FORMER Minister for Justice Des O’Malley found himself on familiar ground on Tuesday night in opening an exhibition of Limerick Leader photographs from the 1970s.
It was here as a young solicitor that Mr O’Malley first interacted with Limerick Leader staff in what was then the District Court.
The exhibition, From Limerick With Love, is a collaboration between the paper, Limerick City Museum and Archives and Limerick School of Art and Design, whose third year students have put a modern spin on many of the photographs which feature.
Supported by Limerick City of Culture, the exhibition runs at City Hall until December and its launch coincides with the going live of a website - www.fromlimerickwithlove.ie - featuring 25,000 images of the 1970s from the archives of the Limerick Leader.
Mr O’Malley noted that most of the images in which he features also seemed to include the former Mayor of Limerick, the late Rory Liddy, whose son Cormac had a long career with the paper.
“Cormac Liddy,” said Mr O’Malley, “was the most versatile journalist that the world has ever known because the Limerick Leader had him as their hurling correspondent, their rugby correspondent, their soccer correspondent, their Gaelic football correspondent, their greyhound racing correspondent, their coursing correspondent and he even did reviews of musicals.”
As such, it had been his trick to say “prominent among those in the choir were” before including each and everyone of its members “on the basis that their mothers would probably all buy the paper if they saw their son’s or their daughter’s name in it”.
The images, he said, were a fascinating insight into Limerick in the 1970s although he said the city had “changed much for the better since”.
“I take great pleasure in opening the exhibition and hope as many people as possible come to enjoy it,” he said.
The website, meanwhile, is a panoply of 25,000 photographs of Limerick life during the 1970s and is the result of months of digitisation work by the Limerick Leader and Limerick Museum and Archives.
Council archivist Jacqui Hayes said that Limerick Museum and Archives have been working since late 2013 scanning and cataloguing thousands of images from the paper’s archives.
“It’s been a labour of love digitising this entire decade and making the photographs, which up until now have been saved in film negatives, publicly available in a searchable, online database,” said Ms Hayes.
Visit From Limerick With Love for more.