William O’Neill, centre, with from left, Professor Don Barry, Jacqui Hayes, Professor Anthony McElligott, Mayor Liam Galvin, Professor Bernadette Whelan and and Pat Dowling Picture: John Meyler
A SIGNIFICANT step in the nurturing of Limerick’s history was taken recently at City Hall with the awarding of the inaugural Limerick Museum & Archives Scholarship, a joint project between Limerick Museum & Archives and the University of Limerick's Department of History.
The recipient of the scholarship, William O’Neill, a Kerry native, is a first year PhD student at UL.
Over the next three years, William will contribute to delivering a public history programme within Limerick Museum & Archives. The main instigators and implementers of the project were Jacqui Hayes, archivist of Limerick Museum & Archives and Dr Bernadette Whelan of the history department at UL, who is also William’s academic supervisor.
Congratulating William, Cllr Liam Galvin, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick said: “Limerick Museum & Archives and the Department of History at UL are two of the key historical and cultural institutions in Limerick. Over many years, they have worked closely together in a highly productive manner and this scholarship is the latest example of this great partnership.”
Introducing the scholarship programme, Ms Hayes said that the coming year will be a busy one for them in the museum and archives, especially in commemorating Limerick’s role in the 1916 Rising and William will be part of the team as they work “to do a good job for Limerick”.
She also mentioned that on a personal level it was a great occasion for William and for his family, especially his parents, Philip and Jane, who were present for the announcement.
While formally announcing the recipient of the scholarship, Professor Don Barry, president of UL, welcomed the initiative and said the university is happy to partner Limerick Museum & Archives.
He suggested William’s academic research will contribute to establishing the place of its history in Limerick’s public life.
“William will be involved in all areas of museum and archives work from collection management, oral history, exhibition research and production to access, education and outreach activities.
“He is also working on the research and public access elements of two current projects, namely a book and an exhibition dealing with the history of Limerick in 1916 and the development of a ‘Revolutionary/Rebellion Songs Project’, a partnership between Limerick City and County Council and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at UL.”
William O’Neill, the recipient of the scholarship, outlined some of his ambitions stating that it was his hope that Limerick would achieve not just national, but international recognition of its historical and cultural significance and this scholarship would enable him to be part of realising that goal.