Something most unusual has been afoot in Limerick. It started on Thursday with a car mysteriously crushed by a giant antique safe O’Connell Street. Then there were sightings of a public bus that couldn’t take on any passengers because it was packed with tons of potatoes. Around Limerick’s streets, people began to notice giant footprints on the pavement.
Yesterday, (almost) all questions were answered with the arrival of a 25-foot-tall granny who with the aid of a walking stick roamed the streets of Limerick, read aloud stories, took a nap in her wheelchair and smoked a pipe before being tucked into her 30-foot-long bed at Sarsfield Barracks for the night.
The Giant Grandmother is the centerpiece of a public arts performance in celebration of Limerick as Ireland’s 2014 City of Culture.
A 25-foot-tall puppet weighing 5 tons, granny belongs to the French theater company Royal de Luxe, which has staged similar city-wide spectacles all around the world, from their home base in Nantes to Liverpool, Berlin and Guadalajara.
The 85-year-old granny has been seen by 18 million people worldwide but this was her first visit to Ireland and she created a $40 million dollar tourist boom. The entire production, spanning three days from September 5 - 7, cost €1 million to produce.
Director of Limerick City of Culture, Mike Fitzpatrick, said granny was helping with tourism enormously.“Limerick will be seen as a place to come to, as an attractive cultural location,”he said. Especially now that Granny has paid a visit.
On her first day in Limerick, the giant granny brought 200,000 people onto the streets.
Operated by a team of 27 Lilliputians, she strolled along Arthur’s Quay, Henry St, The Crescent and Lord Edward St, before turning in for the night at Sarsfield Barracks.
Along the way she did things any granny worth her felt slippers and wire-frame glasses would - like laughing, giving out, snoozing in her wheelchair and (through Irish actor Louis Lovett) reading aloud stories about the city of Limerick, which were contained in the safe.
To the delight of the crowd, she also partook in some less stereotypical granny-like activities, such as smoking a pipe, spitting, and pausing to relieve herself right in the middle of O’Connell Street.
Her journey is set to continue over today and Sunday, and will see her walk 12 miles in the process - quite a journey for a granny