President Michael D Higgins this week congratulated the Limerick Leader on the paper’s 125th anniversary, which falls this Saturday, August 9.
On that date in 1889 – a Friday - the very first edition of the Leader came off the press. Despite early challenges, during which the paper might have folded, it has stood the test of time and has been Limerick’s paper of record ever since.
“I take this opportunity to congratulate all at the Limerick Leader on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of its first publication,” said President Higgins.
“So much has changed for the people of Limerick in this 125 year period and the paper has responded to these changes by providing a valuable service to the local community in its coverage of news, events and the social, economic, cultural and significant sporting achievements of the city and county. I wish all at the Limerick Leader and indeed its readers every best wish for the future.”
President Higgins was born in Limerick on Friday, April 19, 1941. This week, we sent him the first three pages of the edition published by the Limerick Leader the day after his birth.
As was the custom at the time, the front page was dominated by adverts, in a week when Walt Disney’s Pinocchio was on at the Carlton cinema and the latest Gary Cooper movie, The Westerner, was opening at the Lyric.
Alas, all of the seven cinemas advertising on that front page are no more, but the Leader remains a huge part of Limerick life.
The paper has new owners in its 125th anniversary year and is now part of the newly created Iconic Newspapers company which also owns pre-eminent local brands such as the Kilkenny People, Longford Leader, Tipperary Star and The Nationalist in Clonmel.
Malcolm Denmark, who purchased the titles in April, said he was “enormously proud of the Leader as it reaches this auspicious anniversary.
“We are custodians of a great Limerick institution and I would like to thank everyone who has played even a small part in helping the Leader along the way – staff members both past and present, the countless contributors who have made the paper such great reading, and the advertisers who have seen the paper as the best means of getting their message across to a huge local audience.”
Irene Hamilton, the paper’s managing director, said: “Like every business, we have come through some challenging years and thanks to the support of both our readers and advertisers and the commitment of our team here, we look forward now to the next chapter in the Limerick Leader story.”
In the Leader 2 section of the paper this week we include a detailed look at the first 30 years of the paper’s history, written by Shanagolden man Tim Madigan.
Next month, we will publish a special commemorative supplement looking at the role the Leader has played in local life for the past 125 years.
Also in September, the exhibition entitled From Limerick with Love, featuring a host of great pictures from the Leader archives taken in the 1970s, will open at City Hall.
The following month, our anniversary celebrations continue with the publication of a superb new book, Limerick Through The Lens: Pictures from the Limerick Leader Archive, which will include hundreds of the best pictures taken by our staff photographers in the latter half of the 20th century.
We thank you, our loyal readers, for your support over the years and look forward to serving Limerick for many more years to come.