Diocesan Archives

Limerick Diocesan Archives

The majority of the holdings of Limerick Diocesan Archives date from the end of the nineteenth century and fairly typify Irish diocesan collections. The fourteenth-century Black Book of Limerick, a unique link with the medieval church, formed the basis of a reconstituted archive for the diocese in the early nineteenth century.

Instrumental in this development is 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 Office, Social Services Centre, Henry St., Limerick.

Tel: 061-315856 Fax: 061-310186 Email: david@ldo.ie

Search for (please click on the word/phrase you are interested in):

A guide to the diocese of Limerick

A guide to Limerick genealogy

A guide to LDA archival holdings

Genealogy; access to parish registers

Baptismal and Marriage registers are held in individual parishes and not in a central repository. For conservation reasons, direct access to the registers is reserved to parish personnel. While parish staff make every effort to faciltate researchers, they are unable to prioritise queries. Access extends to entries up to and including 1916.

Catholic parish registers: from the National Library of Ireland, microfilms of parish registers pre 1880. No indexes available.

Irish Family History Foundation or Roots.ie provides a gateway to Irish ancestry, roots, genealogy and family history from anywhere in Ireland with access to church records pre 1900 and significantly indexes of baptisms and marriages.

Limerick Genealogy, the Irish Family History Foundation's designated centre for Limerick city and county, provides a professional genealogical service to researchers. Find below, a list of sites as an aid to research.

Where to begin?

Irish Genealogy: exploring your Irish family history step-by-step. Also civil registration indexes including births to 1913, marriages to 1938 and deaths to 1963.

National Archives of Ireland: a guide to resources for researching the family tree.

Cenus, property valuation, civil registration and other sources

Census of Ireland 1901 and 1911

Griffith’s Valuation, the primary valuation of Ireland provides information on where people lived in the nineteenth century. See also www.irishorigins.com

Ireland, Civil Registration indexes, 1845-1958; these include births registered between 1864 and 1958; marriages, 1845-1958; deaths 1864-1958. The indexes are also available at Irish Genealogy. A helpful guide to Irish civil registration districts for anyone uses these indexes is available here. Certificates of births, marriages and deaths are available at Groireland.ie

Tithe applotment books 1823-37; compiled to determine the amount which occupiers of agricultural holdings over one acre should pay to the Church of Ireland.

Wills: Calendars and administration of wills, 1858-1920 and Soldiers wills 1914-17

Looking in Limerick

County Limerick Genealogy: Limerick maps and townlands.

Limerick Archives: with an online collections database, notably Mount St Lawrence Burial Ground registers, 1855 - 2008; Mount St Lawrence, New Extension, February 1960 - April 2010; Mount St Oliver Burial Ground registers February 1960 - April 1998.

Limerick City Library: Local Studies, an extensive online collection of Limerick-related materials.

Limerick City and County Museum

Mount St Lawrence Cemetery Project: the cemetery was the primary place of burial in Limerick for all strata of society and burial records date from March 1855.

Limerick Genealogy: the Irish Family History Foundation's designated centre for Limerick city and county provides a full and professional research service. Initial correspondence usually receives a reply within two weeks. Church records to which Limerick Genealogy has access include: Catholic parish records, the earliest of which date from 1745, Church of Ireland records dating from 1692, Presbyterian records from 1828 and Methodist records from 1824.

Limerick's Life: Limerick local history site, including a helpful introduction to a variety of sources for the study of family history. How to trace your Limerick family history.

University of Limerick Special Collections Library: the Leonard collection of books on Limerick city and county is of particular interest.

Looking in Ireland; Irish archives

Irish Archives Resource contains information about archival collections open for public research in Ireland. Its purpose is to aid researchers in finding collections relevant to their studies.

Learn About Archives in Ireland: a practical information service on archival material and archives in Ireland.

The Irish Archives: an internet based family history research tool with links to a cross section of sources.

Other helpful sources

Duchas.ie is a project to digitise the National Folklore Collection of Ireland. Material from nine counties in the schools collection, including County Limerick is now available.

Historic Graves: a community based heritage project which digitally records and publishes historic graveyard surveys and stories.

Ordnance Survey of Ireland: interactive site which allows users to explore historic and contemporary maps

Placenames database of Ireland