Limerick’s Giant Gran

For one weekend, the Irish city of Limerick was taken over by a giant granny. Tens of thousands flocked to the streets – but why was she there?

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


Giant Granny, Limerick, Ireland

To celebrate being named as the first Irish City of Culture, Limerick has been putting on quite a show this year. From circuses, to concerts, to plays, to art installations, Limerick has been proving that it is worthy of the title.

It all came to a grand culmination with the arrival of a giant granny in the city. Yes, you read that right.

Giant Granny, Limerick, Royal De Luxe
Giant Granny, Limerick, Royal De Luxe

She (the granny) is the work of the French street theatre company, Royal De Luxe.

She moves through the streets through a complex series of mechanics controlled by 27 operators. At her tallest, she is 8 metres high and the wheelchair she sometimes uses weighs 5 tonnes.

It’s no easy feat but it all looks so smooth and effortless.

Giant Granny, Limerick, Royal De Luxe
Giant Granny, Limerick, Royal De Luxe

The puppetmasters have taken her (and other characters) all around the world but, in Ireland, it was important to make her feel connected to the land. So along the way she stopped and talked to the tens of thousands of gathered people.

Using the voice of an (oddly male) Irish actor, she told the story of Limerick and the struggles of the nation. Just like in many families over the generations, the young ones gathered around and she spun her tale.

As a tribute to the city of Limerick and its briefly-adopted patron, I am pleased to present you with an ode to the weekend.

Giant Granny, Limerick, Royal De Luxe

The Limerick Giant
by Michael Turtle

There once was a puppet called Gran,
Who could walk just like a real man,
So she took to the street,
Lifted up both her feet,
And became the Limerick nan.

Giant Granny, Limerick, Royal De Luxe

The people rushed out to see her,
They lined the streets to be nearer,
And as she walked by,
Oh, they did cry,
“Gosh, she couldn’t be dearer!”

Giant Granny, Limerick, Royal De Luxe

Because Gran would look over and smile,
As she walked for mile after mile,
She’d wave or she’d smoke,
(Her moves are bespoke),
For her age, she’s really agile.

Giant Granny, Limerick, Royal De Luxe

Sometimes Gran would sit in her chair,
She was pushed while the crowds stood to stare,
‘Cause she must be quite weighty,
And clearly past eighty,
So there’s only so much she can bear.

Giant Granny, Limerick, Royal De Luxe

For two days she went through the city,
While a band played a constant rock ditty,
I looked for a sign,
Saying “You’re my gran design”,
But sadly there was nothing so witty.

Giant Granny, Limerick, Royal De Luxe

Gran would stop on the way to tell tales,
Of what the country’s history entails,
“The English are bad”
“The Irish are mad”
“But thank God at least we’re not Wales!”

Giant Granny, Limerick, Royal De Luxe

After two days it all came to an end,
And Gran went from real to pretend,
The people did cheer,
And then went for a beer,
But the giant’s story will always transcend.

Time Travel Turtle was supported by Tourism Ireland but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.

8 thoughts on “Limerick’s Giant Gran”

  1. I’ve seen some amazing pictures of works by the Royal De Luxe company and have always thought that it’d be fantastic to see live. I believe there was one here in Berlin when we were in the city last autumn, but for whatever reason we missed it.

    Really wish I’d have been able to see Granny during her walk.

  2. This is FABULOUS! I have never seen something like this before. I love the poetry that you have written along the pictures. I really wish to see Nan in real… She’s so adorable. 🙂


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