A MAJOR publication on the history of Limerick was launched in the city’s Georgian Quarter last night by Mayor Kevin Kiely.
Limerick, the newly published atlas in the Irish Historic Towns Atlas Series, features illustrations, plans and accounts of the city. The collection includes three Elizabethan maps from about 1590, which pre-date Dublin’s earliest known map by 20 years.
The lanes of Limerick so pertinent to Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes have long since disappeared, but are preserved in the atlas with unusual lane names of Spreadeagle, Scabby, Red Lion, White Wine or Bear Lane.
Laura Ryan of the Limerick Coordination office said: “If you ever wondered why the heart of Limerick city today is not centred on its historic foundations at St Mary’s Cathedral or what the city may have looked like with its walls intact, the answers are in the Atlas published by the Royal Irish Academy. It is part of a wider European scheme of over 460 towns and cities already published.”
Reproduced are 27 rare maps, and 12 views of the city from various repositories in Ireland and Britain.
Historian and University of Limerick lecturer Dr John Logan has described the Limerick Atlas as “the single most important publication on the history of the city since Lenihan’s history in 1866”. He added: “It changes the way we look at the city as a place of work and living and make us realise the city’s immense, but too often overlooked, potential and possibilities. Planners, historians, architects, teachers, students, and all well-informed citizens will all want to have a copy. It is, simply, indispensable.”
Author, and Limerick man, Dr Eamon O’Flaherty (UCD) spent years compiling topographical information from religious houses and the city’s defences to schools and administrative buildings.
Dr O’Flaherty said: “The majestic Shannon, which bred life to this Viking settlement, also offered artists a beautiful canvas to work from. The plan for the Georgian town, today’s O’Connell, Henry, and Thomas Streets etc, is clearly shown on the impressive Christopher Colles plan for the city drawn in 1769 and clearly shows the intention for a new town outside of the medieval walled city of Englishtown and Irishtown.”
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