As a symbol of contempt for Irish life by a well-known gangster, it was as dramatic as they come. Last week, the "unemployed" gangland criminal Wayne Dundon made headlines when he spent €8,000 on his daughter's lavish Communion Day celebrations, complete with horse-drawn Cinderella carriage.
He later reacted angrily when newspapers printed photographs of the spectacle.
Dundon's extravagance highlighted yet again the deep roots Limerick's gangs have in the local community and brought unpleasant memories of the destruction they have wrought. At the latest estimate, up to 15 people have been murdered in Limerick's gang feud between the McCarthy-Dundon and Keane-Collopy crime gangs.
The Keane-Collopy gang live in St Mary's Park, which is known locally as 'The Island'. They rarely move out of the area. The rival group hails mainly from Moyross on the north of the city and the O'Malley Park and Ballinacurra Weston areas of the southside. Violence has bred violence in the city and is driven by deep personal hatred as much as a drugs turf war.
Some believe it started in a school playground while others insist it was over an unpaid drugs debt. It's been intensified and compounded by Limerick's small geographical size: the four feuding areas are within walking distance of each other. Many of the senior members of both gangs are in prison after successful garda operations. Many more are facing lengthy spells behind bars.
But every time one of them gets sent to prison, there is a new generation of violent young criminals eager to take their place. They are glorified drug dealers whose propensity for violence has made them household names.
A sustained garda presence, including a constant presence of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), has curtailed their activities and the number of killings, particularly in the past 12 months. Both gangs are being pursued under the new anti-gang legislation. Last month, seven key members of the McCarthy-Dundon gang were arrested and charged with serious criminality. A week before this, two of the Collopy brothers were charged with threatening to kill another man.
The McCarthy-Dundon gang are considered by senior detectives to be more dangerous and volatile. At present, they are more powerful in Limerick than their rivals, in terms both of manpower and drug-dealing. But that balance of power can be easily shifted.
The Keane-Collopy gang has also been beset by in-fighting in recent months. As a result, they have kept a lower profile than their rivals but have not neglected running their drugs business. Putting both gangs out of business is a major priority and gardaí have made a major dent in their illegal activities.
In the past two years, the McCarthy-Dundons have solidified their reputations as the more ruthless of the two gangs. This is as a result of several high profile murders of innocent people.
While both gangs often spend time abroad, usually in Spain, none can seem to keep away from Limerick. "They grew up in highly dysfunctional families and find it hard to make it anywhere else as a result. They love Limerick because they are 'someone' here. People know them and are scared of them," explains a senior Garda source. "They always come back. The pressure on them is immense but many of them simply don't want to relocate. Limerick is everything to them. But we will be equally relentless about pursuing them."
The dynamics of both gangs regularly changes, as a result of deaths and stretches in prison, but here is a snapshot of the current power balance in the rival gangs.
He is the undisputed leader of the gang and has the most forceful personality of all the criminals in Limerick.
He was released from prison in March having served a jail sentence for threatening to kill barman Ryan Lee, a first cousin and stepbrother of murder victim Roy Collins. Lee's evidence played a key role in sending Dundon to jail. He is considered by senior detectives to be the most volatile of all the Limerick gang members and his behaviour in the past couple of weeks has become increasingly erratic.
The eldest son of Kenneth Dundon and Anne McCarthy, Wayne Dundon was considered to be so violent by British authorities, he was served with a deportation order from the British Home Office following a litany of crimes.
He returned to his home city of Limerick at the turn of the millennium.
Currently in prison serving time for road traffic offences and is also on remand in relation to another crime. He is the second in command in the gang.
Along with his young brother Dessie, he tortured a fellow inmate in Wheatfield in March and then sent pictures of the attack to friends. They wrote 'F*** Me' on the prisoner's forehead and backside and lined his face and body with red marker before beating him.
Dundon fled Limerick in the aftermath of the murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan before returning and handing himself in in relation to the road traffic offences charges.
Dundon was released from prison in July 2008, after serving a four-and-a-half-year sentence for threatening to kill Owen Treacy who was a star state witness and nephew of McCarthy/ Dundon murder victim Kieran Keane.
Is the head of the McCarthy side of the family and is a cousin of Wayne and John Dundon but is no longer as influential in the gang's activities.
He was jailed for 11 years in 2006 after he was convicted of running a weapons supermarket factory in Hackney, east London and possessing machine guns, ammunition and high impact 'dum-dum' bullets.
He remains in regular contact with his cousins in Limerick and plays a role in all the gang's key decisions despite being behind bars.
Is serving a life sentence for his role in the murder of rival criminal Kieran Keane. After killing Keane, Dundon fled Ireland but he was arrested by gardaí in Co Kilkenny when he returned three months later. While he is an extremely violent criminal, he does not have the same leadership qualities or intelligence as Wayne and John.
He has more than 80 previous convictions and is regarded as an out-of-control, erratic criminal. But, like Dessie Dundon, also does not have a huge amount of influence in directing the gang's drug-dealing activities.
A cousin of the Dundons, he continues to be involved in criminal activity despite serving a life sentence for the murder of Kieran Keane.
Noddy's brother, he is considered one of the gang's most violent members.
Another cousin of the Dundons. He is also serving a life sentence for his role in the Kieran Keane murder.
Killeen has quickly risen the ranks of the McCarthy-Dundon gang. While he has few previous convictions, he has been questioned in relation to the murders of Roy Collins and Shane Geoghegan in recent years. His sister is married to John Dundon.
The horse-trader has controlled the Limerick gang since the death of Kieran Keane. He is undoubtedly the brains behind the operation. There have been recent tensions internally within the Collopy family as well as their associates, the Keanes. The Collopys are no longer as strongly aligned with the Keanes because of this. Unlike the Dundons, Brian has managed to keep a lower public profile and concentrate on drug dealing. In 2003, his Fedamore home was seized by Cab after it emerged he had bought it with cash for €150,000 one year earlier. He has survived at least four attempts on his life by the McCarthy-Dundons.
The crime boss was released from prison last year after serving a 10-year sentence for drugs possession. His brother Kieran was murdered by the McCarthy-Dundons. He has kept a very low profile in Limerick since his release. He is no longer as influential as Brian Collopy but the Keanes now operate his drug dealing operation separately.
Regarded as a very capable gang member, he is close to his brother Brian, who leads the gang. He has found it difficult to deal with the death of his brother Philip last year. The 29-year-old shot himself in the head accidentally in a house in Limerick's St Mary's Park. He didn't realise the gun was loaded when he put it to his head and pulled the trigger. Philip's death was a major blow to the gang – he was one of its most trusted gunmen.
Was recently released after serving a five-year sentence for selling drugs to an undercover garda. Jonathan, along with his brothers Raymond and Vincent, spends a lot of time living in Spain, where the family owns a villa, to avoid garda attention and attempts on their lives.
Vincent also served five years for attempting to sell drugs to an undercover garda. He is considered by his brother Brian to be the most level-headed and is one of the most trusted gang members.
The nephew of murdered crime boss Kieran Keane. Of all the gang members, he has the highest propensity for violence. He famously gave photographers two fingers after his trial for the murder of Eric Leamy in 2001, where he was acquitted. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence for weapons offences. Despite being imprisoned, he is still very criminally active. Detectives say he will pose a major threat upon his release from prison.
A cousin of Kieran Keane, he was just 19 when convicted of manslaughter. He is currently serving six years for his involvement in the killing when an innocent young man was kicked to death in a gang attack after being mistaken for a feud participant. Like his cousin, he's considered extremely violent and out-of-control.
He is regarded as a key and loyal associate of the Collopy-Keane faction. He was a close friend of Philip Collopy, who shot himself dead last year. He has survived countless attempts on his life. He was the intended target of the McCarthy-Dundon gang, who murdered rugby player Shane Geoghegan in a case of mistaken identity.