Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Stephen Keary, officially launched this invaluable on-line oral archive of stories of the River Shannon called the “Fisherman’s Tales”, last Friday (May 11) in the Council Chamber in Limerick City Hall.
MIC partners with Limerick City and County Council to record stories of the River Shannon
The River Shannon has, until recent years, provided a livelihood for fishermen, reed cutters and boat builders. In the Spring of 2017 Councillor Emmett O’Brien (Municipal District of Adare and Rathkeale) suggested that accounts of such livelihoods should be recorded while they were still within living memory.
Over three months, a partnership between Dr Maura Cronin, from the Department of History at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), Caroline Curley (Limerick City and County Council Services Directorate), and Jacqui Hayes (Limerick Archives) culminated in almost forty recorded interviews with fishermen and women, reed cutters and boat builders from the city itself, and from the river-side localities of Coonagh, Newtown and Askeaton. Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Stephen Keary, officially launched this invaluable on-line oral archive, called the “Fisherman’s Tales”, last Friday (May 11) in the Council Chamber in Limerick City Hall.
The participants that shared stories of the River Shannon were interviewed by Ruth Guiry and Sharon Slater – both of whom are well known in Limerick for their historical research – Ruth for her authorship of Pigtown, A History of Limerick’s Bacon Industry and Sharon for both her website, Limerick’s Life and her book, A stitch in time: A History of Limerick’s Clothing Factory. Ruth’s and Sharon’s interviews are preserved in both MIC’s Oral History Collection and the Fisherman’s Tales section of Limerick City and County Council’s new online Oral History Archive.
According to Dr. Cronin; “As in the case of previous oral history projects carried out by MIC and Limerick City and County Council (either singly or in partnership), the recording of these memories of working and social life on and near the River Shannon is invaluable. It allows us to celebrate the skills and experiences of ‘ordinary’ people; it helps today’s and tomorrow’s generations to understand the rhythms of a life now disappearing, and it provides the historians of the future with material which would otherwise be consigned to oblivion.
Limerick has been particularly fortunate in the type of partnership that has made these projects possible over the course of several years – a collaboration between local authorities, third-level institutions and – most importantly of all – local people who agreed to share their memories and stories.
The Creative Ireland funded short film, The Estuary was based on the groundwork laid by the oral history project carried out by MIC and Limerick City and County Council. A new project on memories of shops and shopping in Limerick City will start in May co-ordinated by Helene Bradley-Davies, from MIC’s Department of Geography and Dr. Maura Cronin from MIC’s Department of History and supported by Limerick City and County Council.
For more stories of the River Shannon click here
For more information on Mary Immaculate College click here