New chapter in city museum’s history

Limerick City Museum Istabraq Hall 30-10-12LIMERICK City Council is planning to rehouse the City Museum at the former Franciscan Church on Henry Street over the coming months.

At a joint meeting of the Cultural and Sporting Committees of Limerick City and County Councils this week, director of services Oliver O’Loughlin announced that the local authority was in the process of finalising a lease on the premises.

The plan is for the City Museum, which is currently housed in the Istabraq Hall at City Hall, to take up temporary residence at the former Franciscan Church on a five-year lease with a view to extending it if the location proves suitable.

The museum has, since moving from its original home in Pery Square, also been based in St John’s Square, Castle Lane near King John’s Castle and Istabraq Hall. It is home to many archaeological and historical artefacts as well as displays of Limerick silver, lace and examples of local printing.

Speaking at County Hall this Tuesday, Mayor Kathleen Leddin described the Franciscan Church as a great location for the City Museum.

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Labour councillor Tom Shortt hailed the announcement of the museum’s new temporary location as a “tremendous bit of news” but warned that he did not want to see a “Mickey Mouse effort”.

He asked for issues such as heating, lighting and signage to be properly thought through and said he was surprised not to see this project already up and running in Limerick’s year as National City of Culture.

“Interim seems to be the buzz word this week. I’ve seen the museum in Pery Square, John Square, Castle Lane and Istabraq Hall. It’s now galloping over to the Franciscans. All that moving can’t be good for the artefacts,” said Cllr Shortt.

He went on to ask if there would be an exhibition organised to mark the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of the first World War.

“There is a frenzy of interest in this and any city worth its salt will be putting on a decent exhibition that people can relate to. There’s a massive amount of Limerick families that were involved in World War One. My grandmother’s brother died in the Somme,” Shortt revealed.

“Some people take history very seriously and I don’t want a Mickey Mouse effort,” he concluded.