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22 News

Saturday 29 May 2010 • LIMERICK POST

Corbally contortionist aims for Cirque du Soleil You can watch Daragh’s amazing contortion skills on Limerick Post TV by visiting www.limerickpost.ie

Daragh Merritt sits on his head during his contortion routine. push myself to far,” he said. By Colum Coomey

“I went down to Cork to train with Cork Circus, it was brilliant, they couldn’t believe that I had learned to do this”. THE Limerick contortionist who flexed his way to winning this year’s Limerick Youth’s Got Talent dreams of one day joining Cirque du Soleil. Daragh Merritt, 17, from Corbally learned to perform several back-bending manoeuvres which have turned into a show that has stunned Limerick. After winning the school talent show at St Munchin’s College last year, the teenager decided to audition for RTE’s All-Ireland’s Got Talent. “They say they thought it was too scary and too extreme and they were afraid I might injure myself,” Daragh tells the Limerick Post. Unfazed by this decision he is continuing to pursue his dream of joining the circus since travelling to Cork to train with Cork Circus, which he said were amazed by his flexibility. “I went down to Cork to train with Cork Circus, it was brilliant, they couldn’t believe that I had learned to do this”. When he is finished his Leaving Cert he plans to contact several travelling circuses in search of work. “All I have to do is call them up, I’ve also joined an online Circus agency, used to recruit people”. Daragh’s parents are very supportive of his plans. “They’ve always known that I want to join a circus and that I’ve always wanted to become a contortionist, since the first time I saw it at Fossetts Circus when I was about five or six”. With no background in gymnastics, Daragh started to teach himself different stretches when he was twelve. “I saw the Alegría Cirque du Soleil DVD and I started off with small exercises. It took about six months to get used to and to stretch out my muscles but I was always careful not to

After Daragh had stretched out his muscles he soon learned how to do the “crab” and to sit on his head. He explained the secret to his act: “Before I started out I wasn’t incredibly flexible but I really wanted to do it and if you put your mind to something you can do it”. Every evening after his homework he does an hour of serious training and watches Cirque du Soleil, which he has seen in Dublin and London and will see again when it returns to Dublin in July. He points out that the circus industry is minute in Ireland, England and other European countries, compared to Russia, which has 15,000 circus performers. Daragh’s contortion skills are much admired by his friends. “When I did P.E in school, I would practice and do stretches with a game of basketball going on to one side of me and a game of football on the other and they would all be looking at me”.

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Council optimistic for funding LIMERICK City Council is in the running for funding under a l scheme where €50 million is being allocated nationally. Senior Roads and Traffic Engineer, Vincent Murray has confirmed that the council is currently seeking funding of €11.5 million for the development of a Smarter Travel Demonstration city”. He has travelled to Dublin to make a presentation to Depar tment of Transport officials who will be in Limerick next month to interview local politicians. In 2009 Limerick City Council secured close to €1million in funding for Limerick City and Environs walking and Cycling Strategy, cycle lanes on the Condell Road and a Public Transport Feasibility Study. Mr Murray said he is optimistic that

the council’s 2010 Smarter Travel Area bid will be

successful. A copy of the council’s stage one

bid can be found on the Smarter Travel website”.

Arthritis Ireland Will be holding

An Information Day On May 29th 11am to 4pm In Southcourt Hotel Raheen Roundabout, Limerick 11.00am Welcome 11.15am Personality to open 11.30am Dr. Alexander Fraser (Consultant Rheumatologist) Topic: Osteoarthritis 12.00pm Nicola Wade (Podiatrist) 12.30pm Niall Kelly (Alexander Techniques) Reducing Pain / Muscle Tension 1.00pm Lunch 2.15pm Norelee Kennedy (Physio) Exercise and where to start 2.45pm Mary Brady (Osteoporosis) Identifying those at risk and raising public awareness 3.15pm Jenny Allen (Naturist) Diet and Inflamation 4.00pm Close Also in attendance on the day will be Tip Toes Orthotics who will scan your feet for free. Arthritis Ireland Household Aids and Appliances, Physios from U.L. ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND - ADMISSION IS FREE Please come along and avail of this opportunity to meet Health Professionals and have all your questions answered.

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