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Limerick Diocesan Archives

The fourteenth-century Black Book of Limerick, a unique link with the medieval church, formed the basis of a reconstituted archive for the diocese of Limerick in the early nineteenth century.

Click here for more information on the Black Book of Limerick

Instrumental in this development was Dr John Young, bishop of Limerick (1796-1813) who actively sought to preserve the patrimony and whose papers survive in some quantity, together with those of his predecessor, Dr Denis Conway (1779-96). Another significant eighteenth-century survival is the White Manuscript, comprising a folio of some 200 pages, annals of the diocese collated by Rev. James White (d.1768). In contrast, the collections of each of Young’s successors, Dr Charles Touhy (1814-28), Dr John Ryan (1828-64) and Dr George Butler (1864-86) are, unfortunately, very limited in scope.

The greater part of the archive was created after the 1950s, a period characterised by the expansion of diocesan services and the professionalisation of the administration, beginning with the episcopate of Henry Murphy (1958-73). However, the papers of several of Murphy’s predecessors, beginning with E. T. O’Dwyer (1886-1917), are very complete, as are those of Denis Hallinan (1918-23), David Keane (1924-45) and Patrick O’Neill (1946-58).

The O’Dwyer papers in particular betray an acute awareness of the written record and its significance. The collection refers to diverse areas of Irish life during the period, of interest to students of the Irish cultural revival, social and women’s history and the history of Limerick city and diocese in particular.

In the 1950s and after, the private papers of a number of Limerick clergy were acquired by the archive. Especially interesting is the collection of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Irish manuscripts formerly in the library of An Canónach Tomás de Bháll.

The Limerick Diocesan Archive seeks to preserve these records, making them available to the diocese, its people and to researchers as appropriate. Access to the archive is by appointment only.

Diocesan Archivist: David Bracken, BA, BD, MesL, MA

Address: Limerick Diocesan Centre, St Munchin’s, Corbally, Limerick, V94 925C

Tel: 061-350000 Email: david.bracken@limerickdiocese.org

A guide to LDA archival holdings