New exhibition examines Ireland’s City of Churches

A secular exhibition examining Limerick’s churches and places of worship through their records, buildings and impact on the social history of the City was launched today, as part of the City of Culture 2014 Programme.

'Limerick: City of Churches' showcases the architecture and social heritage of the many faiths in Limerick City, which is considered to have more places of worship on its main street than any other city or town in Ireland.

The travelling exhibition is scheduled to visit a number of venues within the city throughout Limerick's year as National City of Culture with each host venue representing different religions.

Using archival imagery and newly commissioned photography, Limerick Museum and Archives (LMA) says it hopes the exhibition will “re-imagine and breathe new life” into Limerick City’s historic buildings.

“Limerick can boast a wide variety in faiths and denominations, some of which remain today while others have dissipated through the years. The archives of these religious bodies are a major legacy and have led to the creation of this unique exhibition,” explained Mayor of Limerick Cllr. Kathleen Leddin.

Mayor Leddin continued: “This wonderful exhibition encompasses the histories of Limerick City's churches and displays them in a high quality. These churches and places of worship were the foundation of Limerick’s social life for generations and as such it is important the story of their records, buildings and impact on the history of Limerick be told.”

The exhibition was launched today by Peter Carroll, Course Director, SAUL (School of Architecture, University of Limerick), who stated: “Limerick truly is a City of Churches with many religious buildings such as St. John's Cathedral and St. Mary's Cathedral becoming tourist attractions in their own right. As such it important to showcase the legacy of architecture and social engagement resulting from Limerick's devote nature. It is a chance for many to experience the interiors of buildings in their locality which they would otherwise not have entered.”

Commenting on the background to the Exhibition, Jacqui Hayes, Archivist with the LMA said: “Our churches have provided education and healthcare, they are venues for celebrations like baptisms and weddings, and they are places of worship and community meeting places. Many churches are keepers of records, including baptism, marriage and often death certificates. We are keen to support the custodians of these records by preserving and making accessible these unique resources. While their future may be uncertain these buildings still represent a substantial part of our architectural heritage and cumulative investment and therefore, we would urge people to visit the exhibition.”

“The exhibit will travel to seven different venues within the city, including Central Buildings on O’Connell Street, the Augustinians and St Mary’s Cathedral. The venues were all originally connected with churches, and they represent different religions and spaces which are no longer associated with any denomination. This will achieve an exhibit accessible to all irrespective of denomination or faith,” added Ms. Hayes.

Limerick: City of Churches’ is supported by the Limerick City of Culture 'Made in Limerick' programme. For more visit or contact Limerick Museum and Archives (LM&A) on 061-557293.

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Treaty Stone Limerick. Photo Piotr Machowczyk