Arriving in Limerick just over two weeks ago, the team came with little context outside of the challenge goals, past tourist visits and what we read in preparation for the Limerick Smarter Cities Challenge.
We have had the good fortune to gain context through our interactions with the Limerick City and County Council, the dedicated people we met during our 42 interviews and through meeting a lot of the Limerick locals. While this will prove the most significant in allowing us to get a better sense of cultural context, we also had experiences that added a great deal of spice.
During the weekend of May 14/15 and May 21/22 we started with a walking tour of Limerick and in the afternoon, visited the historic Bunratty Castle. The walking tour brought the team to historic Saint Mary’s Cathedral and to a tour of King John’s Castle, including the strategic importance the castle played in the history of the region. Bunratty was much more than a walking tour. The team attended a banquet that included amazing entertainment with history interwoven throughout the evening. Two of the team members were the King and Queen for the evening! The King and Queen maintained order throughout the land by sentencing “offenders” dance in front of the court! Yes, a good time was had by all.
Sunday May 15 landed the team in Dublin, with visits to the historic Trinity College, a viewing of the Book of Kells, the historic library it is housed in, and of course a visit to Dublin Castle. The place in Irish history of Trinity College and the Dublin Castle became a bit more clear with the help of our guide through the city of Dublin and provided us even more historical context.
On Saturday May 21, we went to the stunning Cliffs of Moher on the Atlantic coast of Ireland. The trip over and back brought us past ancient castles and keeps, each with histories contributing in their own way to what has become modern Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher however was breathtaking and needed no historical backdrop to appreciate. On Sunday, a trip to picturesque Adare provided a relaxed view into small town life topped off with a lesson in the proper way to make Irish coffee.
With just a few days left to deliver our recommendations to our new friends here in Limerick, it has become clear we have all become invested in Limerick’s success.
And now …… the anecdote!
We all prepared thoroughly for our trip to Ireland. This of course included packing for a wide variety of activities and events. There’s only one catch….if you pack it, you must remember not to leave your sport coat hanging in the back seat of the car that drops you at the airport.