SLIDESHOW: Limerick Museum opens doors to its new home in the city

Huge collection housed at the former Franciscan Friary on Henry Street

Alan Owens

Reporter:

LIMERICK Museum has opened the doors to its brand new home in the heart of Limerick city - at the former Franciscan Friary on Henry Street.

The museum, which houses one of the largest collections of any Irish museum and is the oldest in the state, is home to nearly 60,000 objects, showcasing a 9,500-year story of Limerick city and county.

The aim of the is to collect, preserve and display objects that tell the story of Limerick and its people and it is dedicated to the memory of Jim Kemmy, the former Democratic Socialist Party and Labour Party TD for Limerick East and two-time Mayor of Limerick.

It features Stone Age axes to medieval coins, from the civic sword of Queen Elizabeth I to medals presented to veterans of the 1916 Rising.

Among the more unusual items include: Ireton’s Cat, a mummified cat found on Nicholas Street in the 1890’s; a fragment of the largest meteorite that ever fall in Ireland in 1813 and two World War II gas-masks, which were never used.

The new museum — which officially opened this Tuesday — is currently at “phase one”, and will be expanding its exhibition space in the future, allowing for more of its extensive catalogue to be showcased.

The Limerick Museum first occupied the Carnegie Building — now Limerick City Gallery of Art — in Pery Square, from 1916 to 1974. After a five-year closure, it reopened in St John’s Square in 1979, and then relocated to Castle Lane in 1998 until 2012, when it moved to City Hall.

Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kieran O'Hanlon, said at the opening: "As we inaugurate this Museum, we have the opportunity to contemplate what it represents: the inspiring traditions of the past, the challenges of the future, and the continuing development of our city and county.

"Limerick is currently undergoing a cultural renaissance which is part of a larger economic revival that continues to gather pace. Limerick Museum has a major role to play in this renaissance.

"Centrally located, it will have enormous appeal to both Irish and overseas visitors. Along with its partner institutions such as the Library Service, Limerick Archives, Limerick City Gallery of Art and Hunt Museum, it brings our long, colourful and unique history to a wider audience."

Acting curator Dr Matthew Potter said that museum reflects a “city of merchants” with many artefacts “reflecting the prosperity of Limerick”.

Limerick Museum is free to the public and is open Monday to Friday from 10am–1pm and 2pm to 5pm.