Old Limerick Journal recalls Spanish flu epidemic

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

THE story of how Limerick was ravaged by the Spanish flu in 1918-19 is recalled by historian Tom Toomey in the current edition of the Old Limerick Journal.

THE story of how Limerick was ravaged by the Spanish flu in 1918-19 is recalled by historian Tom Toomey in the current edition of the Old Limerick Journal.

Mr Toomey cites records showing the epidemic claimed over 700 victims in the city and county in the space of just eight months but the author suspects the toll was higher because deaths recorded as bronchitis and pneumonia in some areas were in fact related to the deadly outbreak. Mortality peaked during November 1918 with almost 300 deaths.

Mr Toomey writes that the high number of casualties in the military hospital attached to Sarsfield Barracks - and towns with large populations of soldiers like Newcastle West - shows how the flu was brought back from the front at the end of the First World War.

The current edition of the journal also features one of the last articles written by the late Parteen military historian Patrick J McNamara - inspired by a postcard from a Japanese POW camp in Java he found at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum - on Clare RAF officer Harold John Maguire.

This month’s edition also features contributions from John Rainsford, Noel Murphy, Brendan Burke, Katie Devine, Des Ryan, Marian Locke, Mary Castelyn, Brian Hodkinson, John Leonard, Darragh Greaney, Martin Walsh and Des Long.

The winter 2011/2012 edition of the Old Limerick Journal is currently on sale at newsagents around the city.