‘LIMERICK — A Stroll Down Memory Lane’ has become a real staple of the Christmas season over the last 19 years. Sean Curtin spoke to Limerick Post reporter Alan Jacques about his latest collection of eye-catching images.
THE photo above shows the happy, smiling faces of passengers on a public bus in Limerick back in 1986 as they perused the very first issue of the Limerick Post.
Taken by Liam Burke of Press 22, it features in Sean Curtin’s annual Christmas stocking filler essential — ‘Limerick – A Stroll Down Memory Lane’.
Now in its nineteenth edition, the nostalgic-filled publication features dozens of wonderful photos and tales from the Treaty City’s rich past.
Sean, who worked happily as a compositor at the Limerick Leader for 43 years, only ever planned for the book to be a “one-off” when it first hit the shelves almost two decades ago.
But the energetic 70-year-old, who walks for miles every day, is still passionate about the collection and the evocative images it always contains.
Thankfully, he has no plans to stop producing the much-loved books anytime soon.
“I will keep bringing them out for as long as I have enough quality photos or until I’m not able anymore,” he told me matter-of-factly, in our now annual pre-Christmas get-together in The Glen Tavern.
Of course, I had to ask him about the photo in his latest book taken back on the day of the Limerick Post’s launch back in 1986.
“Liam Burke of Press 22 gave me that shot. He very kindly allowed me access to his extensive files. Don’t forget the Limerick Post was printed in the Limerick Leader at the time,” Sean is proud to point out.
“The newspaper was given out free on the buses when it came out. You can see everyone is reading the paper and beginning conversations about it.
“Back then people used to chat to each other on the bus. It was more of a sociable experience. I still use the bus and these days people, myself included, are stuck with their heads down in their phones and don’t really speak to each other the way they used to.”
I ask Sean about his favourite photos from the new book and he quickly suggests I turn over to examine the shot on the back cover. The eye-catching photo depicts a number of black and amber Young Munster rugby jerseys drying next to the chip pans in Pat Naughton’s Fish and Chip Shop on Parnell Street.
“That picture was taken in the 1970s. Patsy was a dyed in the wool Young Munster supporter,” he recalls.
Other gems in Sean’s latest collection include images from yesteryear of the Corbally Baths, the Island Field development, King John’s Castle and the late, great Ger Cusack.
A proud Limerick man, Sean has an eye on the future as well as the past. He tells me how he would love to see the city rejuvenated.
“King John’s Castle is underused and could be as popular as Bunratty Castle if it was done right. The castle could be a huge tourist attraction for the city. Limerick is a gateway city and I’d love to see it thriving again.”
Sean Curtin’s nineteenth edition of ‘Limerick – A Stroll Down Memory Lane’ is now priced at €15 and is available in bookshops and from the man himself at the Milk Market every Saturday.