This text, compiled by Emma Houlihan, was first published in Paper Visual Art Journal‘s Limerick edition in 2012, which was launched during EVA International 2012. This text was edited by Donald Mahoney.

In 1973, Limerick city planners began work on Moyross, a new housing estate built on farmland north of the Shannon, exactly four kilometres from the city centre. Moyross was built to alleviate chronic overcrowding in the city, but it is now recognised as one of the biggest failures in the history of Irish urban planning. Because of a lack of infrastructure and maintenance, Moyross became one of the most socially disenfranchised places in the country. Unemployment was once as high as 84 percent and Moyross was often seen as the epicentre of the feud between Limerick’s warring crime families. Over the last decade, belated efforts have been made to improve the quality of life in the area and in 2008, just before the collapse of the Irish economy, it was announced that the most ambitious urban regeneration scheme in Western Europe would be enacted in Moyross. While the budget has been scaled down due to the country’s economic problems, over €924 million will be spent on regenerating the area (along with other impoverished areas of Limerick) over the next fifteen years. Every house in Moyross will be razed, and nine hundred new houses will be erected over the next four years.

On the afternoon of June 29, 2012, while traveling through Limerick with a rucksack on my back, I recorded a number of conversations I had around the area of O’Connell Street, where I asked people for walking directions to Moyross. I wanted to explore the tension between mythological presence that Moyross held in the imaginations of people and the actual physical space the housing estate occupies on the periphery of the city. I spoke with twenty-nine people. Nine people had no idea how to get there. Others wondered why I wanted to go out there. Here is a selection of these conversations.

How do you get to Moyross?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emma Houlihan: (Asks a man and a woman) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: Um, I have no idea. Sorry. (To woman) Do you know?
Woman: No sorry, I don’t know either.
EH: Are you from around here?
Woman: No. Sorry we’re not.

EH: (Asks a man) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: Moyross?
EH: Yeah.
Man: Ok, do you see Sullivan’s pharmacy? Go to there. Go out that way. Cross the bridge, right? You’ll see a hotel called The Strand. Keep going past that. Keep going out the Ennis road. You’ll come to a crossroads. You’re nearly at Moyross then.

EH: (Asks a man) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: From here … Not really sure no.

EH: Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: Moyross?
EH: Yes.
Man: Go out this way, as far as Sarsfield bridge. Come out here take a right, straight across the road. Pass the LIT. It’s right beside the LIT.
EH: And that’s the only road in.
Man: There’s only one road in. Out the other side, there’s one, but I’d really confuse you. Just go out here, cross the bridge. There should be signs for the LIT, the university. Just follow them.

EH: Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Woman: You have to get a bus.
EH: Okay.
Woman: (Thinking out loud) Not this turn, not the next one. Go down to the fourth turn on the right. You’ll see Dunnes. All the buses that go out in that direction stop outside Dunnes.

EH: (Asks a man) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: You’ll have to get a bus. It’s a long way out.

EH: (Asks a few men) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
First man: Moyross?
Second man: Come here to me.
Third man: Why do you want to go to Moyross?
First man: Listen to me, listen to me, listen to me. I won’t lie to you.
Third man: You can get a bus from right over there.
Second man: Look, look, look … (Shows driving license that shows he has a Moyross address) I’ll tell you about Moyross.
First man (To EH): You’re a guard.
EH: I am not.
First man: I know you. I met you. Trust me, I know you.
EH: Can you walk out?
Third man: You can, yeah. If you come right and you cross…
First man: You’re a shade.
(Men argue)
Third man: Go up here and turn right, cross the bridge Take a right again. There’s a straight road coming down. Cross the bridge, take a right again and you’ll be there.

EH: (Asks a woman) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Woman: Yeah. From here … Are you walking?
EH: Yeah.
Woman: It’s about a twenty-five minute, half-hour walk. Cross the bridge, go straight out to Bewley’s Cross. Do you know Limerick at all?
EH: Not really, no.
Woman: I’ll walk with you so.
(Woman and EH walk over Sarsfield Bridge and past the Strand Hotel)
Woman: Why are going to Moyross?
EH: I’d like to know how to get there.
Woman: Limerick has a bad reputation, but I’ve never had any problems here.

EH: (Asks a man) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: I have no idea, sorry.

EH: (Asks a man) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: Yeah, I do. Take a left there, head on over the bridge. And when you come on over the bridge, and just over the bridge, go right and it’s there on your left. So go on over the bridge, go right straight afterwards and go straight on down the road, straight down the road you go left, you’ll see Thomand Park. It’s on your right hand side after Thomand Park.

EH: (Asks a man) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: Moyross? I haven’t clue, man. I’m not from here.

EH: (Asks a man) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: I do yeah. Do you really want to go there?
EH: Yeah.
Man: Why?
EH: I’d like to know how to get there.
Man: I’ll bring you halfway out if you want.
EH: I’d prefer to walk.
Man: Be really careful out there, will you? Lots of nut jobs out there, like.
EH: Okay.
Man: (Clears throat) The easiest way so is to go over that bridge, you see that bridge? Just go over that bridge and go on straight then. No wait, I’ll start again. Go over the bridge, follow the river, then you come to a crossroads and you go left. You’ll see a big stadium, which is Thomand Park, and if you can imagine at the back of Thomand Park is where Moyross is.
EH: Okay, thanks.
Man: Be very careful.
EH: I will.

EH: (Asks a woman) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Woman: I don’t know, sorry.

EH: (Asks a man) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: Moyross? Dangerous.
EH: Okay.
Man: I actually don’t know my way around it. Maybe you take a taxi. I think it’s that way. (Points in a northeasterly direction)

EH: (Asks a man) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: Moyross. Let’s see. It’s pretty far from here. Why are you going up there for?
EH: I’m just interested.
Man: I think you can still get a bus now. If you turn left and you follow it down towards Dunnes, they’re beside there. There’s buses for Ballynanty. You can get a bus towards Ballynanty. If you do happen to walk, just follow there along King John’s Bridge and follow over that bridge and go straight on up as far as Thomand Park. There will be buses.
EH: And to walk there?
Man: The shortest way to walk … Moyross is over there, in that direction. (Points) You see all the cars coming from that direction? That would be the main street, so just go in that direction. So just go out towards the stadium. That’s the closest I can get you.

EH: (Asks a man and a woman) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: Moyross?
Woman: Do you really want to (go to Moyross)?
Man: Yeah, do you want to go to Moyross?
EH: Yes.
Woman: You sure?
Man (To woman): What buses are there? (Both discuss mass transit options)
EH: And for walking?
Man: It’s a difficult way, now. Walking might take you about an hour and a half maybe.
(Man and woman discuss best way to go)
Woman: You have to cross the river, but I wouldn’t know the best way to be honest.
Man: I wouldn’t recommend it to be honest.
Woman: If you go up to the corner just here, they have a bus stop. You can head up there and the bus drivers will be able to tell you how to get there.

EH: (Asks a man) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Man: Take the bus.

EH: (Asks a woman) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Woman: I have no idea, I’m sorry.

EH: (Asks a mother and daughter) Excuse me, do you know how to get to Moyross?
Mother: Moyross … You’re walking? It’s a fair walk.
EH: Okay.
Mother: Now, go straight over the bridge, right. (To daughter) What’s that bridge?
Daughter: Sarsfield Bridge.
Mother: That’s Sarsfield Bridge, and when you get over the bridge, you take a right down. Just follow the road.
EH: How long will that take?
Mother: About forty minutes.
Daughter: About twenty to forty, I’d say.

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Emma Houlihan is a visual artist.