Monday 16 December 2019

Strings attached: giant granny thrills city

Kathryn Hayes

THERE were 27 Lilliputians, tens of thousands of people and one 85-year-old 25ft grandmother stalking the streets of Limerick.

The Limerick City of Culture has finally staged its biggest event to date and at a cost of €1m to produce it would seem French Theatre company Royal de Luxe has delivered on its promise following a spellbinding first-day performance.

Performers from the French arts group Royal de Luxe adjust the spectacles of their giant grandmother puppet
Performers from the French arts group Royal de Luxe adjust the spectacles of their giant grandmother puppet
'The Giant's Journey' kicked off for three whole days in the city as part of the Limerick City of Culture. Photo: Alan Place/FusionShooters.
Some 27 Lilliputians were tasked with moving the 25-foot Giant Grandmother. Pic Sean Curtin Photo.
More than 60,000 people attended the first of the three day street extravaganza. Photo: Pic Sean Curtin Photo.
'The Giant's Journey'. Photo: Alan Place/FusionShooters.
'The Giant's Journey' is the headline event of this year's Royal de Luxe. Photo: Alan Place/FusionShooters.
Royal de Luxe Lilliputian troupe The Royal de Luxe Lilliputians, wishers in Grannys ear along her journey in Limerick.
The Royal de Luxe Granny arrives by trian at Colbert Station in Limerick. Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Royal de Luxe Lilliputian troupe The Royal de Luxe Lilliputians help the granny along her journey in Limerick. Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Checking out giant footprints on O'Connell Street were Ava Bourke O'Connell, 4, Hyde Road, Limerick and her Grandmother Rita McNamara, Garryowen, Limerick. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Passers-by walk past giant footprints O'Connell St. Limerick. Standing in the footprints of giants on O'Connell Street - Ava Bourke O'Connell, 4, Hyde Road, Limerick. Picture credit: Alan Place/FusionShooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
A wall of car head lights was built in Russell Park to welcome the Royal de Luxe Granny to Limerick. Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Royal de Luxe Lilliputian troupe The Royal de Luxe Lilliputians help the granny along her journey in Limerick. Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
5/9/14 REPRO FREE Grannys from Oxfam Limerick get into high spirits awaiting the Royal De Luxe Granny. Limerick City will achieved climatic cultural high when it's headline event of the year Royal de Luxe, The Giant's Journey for three whole days an in the city as part of the Limerick City of Culture. Pic Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
Grannys from Oxfam Limerick get into high spirits awaiting the Royal De Luxe Granny. Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
5/9/14 REPRO FREE Royal de Luxe Lilliputian troupe The Royal de Luxe Lilliputians help the granny along her journey in Limerick. Limerick City will achieved climatic cultural high when it's headline event of the year Royal de Luxe, The Giant's Journey for three whole days an in the city as part of the Limerick City of Culture. Pic Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
Royal de Luxe Lilliputian troupe The Royal de Luxe Lilliputians help the granny along her journey in Limerick. Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City gears up for Royal de Luxe. The Hook & Ladder Cafe, have created a giant cake of Granny helping to raise funds for Pieta House. Posing with the giant cake at Hook and Lader were, Gardai, Sinead Galvin, Esther Stokes and Louise Jorddan all stationed at Henry Street Garda Station, Limerick. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.
Limerick City gears up for Royal de Luxe. The Hook & Ladder Cafe, have created a giant cake of Granny helping to raise funds for Pieta House. Checking the giant cake out in Hook & Ladder was Ava Fox, 3, Larkins Cross, Co. Clare. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.
Limerick City gears up for Royal de Luxe. The Hook & Ladder Cafe, have created a giant cake of Granny helping to raise funds for Pieta House. Checking the giant cake out in Hook & Ladder was Ava Fox, 3, Larkins Cross, Co. Clare with her Grandmother Toni Fox, Dublin. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.
04.09.14 Limerick City gears up for Royal de Luxe. The Hook & Ladder Cafe, have created a giant cake of Granny helping to raise funds for Pieta House. Checking the giant cake out in Hook & Ladder was Ava Fox, 3, Larkins Cross, Co. Clare. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.
04.09.14 Limerick City gears up for Royal de Luxe. The Hook & Ladder Cafe, have created a giant cake of Granny helping to raise funds for Pieta House. Checking the giant cake out in Hook & Ladder was Ava Fox, 3, Larkins Cross, Co. Clare. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.
A wall of car head lights was built in Russell Park to welcome the Royal de Luxe Granny to Limerick. Pic Sean Curtin Photo.
A wall of car head lights was built in Russell Park to welcome the Royal de Luxe Granny to Limerick. Pic Sean Curtin Photo.
A wall of car head lights was built in Russell Park to welcome the Royal de Luxe Granny to Limerick. Pic Sean Curtin Photo.
Limerick City gears up for Royal de Luxe. Passers-by walk past giant footprints O'Connell St. Limerick. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.
Limerick City of Culture 2014: Headline event of the year, 'Royal de Luxe' - The Giant's Journey - arrives for three days into the city. Photo credit: Sean Curtin, Fusionshooters.

More than 60,000 people attended the first of the thre-day street extravaganza which is expected to attract up to 200,000 people to Limerick over the weekend.

A total of 27 "Lilliputians" are tasked with moving the Giant Grandmother who is followed by her own band of musicians and a massive wheelchair weighing five tonnes.

But despite the phenomenal skill of the puppeteers tasked with moving their 85-year-old charge - raising every individual step by rope pulley - all eyes are drawn to the 25ft Grandmother who is handled as though she was a living being.

"I just want to give her a hug," exclaimed one older lady after the one-tonne Giant was finally hoisted off the train and brought to meet the thousands of spectators gathered at Colbert Station.

"I think she looks like my granny. It's her face, it is just amazing and the way she moves. I found the whole thing just so emotional. You actually think she is looking at you," said Limerick grandmother Margaret Galvin.

Among the thousands gathered to greet the Giant was Londoner Barbara Franc who has travelled to France, Denmark and across the UK to see the Royal de Luxe Giants.

"It's spellbinding seeing the children's faces," she said.

American visitor Steve Matney travelled from Washington DC to see the Giant Grandmother having already seen other Royal De Luxe Giants in Nantes and Berlin.

Crowds watch as performers from the French arts group Royal de Luxe take to the streets of Limerick with their giant grandmother parade as part of this years city of culture celebrations. Photo: PA
Crowds watch as performers from the French arts group Royal de Luxe take to the streets of Limerick with their giant grandmother parade as part of this years city of culture celebrations. Photo: PA
Crowds watch as performers from the French arts group Royal de Luxe take to the streets of Limerick with their giant grandmother parade as part of this year’s city of culture celebrations.

"It's just magical. I have been trying to describe it to people and that's the best word I can come up with it's just magical."

Irish Independent

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