Wednesday, 29 July 2009

A face only a mother could love

I admit I have been spoilt over the last few days. Derry has its city walls, compact heart and hills. Galway has its medieval city centre and its stunning setting on Galway bay.

So it was always going to be hard for Limerick to compete.

I tried to come with an open mind, but from the first site as you arrive in from the direction of Galway (which is also the direction from the airport); you are greeted with a couple of mini sky-scrapers, some drab 1960s office blocks and a city made up almost exclusively of shopping centres.

It’s like holidaying in Croydon.

Maybe that’s a little harsh; it does have its pluses, the castle, and the riverside location
But the river is very fast flowing and too far away from the sea to be attractive, and to get to the castle you have a choice of routes either via drab office blocks or a housing estate.

Croydon doesn’t have a castle (though the local council would probably like to live in one, with barrels of boiling oil to pour over the locals), it isn’t situated by a large river (except when there is a massive downpour and the centre floods), and it isn’t a city (though again the council is trying on that one, at the same time as trying to become the "New Barcelona" – don’t ask!)

But, with the office blocks, the rapidly increasing glass sky scrapers and the abundance of shopping centres, Limerick does leave itself open to a painful label – The Croydon of Ireland.

Perhaps I’m wrong. I’ve only been in the city for 24 hours, and I’m leaving tomorrow morning. Maybe I haven’t given it enough time to grow on me, but I’ve been living near Croydon all my life and the best I can achieve is apathy.

Sorry Limerick, You just can’t compete with Galway

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