Online archive a new window into 1970s in Limerick

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

Former Minister for Justice Des O'Malley and city archivist Jacqui Hayes check out some of the 25,000 images on the new website, From Limerick With Love, launched to coincide with an exhibition of Limerick Leader pictures from the 1970s at City Hall. Picture: Michael Cowhey
EVERY picture tells a story but for former minister Des O’Malley, every picture in a new exhibition appeared to be telling a similar one.

EVERY picture tells a story but for former minister Des O’Malley, every picture in a new exhibition appeared to be telling a similar one.

“I seem to be standing beside [former mayor] Rory Liddy in every one of them,” he joked in opening From Limerick With Love, which features Limerick Leader photographs from the 1970s, many of them brilliantly reinterpreted by students of Limerick School of Art and Design.

The exhibition features 125 carefully selected images from the Leader archive, one for every year the paper has been in print. And the opening coincides with the launch of a website featuring 25,000 images of the people of Limerick city and county from the same decade.

Part of what Limerick Leader editor Alan English called “the richest sociological photographic collection of Limerick life over the last 60 or 70 years”, the images on the website and in the exhibition feature ordinary life as well as the sporting triumphs and political dramas that are the meat and drink newspapers.

One of the Leader’s main functions had been and remains “to facilitate debate”, Mr English said, and he was certain that Mr O’Malley would have had “few run-ins with the paper over the years which he may or may not like to share with us”.

Mr O’Malley, as it happened, was far too polite, preferring to praise former Leader journalists like Feargal Keane, now of the BBC, and Cormac Liddy, son of the late Rory Liddy.

The images, he said, were a fascinating insight into Limerick in the 1970s and “I take great pleasure in opening the exhibition and hope as many people as possible come to enjoy it”.

Cathaoirleach of Limerick City and County Council, Cllr Kevin Sheahan welcomed the collaboration between the Limerick Museum and Archives that had led to the exhibition and website.

The Leader, he said, was “an institution in Limerick” that “had documented life in Limerick through momentous times”.

“Through good times and bad, the Leader has published its newspapers. It has been a constant in the world which has changed radically,” said Cllr Sheahan.

For more see the print edition of the Limerick Leader