MORE than 40 years on, life in Limerick has changed immeasurably and yet arguably, is essentially the same.
In a new collaborative exhibition – a key part of the Limerick Leader’s 125th anniversary celebrations –students from the Limerick School of Art & Design have taken inspiration from a selection of 125 pictures from this newspaper archives, all taken during the 1970s. This major photographic exhibition, featuring some of the most evocative and nostalgic images of life in Limerick four decades ago, was unveiled this Tuesday at Shannon Airport.
Entitled From Limerick with Love, the exhibition features almost 200 images spread throughout the departure gates in the Atlantic gateway hub, including 69 created by students of LSAD in response to the collection.
From a picture of the Ranks building ablaze in 1975, to images of Leader staff members putting the paper together, the last train from Limerick to Claremorris in 1976, and the fashions of the day, the exhibition gives a poignant insight into a world from our not too distant past.
Third-year print student Katie Deegan, from Westmeath, rounded up her flatmates before a night out to recreate a scene of how women dress today in comparison to a scene from the Limerick Inn in 1979.
Using an image of a boy with an ice-cream cone at the Limerick horse show in Greenpark in 1971 as her inspiration, student Shauna Harris from Tipperary photographed her dad Tom with ice-cream smeared across his face, with the words ‘old dog, same tricks’ written across his forehead.
“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing,” she quoted in her artist’s response.
The past wasn’t entirely a foreign country either for Fine Gael city councillor Cormac Hurley, who delighted on seeing himself in a former life – during his time with An Garda Siochana in the 1970s, as a prisoner was being led from the courthouse.
The students were asked to choose an image that appealed to them, modernise it and will now be graded on their results as part of their coursework.
Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kathleen Leddin, opened the exhibition and paid tribute to the Limerick Museum and Archives team who have been working behind the scenes for months scanning and cataloguing thousands of images from the Limerick Leader archives.
Archivist Jacqui Hayes said Shannon Airport is the “ideal space” to host an exhibition of this scale, which should help viewers “connect with the real Limerick, that is authentic, funny and sad”.
Editor of the Limerick Leader Alan English said: “We are delighted to share photographs of the people and places of Limerick with a wider audience including visitors to the Mid-West, our own nostalgic citizens and those who are just passing through Shannon Airport for the very first time during the busy summer season.”
Limerick Leader managing director Irene Hamilton expressed appreciation for all involved, and paid special tribute to the LSAD students.
“This is a very special year for the Limerick Leader as we celebrate our 125th anniversary. It is with a sense of great pride that we showcase a selection of our superb archives for the public to enjoy. In doing so, we recognise of the work of talented photographers over the years.”
The Limerick Leader has been publishing the stories of Limerick continuously since 1889 and from the early 1950s onwards the newspaper employed its own photographers. The exhibition images were mostly taken by Leader staff photographers John F Wright, Dermot Lynch, Owen South and Fonsie Foley. The exhibition will be at airport departures area until September, when it will move into the city centre.