This weekend I was at Riverfest in Limerick City. Huh, what’s that? Its Irelands largest street festival, held over the May bank holiday weekend. Think Electric picnic meets taste of Dublin with a climactic fireworks display. Definitely not to be missed!!
The journey began in Heuston station in Dublin, where myself and two friends hopped on the train down to Limerick City. Initially, I was a bit put off at the thought of this journey. Last time I got the train to Limerick, like 10 years ago, it was an epic 5 hour journey, on the world’s most bocketty rattly aul train from the 50’s….(I like vintage, but not when it comes to ridin the rails)
This time around though, it was a modest 2 hours on a smoother-then-smooth intercity train (you’d almost think you were in the first world) with picturesque rural landscapes all the way. I could have filled a book with all the jokes and banter with the girls on the way down! I’m an eves-droppers dream! I have the gift of the gab with no filter between my brain and my mouth!
So, fortified with the lolsas we arrived in Limerick station, we headed down to our humble abode, The Boutique Hotel on Denmark Street, just off O Connell street, so we were right at the heart of the party. It’s a hidden diamond! Super bright and funky Romanesque wall panels and huge modern art paintings, and yet even those among us who had lived in Limerick all their lives had walked right by and never seen it – Diagon Alley style! It got even better when we got into our room and saw that it was HUGE with five really big beds and Egyptian cotton soft sheets, which was great, because we only paid for three beds! And we had a bird’s eye view of the beautiful street with all of the music tinkling its way up, and bunting flags fluttering their way down.
Walking through the narrow streets, you are met with the mouth watering smells of the many many free BBQ’s housed in white marquees, trendy people, raucous excitement, sunshine, live bands (my fav was a Native American group playing pan pipes), pop up shops, foodie heaven stalls, carnival rides, cobbled streets, 99s. The whole vibe was very kitsch Rusti-glam and I was loving it!
By around 5pm we were all starving, my inner carnivore came out and “all I wanted was meat!” (which I unfortunately said with allot of enthusiasm, just as a crowd of old men passed, so I was then subject to many the wink and tweed cap lift.) The girls and I decided to go for the closest cuisine to the mood, and decided on Limerick hotspot Texas Steakout, which was out of this world! It’s underground, with exposed stone walls, gorgeous lighting, wine-coolers in the walls and great country tunes. You feel totally home on the range, like gun slingers taking a break from evading the law….not such a stretch in Limerick haha.
Normally I’m a health freak, but I just decided to throw caution to the wind for the weekend and go all out. And it was so worth it because I had the BEST slow cooked hickory-smoked ribs of my life – the meat was falling off the bone! There’s really no ladylike way to eat ribs, so I just gave into my carnivore instincts and nomnom’d! Then I had the best steak burger of my life the “Black and Blue Hickory Burger”. It was so good, smokey meaty flavours and melted blue cheese, even though I was full to bursting, I couldn’t stop eating! We then (almost unable to walk) decided to head out to get some dessert. Given Id already retrogressed, I figured I may as well complete the circle, so I galvanised my courage and went into Supermacs and got their hot chocolate muffin with whipped icecream – so worth it! It’s meant to be just a dollop of icecream on top, but for some reason the guy gave me sooo much icecream it looked like I was carrying around the Chrysler building! If only I hadn’t been so full already, it would have felt like Christmas!
Later on, we headed down to The Locke bar and Oyster house on Georges quay, to take part in our national sport – sunny bank holiday drinking and bantering! As luck would have it we were in the perfect location to watch the fireworks, which “blew me away” -the best I have ever seen, and very romantic if you’re 100% cheddar like me. The guys we were with had all left their girlfriends at home, so they improvised and carried eachother around – gotta love bromance! The final part of the night was spent dancing the night away in trendy Limerick nightspot “Icon”. Which was in handy staggering distance from our hotel, so when my feet finally gave in after a long days use, they didn’t have to take me very far.
Sunday we drove through the marathon route through Limerick city, for a yummy hangover fixing balcony BBQ and a guitar sing-along in a friends apartment, which was so much fun, with all the rambunctiousness you can expect from a big group of college guys. Then it was time to catch the last train back to Dublin and watch the sun setting over the picturesque countryside, before collapsing home into my bed after a very, very good weekend.
Until next time…