Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our Circus Maximus

Rod Stewart was in Limerick last Saturday. Did you hear?

The Board didn't, because he sits in the corner of the Limerick Leader newsroom, like an exiled harlot, and the cultural loop that you lot twirl around in doesn't swing that far.

On The Beat claims it was a smashing concert, but his opinions on all such things were discredited a long time ago.

But assuming that it was, it can be considered another victory for the globalisation of the Thomond Park brand, and hooray for that.

Back in his filthy corner of the workplace, The Board is sometimes imparted by El Newso Editora to pen the paper's main editorial piece, because I am too pithy to write anything factual or accurate.

As such, here's the example of same that was in last week's main edition, extolling from high the benefit that Thomond Park has for the city and the region.

In brief, Thomond Park= good.

"In recent years there have been drawings and discussions and debates about the possibility of an ‘iconic’ building for Limerick; something that would define the character and energy of this ancient city.

The more we think about it, the more we realise that we already have one.

On Monday, Thomond Park picked up the prestigious People’s Choice award from the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.

On Tuesday, accountants BDO Simpson Xavier published a report stating that through Munster’s four home Heineken Cup matches last season, and the marquee fixture against the All Blacks in November, the ground generated an estimated €58 million for Limerick and the Mid West.

Though few of us doubted it to begin with, the aesthetic and economic value of Thomond Park to Limerick is now clear. The construction of the new ground ahead of schedule and on budget was testament to the stadium development committee. The design by Murray O'Laoire Architects is simple, clean and perfectly matches the proportions of the site.

In every way, Thomond Park is a triumph of art and function.

The difference between a promising city and a thriving metropolis is often a modern stadium. Sporting events attract thousands of travelling supporters who might not otherwise ever think of visiting the city.

Frequent, high profile concerts help develop music and culture as well as putting people into restaurants and hotels. One night stop-overs become long weekends; money spent in local shops and bars creates employment, which in turn creates more expenditure.

The wheels of the local economy turn faster and faster, and it all comes from Thomond Park.

But none of us can take this for granted. In the coming months and years, Limerick’s public and private spheres must work even harder to maximise the potential of this fabulous piece of infrastructure.

That does not mean squeezing every cent out of everyone who visits the city. It means functional traffic plans, improved public transport, better information about other attractions and events in Limerick - a cohesive approach to marketing Limerick city and county as a place to visit for a rugby match and to continue visiting thereafter.

Thomond Park, whether it was intended to be or not, is now Limerick’s iconic structure. It is simply majestic to see its silver arches crowning the city sky.

It is now imperative that the people of Limerick, through our ideas, energy and hospitality, continue to do justice to this great amphitheatre."

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