A COLLECTION of weird, wonderful, fascinating and obscure facts about Limerick has been launched in the city this week.
Murroe historian Sharon Slater – who runs the acclaimed Limerick’s Life website – has put together a 140-page book of some of the less well known facts about the Treaty county.
The Little Book of Limerick was launched at No 1 Pery Square Hotel on Tuesday night. It tells the stories of Limerick’s eccentric inhabitants and strange traditions, including the most unusual crimes and punishments in local history.
These include an attempted assassination on British Queen Victoria by an Adare man called Hamilton in 1849. A year earlier, a Limerick man George Geary Bennis saved the life of King Louis Phillipe of France during a street fracas. For this brave act, he was awarded the title of Chevalier.
Limerick’s literary traditions and sporting heritage are also highlighted in a book beautifully illustrated by Gary O’Donnell, a graduate of the Limerick School of Art and Design.
Sharon has been researching local history since her teens and has a passion for telling stories of ordinary men and woman who have lived in Limerick. The book was launched by Mayor of Limerick Kathleen Leddin, and Sharon’s former teacher at Mary Immaculate College, Dr Liam Irwin.
In a well received speech, Dr Irwin said the new volume was a very welcome and attractive addition to the bookshelf containing works that offer enlightenment about Limerick people and places. It would, he predicted, find its way into many a Christmas stocking locally.
Sharon, who now lives in Corbally, and works for Limerick City Archives, said: “The Little Book of Limerick is tid-bits of history of the city and county. You can look in it, find something interesting, and pick it up again, and find something else completely different.
“I was doing the Limerick’s life web site for the 10 ten years, and off the back of the interest from people wanting to know more, I decided to write this.”
One of the most intriguing stories in the book concerns Dr Joseph John Long.
“He came down from Dublin to set up a medical ministry,” Sharon said. “He was based in O’Connell Street, and here for a short time, before he was kicked out of the city by the staunch Catholics. It was during the period of the Jewish pogrom. They were marching beside his business for days. He took the priests to the court to try and stop what was going on.”
The book is published by The History Press and is available for €12.99 from all good bookshops across Limerick.