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Dr Paul O’Brien pictured above and William Banks are putting together the ultimate guide to Limerick pubs over the last two centuries Dr Paul O’Brien pictured above and William Banks are putting together the ultimate guide to Limerick pubs over the last two centuries

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New book detailing history of Limerick City pubs will raise funds for Down Syndrome Limerick

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Taprooms, Taverns & Alehouses: Limerick City Pubs, ca.1850-2024 is a highly illustrated and detailed account of the pub trade in Limerick City over near 200 years and will see all proceeds go directly to Down Syndrome Limerick. Photo: Deirdre Power

Taprooms, Taverns & Alehouses: Limerick City Pubs, ca.1850-2024 by Will Banks and Paul O’Brien will see all proceeds go directly to Down Syndrome Limerick

Dr Paul O’Brien pictured above and William Banks are putting together the ultimate guide to Limerick pubs over the last two centuries
Dr Paul O’Brien pictured above and William Banks are putting together the ultimate guide to Limerick pubs over the last two centuries. Photo: Deirdre Power

Taprooms, Taverns & Alehouses: Limerick City Pubs, ca.1850-2024 by Will Banks and Paul O’Brien is a highly illustrated and detailed account of the pub trade in Limerick City over near 200 years

William Banks and Mary Immaculate College academic Dr Paul O’Brien are putting together the ultimate guide to Limerick pubs over the last two centuries.

They have researched over 1,000 pubs and publicans who traded in the city since about 1850. Over that period, they estimate that over 50% of pub licences were held by women. They even know the names of some publicans who were trading in the 1760s.


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Something which struck the pair was the stark realisation that at least 110 pubs in the city have closed since the early 1970s. These histories need to be captured and preserved and this is exactly what the authors achieved in this publication.

The idea for this book was born during lockdown while Will Banks his father, Eddie, 85, reminisced about visiting pubs, which at the time seemed such a long way away. Will Banks says ‘We 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. When we did that, we realised between us we were in 95% of them.’ It has taken three years and countless hours of research to put together the tome.

Dr O’Brien’s late aunt, Rita Gilheany was born in 1944 with Down Syndrome, this was a time in Ireland when there were many pubs across every county but the country lacked understanding and recognition of people with Down Syndrome not to mind services and supports for families.

Michelle Coughlan, Chairperson Down Syndrome Limerick said, “In Down Syndrome Limerick we want to create a world where our family members with Down Syndrome can participate, develop, thrive and impact the world in which we live.”

Down Syndrome Limerick, is a charity, based in Limerick that provides services and supports to children and adults with Down syndrome and their families.  They provide therapies like Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy as well as third level education programmes for the adult members which assists them in gaining meaningful employment.

They also host a range of social events and activities for their members. The charity is managed by family members and parents who are all volunteers, who are trying to inspire their members to realise their ambitions and follow their dreams.

Traditionally seeing a person with Down Syndrome supping a pint on a high stool in the local pub would not have been the norm, time and perspective has allowed us to challenge those stereotypes. People with Down Syndrome enjoy the craic and the banter of the pub scene in Ireland, they love a good party and many enjoy a nice pint or even a drop of brandy.

This book is a combination of the authors skills and talent which complement each other so well, in honouring nostalgia, while creating this unique historic reflection of Limerick city pubs through the decades.

Michelle Coughlan said, “These are the innovative projects that can make such a difference to our members and the services we provide in Down Syndrome Limerick.”

All proceeds from the book go directly to Down Syndrome Limerick.

Find out more about Down Syndrome Limerick here
Read more History stories here

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.