History of Limerick


History of Limerick

Infobox Irish Place
name = City of Limerick
gaeilge = Cathair Luimnigh
crest

motto = Urbs antiqua fuit studiisque asperrima belli "An ancient city well versed in the arts of war"
map

pin coords = left: 86px; top: 30px
north coord = 52.6652
west coord = 8.6238
irish grid = R574572
area = 20.79 km²
county = County Limerick
population = 52,560
census yr = 2006
province = Munster
web = www.limerickcity.ie
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The history of Limerick ( _ga. Luimneach), the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland and one of Ireland's major cultural and industrial centres, stretches back to its establishment by the Vikings as a walled city on "King's Island" (an island in the River Shannon) in 812, and its charter in 1197.

A great castle was built on the orders of King John in 1200. It was besieged three times in the 17th century, resulting in the famous Treaty of Limerick and the flight of the defeated Catholic leaders abroad. Much of the city was built during the following Georgian prosperity, which ended abruptly with the Act of Union in 1800. The depression was to last nearly two centuries, through the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849), Irish War of Independence, and neutrality emergency of the second world war, until the economic boom of the 1990s and 2000s. Today the city boasts a rich and growing multicultural population.

Luimneach originally referred to the general area along the banks of the Shannon Estuary, which was known as "Loch Luimnigh". The original pre-Viking and Viking era settlement on Kings Island was known in the annals as "Inis Sibhtonn". This island was also called "Inis an Ghaill Duibh".

Early history

Limerick's early history is virtually undocumented, other than by the oral tradition, because the vikings were diligent in destroying Irish public records. William Camden wrote that the Irish had been zealous about their antiquity since the deluge and were ambitious to memorialise important events for posterity.Ferrar (1787), pp. 1–3] The earliest provable settlement dates from 812;Ferrar (1787), p. 4] however, history suggests the presence of earlier settlements in the area surrounding King's Island, the island at the historical city centre. Antiquity's map-maker, Ptolemy, produced in 150 the earliest map of Ireland, showing a place called "Regia" at the same site as King's Island. History also records an important battle involving Cormac mac Airt in 221 and a visit by St. Patrick in 434 to baptise a Eóganachta king, Carthann the Fair. [Spellissy, p. 98.] The name Luimneach dates from at least 561, and probably derives from "Loimeanach", meaning a bare marsh, [Spellissy, p. 18.] or the spot made bare by feeding horses.

Saint Munchin, the first bishop of Limerick died in 652, indicating the city was a place of some note. In 812 Danes sailed up the Shannon and pillaged the town, burned the monastery of Mungret but were forced to flee when the Irish attacked and killed many of their number.

Viking origins

The earliest record of vikings at Limerick is in 845, reported by the "Annals of Ulster", and there are intermittent reports of vikings in the region later in the 9th century. [Downham, pp. 13, 256 & 275; Ó Corráin, p. 92.] Permanent settlement on the site of modern Limerick had begun by 922. [Ó Corráin, p. 99; Wallace, p. 818.] In that year a Viking jarl called Tomrair mac Ailchi—Thórir Helgason—led the Limerick fleet on raids along the River Shannon, from the lake of Lough Derg to the lake of Lough Ree, pillaging ecclesiastical settlements. Two years later, the Dublin vikings led by Gofraid ua Ímair attacked Limerick, but were driven off. ["Annals of Ulster", s.a. 924; "Annals of Innisfallen", s.a. 924.] The war between Dublin and Limerick continued until 937 when the Dubliners, now led by Gofraid's son Amlaíb, destroyed Limerick's fleet and captured its king, Amlaíb Cenncairech, in a battle of Lough Ree. [Downham, pp. 35–42, 240–241, 243 & 274–275; Ó Corráin, pp. 98–99. Amlaíb Cenncairech, Olaf Scabbyhead, is not the first recorded king of viking Limerick as the death of Colla ua Báirid, king of Limerick, is reported in 932; Downham, p. 250.]

In 943 they were defeated again when the chief of the local Dál gCais joined with Cellachán, king of Munster. The vikings were defeated in a battle when they refused to surrender the city and both their commander, Amlave, and Moran, know as the "son to the King of Denmark", were killed, the Limerick Vikings were forced to pay tribute to the clans in gold and merchandise though they were allowed to keep possession of the city. [Ferrar (1787), pp. 6–7] Conditions flourished so much that the Danes were obliged to pay an annual tribute to Brian Boru in the extent of 365 tuns of claret while the Dublin Danes only paid 150 pipes of wine annually. [Ferrar (1787), p. 8] The power of these Norsemen never recovered, and they reduced to the level of a minor clan; however, they often played pivotal parts in the endless power struggles of the next few centuries.

Brian Boru's son, Donough, was routed by Diarmait mac Maíl na mBó in the year 1058 when Limerick was burned, a punishment he repeated five years later. A year later Diarmait beat Donough again forcing him to flee overseas and installing Turlough instead. [Ferrar (1787), p. 11] Obviously Limerick was of great importance as evidenced by being a contentious issue between neighbouring chieftains and foreigners who burned and pillaged the city.Ferrar (1787), pp. 11–12] Brian Boru's sons were usually called Kings of north Munster though their reigns were rather disturbed until 1164 when Donnchad mac Briain became King of Munster. His reign was successful, founding monasteries and nunneries, constructing several monuments, including a church on the Rock of Cashel, and in his grant bestowing his Limerick Gothic palace to the church he styled himself "King of Limerick". However the Danes were still a powerful force who were able to obtain four sequential Danish bishops concentrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury not subservient to the See of Cashel.

The arrival of the Normans to the area in 1173 changed everything. Domhnall Mór Ó Briain burned the City to the ground in 1174 in a bid to keep it from the hands of the new invaders. The Normans finally captured the area in 1195, under the future King John. In 1197, King Richard granted Limerick its first charter, and its first Mayor, Adam Sarvant, ten years before London. [Ffrench Blake- Forster (1782), [http://books.google.com/books?id=qMgBAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA169&lpg=PA169&dq=Adam+Sarvant&source=web&ots=fVOaWP-FBp&sig=rnk3QJ0GfSy6wIVcnDRjbA1YKEI&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result The Irish chieftains; or, A struggle for the crown] p. 169] A castle, built on the orders of King John and bearing his name, was completed around 1200. Under the general peace imposed by Norman rule, Limerick prospered as a port and trading centre. By this time the city was divided into an area which became known as "English Town" on King's Island surrounded by high walls, while another settlement, named "Irish Town", where the Irish and Danes lived, had grown on the south bank of the river. Around 1395 construction started on walls around Irishtown that were not completed until the end of the 15th century.Kemmy, (1987), p. 4]

The city opened a mint in 1467. A 1574 document prepared for the Spanish ambassador attests to its wealth:

"Limerick is stronger and more beautiful than all the other cities of Ireland, well walled with stout walls of hewn marble...there is no entrance except by stone bridges, one of the two of which has 14 arches, and the other 8 ... for the most part the houses are of square stone of black marble and built in the form of towers and fortresses."

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Limerick, in common with other major Irish towns, became a virtual city-state due to the breakdown of effective English rule throughout the country. Nevertheless, Limerick remained loyal to the Crown and conscious of its status as a Royal city, although the introduction of the Protestant Reformation created acute tensions between the citizens' conflicting allegiances to the Catholic Church and the Protestant English monarchy.

iege and treaty

Limerick was besieged several times in the 17th century. The first was in 1642, when the Irish Confederates took the King John's Castle from its English garrison. The city was besieged by Oliver Cromwell's army under Henry Ireton in 1651. The city had supported Confederate Ireland since 1642 and was garrisoned by troops from Ulster. The Confederates supported the claims of Charles II to the English throne, and the besiegers fought for a parliamentary republic. Famine and plague lead to the death of 5,000 residents before heavy bombardment of Irishtown led to breach and surrender in late October of that year.

In the Williamite war in Ireland, following the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, French and Irish forces (numbering 14,000) regrouped in behind Limerick's walls. Time and war had led to a terrible decay of the once proud fortifications. The occupying armies are recorded as claiming that the walls could be knocked down with rotten apples. The Williamite besiegers, while numbering 20,000, were hampered by the loss of their heavier guns to an attack by Patrick Sarsfield. In fierce fighting, the walls were breached on three occasions, but the defenders prevailed. Eventually the Williamites withdrew to Waterford.

William's forces returned in August 1691. Limerick was now the last stronghold of the Catholic Jacobites, under the command of Sarsfield. The promised French reinforcement failed to arrive from the sea, and following the massacre of 850 defenders on Thomond Bridge, the city sued for peace. On 3 October 1691 the famous Treaty of Limerick was signed using a large stone set in the bridge as a table. The treaty allowed the Jacobites to leave under full military honours and sail to France. Two days later French reinforcements finally arrived. Sarsfield was urged to continue the fight but refused, insisting on abiding by the terms of the treaty. Sarsfield sailed to France with 19,000 troops and formed the Irish Brigade (see also the Flight of the Wild Geese). After these forces had left the treaty was repudiated by the Williamites, for which the city became known as "The City of the Violated Treaty" [Laxton (1998), p. 184] and is a point of bitterness in the city to this day.

Great Irish Famine

While in 1695 the repressive penal laws were introduced that banned Catholics from public office, buying land, voting or practicing their religion in public, [Laxton (1998), pp. 20–21] Limerick's position as the main port on the western side of Ireland meant that the city, and the Protestant upper class, began to prosper. The British version of mercantilism required a great deal of trans-Atlantic trade, and Limerick profited somewhat by this. Many significant public buildings and infrastructure projects were paid for with local trade taxes. The House of Industry was built on northern bank of the river in 1774, in part as a poorhouse and infirmary. [cite book | last = Lewis | first = Samuel | title = Lewis's Topographical Directory of Ireland | publisher = Samuel Lewis | year = 1837 | location = | url = http://www.irish-architecture.com/buildings_ireland/limerick/limerick/lewis.html

] The development of Georgian Limerick was driven by Edmund Sexton Pery, speaker of the Irish House of Commons, and his name has been retained in the city centre; "New Town Pery". [Kemmy (1987), p. 5] Prey also built John's Square, while a basic sewer system was built in Newtownpery in the reign of George III by simply closing over the gutters. By the time of George's reign, Limerick had 17 gates in the city walls, most of whose names continue in modern city placenames. St. Joseph's Psychiatric Hospital was completed in the south-side by 1826. Wellesley Bridge (later, Sarsfield Bridge) and new wet docks were also built during this time. Chief imports through the port included timber, coal, iron and tar. Exports included beef, pork, wheat, oats, flour and emigrants bound for North America. Exports of food continued during the Great Famine, often requiring the deployment of troops to protect the port.

No statistics exist on how many people in the Limerick area died during the famine. Nationally, the population declined by an average of 20%, half of whom died and half emigrated. While the Great Famine reduced the population of County Limerick by 70,000, the population of the City actually rose slightly, as people fled to the workhouses.

Ships berthed on the Limerick quaysides ready to transport produce from one of the most fertile parts of Ireland, the Golden Vale, to the English ports.Laxton (1998), pps. 185–187] Francis Spaight, a Limerick merchant, farmer, British magistrate and ship owner, recorded 386,909 barrels of oats, and 46,288 barrels of wheat being shipped out of Limerick between June 1846 and May 1847. Giving evidence to a British parliament select committee inquiring into the famine, Spaight said that:

The same quaysides were the departure point for many emigrant ships sailing over the Atlantic. One week in April 1850 saw four ships, "Marie Brennan", "Congress", "Triumph", an 1849 Youghal built ship, and "Hannah", the smallest emigrant ship, glide down the Shannon towards the Americas. The latter three ship had 357 people aboard mostly comprising young men and women, depriving Ireland of their vigour and prosperity which they would bring to other nations instead. The "Hannah" at 59 feet long could barely hold the 60 passengers and eight crew, yet made eight trans-Atlantic voyages. [Laxton (1998), pps. 182, 187–188]

Pogrom

Census returns record one Jew in Limerick in 1861. This doubled by 1871 and doubled again by 1881. Increases to 35, 90 and 130 are shown for 1888, 1892, and 1896 respectively. [Keogh (1998), p. 11] Having fled from persecution in Lithuania, a small number of Jewish tradespeople began arriving in Limerick in 1878. They initially formed an accepted part of the city's retail trade, centred on Collooney St. [Keogh (1998), p. 31] The community established a synagogue and a cemetery in the 1880s. Easter Sunday of 1884 saw the first of what were to be a series of sporadic violent antisemitic attacks and protests. The wife of Lieb Siev and his child were injured by stones and her house damaged by an angry crowd for which the ringleaders were sentenced to hard labour for a month.Keogh (1998), p. 19] In 1892 two families were beaten and a stoning took place on November 24, 1896. Many details about Limerick's Jewish families are recorded in the 1901 census that shows most were peddlers, though a few were described as drapery dealers and grocers.Keogh (1998), pps. 12–14]

In 1904 a young Catholic priest, Father John Creagh, of the Redemptorist order, delivered a fiery sermon castigating Jews for their rejection of Christ, being usurersKeogh (1998), pps. 26–30] and allies of the Freemasons then persecuting the Church in France, taking over the local economy, selling shoddy goods at inflated prices, to be paid for in installments. He urged Catholics "not to deal with the Jews." Later, after eighty Jews had been driven from their homes, Creagh was disowned by his superiors saying that: "religious persecution had no place in Ireland." [Fisk, (1985), p. 430–431] The Limerick Pogrom was the economic boycott waged against the small Jewish community for over two years. Keogh suggests the name derives from their previous Lithuanian experience even though no one was killed or seriously injured. Limerick's Protestant community, many of whom were also traders, supported the Jews throughout the pogrom, but ultimately Limerick's Jews fled the city. ["Shalom Ireland: a Social History of Jews in Modern Ireland" by Ray Rivlin, ISBN 0-7171-3634-5, published by Gill & MacMillan]

Many went to Cork, intending to embark on ships from Cobh to travel to America. The people of Cork welcomed them into their homes. Church halls were opened for the refugees, many of whom remained. Gerald Goldberg, a son of this migration, became Lord Mayor of Cork in 1977, [cite web | title = Provosts, Mayors and Lord Mayors of Cork | publisher = Cork County Council | url = http://www.corkcorp.ie/citycouncil/mayorsofcork/ | accessdate = 2008-08-05 ] and the Marcus brothers, David and Louis, grandchildren of the pogrom, would become hugely influential in Irish literature and Irish film, respectively. [cite web | last = Raferty | first = John | title = Oughtobiography by David Marcus | publisher = RTÉ | date = 2001-09-27 | url = http://www.rte.ie/arts/2001/0927/oughtobiography.html | accessdate = 2008-08-05 ] [cite web | last = de Valera | first = Síle | authorlink = Síle de Valera | title = Louis Marcus resigns as Film Board Chairman | work = Press Release | publisher = Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism (Ireland) 1999-11-03 | date = | url = http://www.arts-sport-tourism.gov.ie/publications/release.asp?ID=558 | accessdate = 2008-08-05 ]

truggle for independence

The IRA and the independence movement of Sinn Féin gained popular support in Limerick following the repressions and executions of 1916. Royal Irish Constabulary carried out violent raids on the homes of suspected Sinn Féin sympathisers. Prisoners were interned without trial in Frongoch camp in North Wales. Following the arrest and death of Robert Byrne, a local republican and trade unionist, most of Limerick city and a part of the county were declared a "Special Military Area under the Defence of the Realm Act". Special permits, to be issued by the RIC, would now be required to enter the city. In response, the Limerick Trades and Labour Council called for a general strike and boycott of the troops. A special strike committee was set up to print their own money and control food prices. "The Irish Times" referred to this committee as a Limerick Soviet; [cite web | last = O'Connell | first = Aileen | title = The Limerick Soviet of 1919 | publisher = Workers Solidarity Movement | date = 2007-11-16 | url = http://www.wsm.ie/news_viewer/3144 | accessdate = 2008-07-15 ] however, the high degree of involvement of the Catholic Church shows that it was in fact quite different from the recent Bolshevik uprising. An American army officer arriving in Limerick had to appear before the permits committee in order to get a lift to visit relatives outside Limerick, following which he said,:"I guess it is some puzzle to know who rules these parts. You have to get a military permit to get in and be brought before a committee to get a permit to leave."After 14 days the strike ended with a compromise on the permits issue.

Open conflict erupted on Roches Street in April 1920 between the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the general population, involving bayonets on the one side and stones and bottles on the other. The troops fired indiscriminately, killing a publican and an usherette from the Coliseum Cinema. The British Government organised a new force to quell the population. The Black and Tans, known as "the sweepings of English jails", were formed of ex-servicemen. On the night of March 6, 1921, Limerick's Mayor, George Clancy, and his wife were shot in their home by three Tans. On the same night the previous Mayor, Michael O'Callaghan, was shot in similar circumstances. [Citation | title = Mayor of Limeick is Shot Dead in Bed | newspaper = New York Times | date = 1921-03-08 | url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9407E2DA133CE533A2575BC0A9659C946095D6CF | page = p. 1 | accessdate=2008-07-15 ] These assassinations became known as the Curfew Murders. IRA reprisals included the unsuccessful attack on six RIC men leaving a pub on Mungret Street and the murder of a Black and Tan on Church Street. A truce between the IRA and the British forces came into effect on July 9, 1921.

Free State

On December 5, 1921 Eamon de Valera gave a speech (in what is now Jury's Hotel on the Ennis Road) cautioning against optimism in the peace process. A few hours later in London, Michael Collins signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty, granting limited independence to the southern portion of Ireland as the Irish Free State, while retaining Ulster. The treaty also gifted the ports of Berehaven, Cobh and Lough Swilly to the United Kingdom as UK sovereign bases, while annuities would continue to be paid to the British government in lieu of money loaned to Irish tenants under various land acts. De Valera and others virulently opposed the treaty's compromises. The scene was set for the civil war.

In Limerick, the first signs of trouble came when the British forces withdrew early in the New Year. Three separate Irish factions rushed in to fill the vacuum: The pro-Treaty Claremen of the First-Western Division under General Michael Brennan, who was asked by the new Free-State government to occupy the city because of doubts about the loyalty of Liam Forde's Mid-Limerick Brigade. In the event the Brigade split into pro- and anti-Treaty factions, the latter lead by Forde. William St. became a battle zone by 7 p.m. on 11 July 1921, when the Free Staters opened fire on the Republican garrison holding the Ordnance Barracks. In the chaos, Roches Stores, which still stands on Sarsfield St, was looted. On 17 July, Eoin O'Duffy arrived in the city as part of a nationwide offensive, in command of 1,500 Free State reinforcements equipped with artillery. The Free Staters brought up an 18-pounder gun on the 19th and flattened the Ordnance Barracks. The Castle Barracks was captured the following day. The Republicans then abandoned the city. Limerick Prison, designed to hold 120, contained 800 prisoners by November. [Younger (1979), pps. 449–450] The Civil War ended the following May in victory for the Free State. De Valera and the Republicans would refuse take their seats in the new Dáil Éireann until 1927.

The Free State government set about rebuilding the county in the spirit of the times, with grand plans and schemes. The Shannon Scheme, the plan to build a Hydroelectric power station utilising the energy of Ireland's largest river, was begun in 1925. The German electric company Siemens-Schuckertwerke (today Siemens AG) was awarded the 5.2 million pound contract, providing employment for 750 people. The Electricity Supply Board set up to manage the project gradually oversaw the electrification of rural Ireland.

The Emergency

Almost from the moment that de Valera and his new Fianna Fáil party were elected in 1932, Ireland was plunged into a series of "emergencies". De Valera fulfilled an election promise to suspend the payment of land annuities to Britain, and Britain retaliated by raising import duties on agricultural products to 40%. De Valera swept through the Dáil the "Emergency Imposition of Duties order" imposing reciprocal taxes. Economic War had begun.

Limerick's farm-based economy was reduced to a state of barter. This was the period during which Ireland's interventionist, control economic style was developed. The Laissez-faireism of the 1920s was abandoned in the face of skyrocketing unemployment, poverty and emigration. The state set up non-agricultural industries such as Turf Development Board (Later Bord na Móna) and Aer Rianta (airports authority). In 1935 Charles Lindbergh was consulted on the building of an airport on the Shannon Estuary at Rineanna (later renamed Shannon Airport),cite news | last = Clarity | first = James F. | title = Shannon Journal; At Portal to Ireland, Fewer Heaven-Sent Tourists | work = | pages = | publisher = New York Times | date = 1993-11-16 | url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE7D71230F935A25752C1A965958260 | accessdate = 2008-08-13] and in 1937 Foynes was developed as a stopping point on the flying boat route across the Atlantic. During this time, the de Valera government introduced several "emergency" laws to suppress the IRA and General Eoin O'Duffy's fascist Blueshirt army.

This first "Emergency" ended in 1938 with the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement, when Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy allowed a climb down. The UK would end economic sanctions and return the treaty ports in exchange for a once-off payment of £10m.

The following year, the outbreak of World War II forced the introduction of the Emergency Powers Act 1939 to control communications, media, prices and imports. Ireland, with no native merchant fleet, and no coal, gas, or oil supplies faced hard times indeed. An army officer named Captain McKenna described it as the day "Realisation dawned on Ireland that the country was surrounded by water, and that the sea was of vital importance to her"." [Gray (1997), p. 33] Towards the end of the war, shortages of rubber and petrol particularly ended all non-emergency motorised transport, including rail, to and within the city. Lord Adare restarted a four-horse stagecoach route to his hotel in Co. Limerick, a sight not seen since the 19th century. [Gray (1997), p. 189]

The army was expanded massively to over 300,000 in preparation for the expected invasion by either Germany, attempting a stepping-stone approach to the invasion of Britain, or Britain herself, seeking use of the ports. Knockalisheen barracks (later Knockalisheen Refugee Camp) was built near Limerick at Meelick to house the new defence forces.

Post war

The economy of the Limerick area was largely neglected in the post war period and the city and county became characterised by extremely high emigration and unemployment. With the exception of Shannon Airport and a few related businesses and a few clothing factories, Limerick had no industry. The economy was based on farming and services, fueled in no insignificant part by remittances from the extensive diaspora. A few of the many who left became successful abroad, including the actor Richard Harris, [cite news|title=Harris was one of the most outstanding film stars of his time|pages=|publisher=Irish Independent|date=2002-10-27|url=http://www.independent.ie/national-news/harris-was-one-of-the-most--outstanding-film-stars-of-his-time-504644.html|accessdate=2008-07-15] the BBC presenter Terry Wogan, [cite web | author=Sheridan, Anne | title=Wogan's message to city | work=Limerick Leader | date=September 8 2006 | url=http://www.limerickleader.ie/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=3419&ArticleID=1752799 | accessdate = 2008-07-15 ] and the school teacher turned memoirist, Frank McCourt.

Limerick also had a few famous visitors during this time. In 1963 Irish-American US President John F. Kennedy visited Limerick as part of his tour of Ireland. [cite web | title = A Journey Home: John F. Kennedy in Ireland | work = Past Exhibits | publisher = John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum | url = http://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK+Library+and+Museum/Visit+the+Library+and+Museum/Museum+Exhibits/JFK+in+Ireland+Exhibit.htm?active=past_exhibits | accessdate = 2008-07-15] He was presented with a locally produced christening robe made of Limerick Lace. From 1956, about 500 Hungarian refugees were housed in Knockalisheen, near Meelick a few kilometers from the city, following the failed uprising in their country. [cite web | title = Achievements of the Irish Red Cross | publisher = Irish Red Cross | url = http://www.redcross.ie/about_us__1/irish_red_cross/achievements | accessdate = 2008-07-15 ] A few settled, but the majority moved on within a few years to new lives in the UK and North America due to the bad economic situation in Limerick.

Shannon airport also attracted a varied crowd. At this time nearly all transatlantic flights stopped at the airport, the most westerly in Europe, to refuel. Irish Times journalist Arthur Quinlan who was based at Shannon boasts at having interviewed every US president from Harry Truman to George H. W. Bush and many Soviet leaders, including Andrey Vyshinsky and Andrei Gromyko. He also famously taught Fidel Castro how to make an Irish coffeecite web | title = The Night Che Guevara came to Limerick | publisher = The Scotsman | date = 2003-12-28 | url = http://living.scotsman.com/features/The-night-Che-Guevara-came.2490207.jp | accessdate = 2008-07-15 ] and interviewed Che Guevara. On March 13, 1965, Guevara suddenly arrived at the airport when his flight from Prague to Cuba developed mechanical problems, and Quinlan was on hand to interview him. Guevara talked of his Irish connections through the name Lynch and of his grandmother's Irish roots in Galway. Later, Che, and some of his Cuban comrades, went to Limerick city and adjourned to the Hanratty's Hotel on Glentworth Street. According to Quinlan, they returned that evening all wearing sprigs of shamrock, for Shannon and Limerick were preparing for the St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

In 1968, the government published the Buchanan Report on the regional dimension to economic planning which had largely been ignored. The report recommended on the social and economic sustainability of industry in the regions, which gradually lead to investment and improvement in the Limerick area.

Celtic Tiger

The seemingly sudden economic growth of the 1990s, termed the "Celtic Tiger", making Ireland one of the richest countries in the world, had deep foundations stretching back through the 1980s and 1970s. Shipping in Shannon estuary was developed extensively during the period with over 2bn pounds investment. A tanker terminal at Foynes and an oil jetty at Shannon Airport were built. In 1982 a massive Alumina Extraction Plant was built at Aughinish. 60,000-ton cargo vessels now carry raw bauxite from West African mines to the plant, where it is refined to alumina. This is then exported to Canada where it is further refined to aluminium. 1985 saw the opening of a huge power plant at Moneypoint, fed by regular visits by 150,000-tonne tankers. European Economic Community funding was poured into infrastructure. Industrial estates at Raheen and Plassey (Castletroy), and energetic government intervention, brought in numerous foreign firms, notably Analog Devices, Wang Laboratories and Dell Computers. A science and engineering focused third-level college called "NIHE, Limerick", elevated since 1992 to university status as the University of Limerick, and the establishment of Limerick Institute of Technology, furthered the area's reputation as Ireland's Silicon Valley. Thomond College of Education, Limerick was a successful teacher training college and was integrated into the university in 1991.

In 1996 the city had a brief moment of world attention when the Irish writer Frank McCourt published "Angela's Ashes" for which he won the Pulitzer prize. The book tells of the author's childhood in a rundown and dirty slum of the 1930s and 40s and in 1999 was made into a feature film. The slums spoken of in the book had long since been removed, and local people were embarrassed by the sudden unflattering discussion of the city. When McCourt wrote the book's sequel, "'Tis", it was answered with the locally written "Tisn't", which painted a better face on the city.

The appearance of the city has been undergoing a gradual face-lift: two new bridges over the Shannon, and soon a tunnel to complete the orbital road; many of the older buildings have been replaced, some controversially such as the ancient Cruises Hotel (see Architecture of Limerick). City architect, Jim Brown, led the way in turning Limerick around to face the river. Ireland's third tallest building, the 58 m Riverpoint, completed in 2006, near Steamboat Quay, an area of fashionable restaurants overlooking the Shannon. The new wealth not only halted the high levels of emigration chronic through the 1980s, but led to the first large-scale immigration for centuries. The City now boasts a Russian delicatessen, a Chinese supermarket and several South Asian, African and Caribbean food shops. Near the Crescent Shopping Centre, and down the road from the Mormon church, is Limerick's first Mosque.

Footnotes

References

* [http://www.limerickcity.ie/Library/ Limerick City Library]
* Cahill, Liam, "Forgotten Revolution: Limerick Soviet, 1919 - A Threat to British Power", Dublin: O'Brien Press, 1990. ISBN 0862781949
* Downham, Clare, "Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to A.D. 1014.", Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press, 2007. ISBN 1-903765-89-0
* Ferrar, John, " [http://books.google.com/books?id=0YY2AAAAMAAJ The History of Limerick] ", Limerick: A Watson & Co., 1787.
* Fisk, Robert, "In Time of War", Paladin: London, 1985. ISBN 0-586-08498-3
* Gray, Tony, "The Lost Years, The Emergency in Ireland 1939–45", London: Little Brown, 1997. ISBN 0316881899
* Kemmy Jim, " [http://www.limerick.ie/media/Media,4010,en.pdf An Introduction of Limerick History] " The Old Limerick Journal, Vol. 22, Christmas 1987.
* Keogh Dermot, " [http://books.google.com/books?id=ae1vo477tVgC&printsec=frontcover Jews in Twentieth-Century Ireland] ", Cork; Cork University Press, 1998. ISBN 1-859-18150-3
* Laxton, Edward, "The Famine Ships: The Irish Exodus to America", New York: Henry Hold & Co, 1998. ISBN 0805058443
* McCourt Frank, "", London: Harper Collins, 1996. ISBN 0002254433
* Ó Corráin, Donnchadh, "Ireland, Wales, Man and the Hebrides" in Peter Sawyer (ed.), "The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings", pp. 83–109. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-19-285434-8
* Potter, Matthew, "The Government and the People of Limerick. The History of Limerick Corporation/City Council 1197–2006", Limerick: Limerick County Council, 2006. ISBN 0905700139
* Potter, Matthew, "First Citizens of the Treaty City. The Mayors and Mayoralty of Limerick 1197-2007", Limerick: Limerick County Council, 2007. ISBN 0905700163
* Spellissy, Sean, "The History of Limerick City", Limerick: Celtic Bookshop, 1998. ISBN 0953468305
* Wallace, Patrick F., "The archaeology of Ireland's Viking-age towns" in Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (ed.), "Prehistoric and early Ireland: A New History of Ireland, volume I", pp. 814–841. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-19-022885-8
* Wiggins, Kenneth, "Anatomy of a Siege: King John's Castle, Limerick", Bray, Co. Wicklow: Wordwell, 2000. ISBN 1869857372
* Younger, Calton, "Ireland's Civil War", Glasgow: Fontana Paperbacks, 1982. ISBN 0006356672

External links

* [http://www.limericksoviet.com The Limerick Soviet, 1919 Online edition of Liam Cahill's excellent book]
* [http://uk.holidaysguide.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-96874-limerick_history-i Yahoo Holiday's Guide - Limerick History]
* [http://www.limerickslife.com Local History and Folklore of Limerick city]
* [http://members.tripod.com/Preachan/limerick1.html A Brief History of Limerick]
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/limerick/ Images of Limerick from Flickr]


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