A visit from Granny

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Now…not my granny (of which I call Grandma), but the 25-foot Royal de Luxe creation!  Royal de Luxe is a French performance art group that hails from Nantes.  Formed in 1979 by Jean-Luc Courcoult the giant marionettes have delighted young and old all over the world.  Limerick was just one of the many stops Granny has made over the years, and one of only 3 performances the troupe was doing this year.

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More than 230,000 flocked to Limerick’s street this last weekend (September 5th to the 7th).  She arrived at 10am on Friday and made concluded a 19km path around the city on Sunday before crawling back in bed to travel to her next location.

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The entire city was in full delight mode the entire week before she arrived.  Stores along the main path began stocking things for Granny.  Such as this backpack.

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And Granny, the wonderful lady that she is, donated a pair of her bloomers to Oxfam.

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Even the Hook and Ladder got in on the wonder.  They created this giant Granny cake in honour of her arrival.

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She arrived in style on her own private train.

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She was followed around town by a live band that played constantly!  I was honestly quiet shocked.  When we first heard the music, we first thought that it was simply a soundtrack blasting through the speakers, but lo and behold, it was a group of gentleman who never seemed to tire.

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She was certainly a sight to see.  She walked (with some assistance, of course),

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cruised around in her wheelchair,

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smoked,

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and urinated in the street ^^  This one was particularly wonderful.  All the male attendants would turn and face away from her until she was finished.

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She would tell these lovely little stories in her garbled alien language (oh yes, apparently she comes from outer space) with translators handily by to interpret for us.  Did you know that Ireland isn’t actually an island?  It is in fact a boat that got stuck and decided to stay where it was ^^

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DSCF6088Every time she decided to tell a story, her mystical vault, which held the stories, had to be blown open.  And boy, was it loud!  I was volunteering in the Enable Ireland shop when the first one went off on the other side of town and we even heard it!

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All of the French performers wore the same red velvet costumes that remind me of a mix of circus ringleaders and musketeers (Cardinal Richelieu’s guards, not the King’s).

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I am still just amazed by the amount of expression they could do with her face.  Sometimes she would look snarky,

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amused,

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a touch angry,

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sleepy,

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and outright jovial!

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Her final path on Sunday drew the largest crowd I’ve seen since Christmas in 명동 (which is a scary sight to see)!!  She was a bit delayed on her start due to technical difficulties (AKA: a bit too much whiskey last night, the interpreter informed us).  She had a special procession for her final parade.  It included bagpipes,

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some drummers atop of cars,

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a very artistic piece with all the volunteers who had held the crowds back during the weekend, now wearing black and getting sprayed with water.  We were told that this was to symbolize their sadness of Granny’s departure from one of the volunteers.

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A bus filled with her souvenir of Ireland…potatoes,

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And last but not least, a massive pair of cymbals that crashed and a paper streamer cannon.

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It was a blast, but now Granny needs her rest as one would after a weekend of partying in Ireland.  It was a lovely time seeing Granny.  Even now, a week later, it is the most popular idle talk.  I could be waiting in the line while getting my salami sliced at the grocery store, or walking down the street, someone is still going on about Granny.

Thanks for the once in a life time experience Granny!

Till next time~

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