on holiday from Australia with is wife Christine, said: “I emigrated to Brisbane in 1969 from St Mary’s Parish and it’s great to see something like this in my own city. It is a world-class event.”
Brid Coughlan, 21, from Lisnagry, said: “No words can describe it. My nana is so small and this nana is a giant. It’s great for the City of Culture.”
Majella McCarthy, 27, said: “I am rushing back home to get my son Alex and bring him after school to see the big Gran. He’ll love it.”
Up to 150 gardaí were deployed to put major traffic diversions in place and these will continue over the weekend.
Limerick hotels report heavy bookings with people from all parts of the country making their way to see the Giant Gran.