Catherine Hayes - Limerick’s Nightingale Bicentenary celebrations

  • 19th Century Opera Singer Catherine Hayes

On Thursday 8th November 2018 Limerick will celebrate the two hundred year anniversary of the baptism of Catherine Hayes in St. Mary’s Cathedral Limerick. To mark this remarkable lady’s contribution to Opera and our cultural heritage we have created a Catherine Hayes experience with a video installation, an exhibition, a real live performance of song and opera, a lunchtime lecture and a supper in her honour.

Catherine Hayes was born in 4 Patrick Street on 25th October 1818 and she is the reason the redevelopment of the area is known as the Opera site. From the 7th November, everyone walking, running, cycling or driving between the Hunt Museum and O’Connell Street will be treated to burst of music and brief video of her life.

David Conway, CEO of Limerick Twenty Thirty comments: “We want the Limerick of the future to take the best from our cultural heritage. Catherine Hayes was a world renowned opera singer in her day and with the new Opera Development we are looking to build on this rich heritage and create a modern public space that incorporates new areas for performance along with the new public library, offices, retail and residential spaces . We want Limerick to be on that world stage again”.

The video has made use of archival material and paintings from Jim Noonan, Cian O’Carroll, the City Museum and Gallery and the Limerick Civic Trust. This material will be physically exhibited at the Hunt Museum from the 8th November for the rest of 2018 giving people the opportunity to dive deeper into Catherine Hayes contribution to the world of music and opera.

Jill Cousins, Director of the Hunt Museum explains: “We loved the idea of opera on the streets and the video installation should allow everyone to know about this Limerick icon while those who want to gain even greater insight into her life and legacy can see more at the exhibition in the Hunt Museum and hear her songs on November 8 at St Mary’s”.

On the evening of November 8th, the Hunt Cafe will be transformed into a Catherine Hayes supper room raising some funds to support the Catherine Hayes commemoration and putting concert goers in the right frame of mind for a wonderful concert conducted by Sinead Hayes in St Mary’s Cathedral, with performances by: Sarah Dolan (soprano) Patrick Hyland (tenor), Collete Davis (piano) and Voices of Limerick Choir and Orchestra.

Sarah Dolan says: “My musical training was in both Ireland and the United States and I have had the pleasure of performing to audiences around the globe. Limerick is very much home, however, it was Catherine Hayes who put our city on the international map two centuries ago. I am so proud to have the opportunity to play my part in the events that celebrate her life. This unique privilege is one I am relishing and look forward to sharing with Limerick audiences this November.”

For people who want to know even more, on the 4th of December there is a lunchtime lecture from Catherine Hayes afficionado, Cian O’Carroll, in Istabraq Hall.

Tickets for the concert and supper are available from the Hunt Museum and

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