Take a pub crawl of a different kind around Limerick in local author’s new book

Taprooms, Taverns and Alehouses: Limerick City Pubs by Dr Paul O'Brien and Will Banks.

ASK any Irish person for directions to any given landmark or establishment and they’ll probably respond by asking “what pub is it near?”

Now, a new book, Taprooms, Taverns and Alehouses: Limerick City Pubs ca.1850-202, by Will Banks and Dr Paul O’Brien brings a highly illustrated and detailed account of the pub trade in Limerick City over the last 200 years.

William Banks and Mary Immaculate College historian Dr Paul O’Brien are putting together the ultimate guide to Limerick pubs over the last two centuries, with all proceeds going to Down Syndrome Limerick.

The pair have researched over 1,000 local pubs and publicans who traded in the city since about 1850. Over that period, they estimate that over half of pub licenses were held by women.

They even uncovered the names of some publicans who were trading in the 1760s.

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Something that struck the pair during their research was the realisation that at least 110 pubs in the city have closed since the early 1970s. These histories, they believe, need to be captured and preserved, and that is exactly what they achieved in this new publication.

The idea for the book was born during the Covid-19 lockdown while Will Banks’ father, Eddie (85), reminisced on visiting pubs, which at the time seemed such a long way away.

Will says that he and his co-author “took out a bit of paper and listed all the pubs we could remember in Limerick. We ticked off all the pubs we were in and, when we did that, we realised between us we were in 95 per cent of them”.

The duo said their research has taken three years and countless hours to put together the tome.

The pair are donating proceeds from the project to Down Syndrome Limerick, a local charity that provides services and supports to children and adults with Down syndrome and their families.

The charity also hosts a range of social events and activities for its members. It is managed by family members and parents who are all volunteers.

Dr Paul O’Brien’s late aunt, Rita Gilheany, was born in 1944 with Down syndrome.

The book can be bought on downsyndromelimerick.ie.