Patricia Byrne Standing by the River Shannon, there's a white glassy feel to the vista: glass of sunlit water, office windows, a high-rise hotel facade. Birds contest crusts of bread on the river slipway in clots of white movement. A gull swoops down between the curled necks of two swans, robs the food, and lunges up and away. Children shriek. A small girl in a cherry dress runs to a man, who speaks a language I don't understand, and buries her head in his legs. This is Limerick, my home of thirty-five years now, almost all of my adult life; Limerick, a place of continual arrivals and departures. Standing by the Shannon waters, I think of my sons long gone from their native city, their homes now in Dublin and Boston. Behind me a distinctive Limerick landmark: the chimney of what was once Cleeve's Factory. I'm told that the milk of ten thousand cows from Munster pastures was once processed here into condensed milk, butter, and toffee slabs; that during World War I, Cleeve milk products were distributed to all fronts where the British army was engaged. More recently, the building housed a Golden Vale milk-processing facility. But
New Hibernia Review – Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas
Published: Apr 15, 2016
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