Launch of the Mount St. Laurence Register On-Line Database
Mayor of Limerick Kathleen Leddin last night officially launched an online, searchable database of 70,000 people buried at Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery. The first in a series of projects aimed at documenting the social history of Limerick through one of the country’s largest cemeteries has been completed.
The History Department of Mary Immaculate College, in conjunction with staff from Limerick City Archives, have spent the past two years manually transcribing thousands of handwritten records of those buried at Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery between 1855 and 2008. The records include the name, age, address and grave location of those buried in the 164-year-old cemetery.
Speaking at last night’s launch event at the Georgian House in Pery Square, Mayor Leddin acknowledged the work of Limerick City Archives and Mary Immaculate College in creating “a lasting and precious record of Limerick’s social history.”
“Our cemeteries and the stories surrounding those who are buried there contain vital links to our past and therefore, it is important that these stories and the final resting places of our citizens are documented. This project represents the first in a series of projects aimed at making it easier for members of the public, both at home and abroad, to locate information relating to their deceased relatives,” she added.
Mount St Lawrence graveyard, located in the South Liberties, has been the primary place of burial in Limerick City for all strata of society since its opening in 1849. Its development was initiated as burial ground capacity elsewhere in the city was placed under pressure following cholera epidemics in the 1830’s and the Great Famine in the 1840’s. An extension to Mount St Lawrence was opened in 1960. The management of the cemetery was transferred from the Church to the Limerick City Council in 1979.
Mount Saint Lawrence contains plots reserved for particular groups, including religious and diocesan graves and the Republican plot. One of the largest is the Good Shepherd Plot where 241 women who had passed through its reformatory for girls, industrial school and Magdalene asylum on Clare Street were buried. They were unmarked until a campaign resulted in the erection of markers listing by name the women interred there.
Also speaking at the launch was President of Mary Immaculate College, Prof. Michael A Hayes, who said;
“By participating in this joint research project, we are meeting the goals we set for ourselves in our Strategic Plan 2012-2016 where we aim to increase awareness of the College as integral to the community and part of the shared economic, social, cultural and civic capital. This is our second partnership with the Limerick City Archive (the first being the Ranks Mill’s project) and it is wonderful for our students from undergraduate to postdoctoral level to contribute to this research partnership and to enhance the connectivity of communities of practice locally, regionally, nationally and internationally”.
Commenting on the newly launched online database of burials at the cemetery, Jacqui Hayes, Limerick City Archivist, Limerick City Council, said:
“The records contain the names, addresses at time of death, ages, position of the grave and dates of death of all those buried in the cemetery. This information makes them an invaluable resource for those conducting genealogical research on the Limerick area. The records also offer a unique tool for those conducting research into the social history of Limerick and mortality rates for all ages in Limerick City and its environs for over a century and a half.”
Meanwhile, work is presently underway to develop a publicly-available online map of all burial plots at Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery. Students and academics from the Geography and History Departments of Mary Immaculate College are working together with Limerick City Archives on the project.
The online, searchable database may be viewed at www.limerick.ie/cityarchives.
Pictured at the recent launch of the Mount St. Laurence register on-line database were Jacqui Hayes, Limerick City Archivist Limerick City Archives, John Hayes, Cemeteries, Dr Maura Cronin Department of History Mary Immaculate College and Flan Haskett, Cemeteries Supervisor at Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery.