by Alan Jacques
THE family of the late Philip McCormack hit a nostalgic note last weekend when they gathered at Sraid an Cheoil in the city centre to remember the well-loved Limerick man.
Fondly known as ‘The Honda Man’, Philip died after being knocked off his bicycle on the Kilmurry Roundabout on January 8 last year.
This month also marks the fifth anniversary of the opening of Sraid an Cheoil, which joins Mulgrave Street and Roxboro Road.
Philip was the man behind the campaign to have the street given its musical name and his family decided it would be fitting to mark its fifth anniversary in his honour. Last Sunday family members gathered on the city street to remember the 40-year-old father-of-one.
“It’s been five years since the opening of Sraid an Cheoil and its benefits have made life easier for motorists and pedestrians alike,” Philip’s younger brother Jim told the Limerick Post.
Sraid an Cheoil is also the former home to St John’s Brass and Reed Band and the McCormack family have a long tradition with the marching band. Philip and Jim’s dad, also Jim, has been a member for 60 years.
In fact it was this strong family connection that prompted Philip’s campaign to have the area named Music Street.
“We all played in the band as kids. Philip wanted to do something to keep the band’s history in the spot where it once stood. He did everything he could to get it renamed. He put in a lot of hard work and made a lot of phone calls and attended lots of meetings with the Council to do so,” his 37-year-brother recalls.
“The band used to practice every Sunday morning and every Wednesday night at the premises in preparation for supporting local events, churches, various marches and especially the St Patrick’s day parade. Past members include Mick Hinchy, Tom Quigley, Frank Phelan and Albert Mac to name a few. Still playing today are heroes like Jimmy McCormack, Dermot Maloney John Doyle and Jack Quigley,” Jim added.
A native of Annacotty, Philip was commissioned in 2011 to restore and customise two Honda 50 motorbikes painted in Limerick colours which featured prominently in an 11850 TV advert. The campaign paid homage to the ‘Nifty 50′ as it is better known. Philip rescued the motorbikes, restored them to their former glory, helped shoot the television advert and even featured in it.
“Philip worked on bicycles and motorcycles and ironically the street he named is full of hire bicycles now. It’s a fitting tribute and I’ve no doubt he’s smiling down on us,” his brother concluded.