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Documentary treasures found in Limerick attic
Documentary treasures found in Limerick attic

21 Feb 2023 / ireland Print

Documentary treasures are found in Limerick attic

A haul of documents from a land agent has uncovered a valuable archive of land and estate maps, wills, leases and tenancies dating back four centuries in the greater Munster area.

The documentary treasure was found in the attic of a house in Limerick by Mary Immaculate College lecturer Dr Paul O'Brien, ecclesiastical decorator Randel Hodkinson, and Brendan Dennehy, who retrieved the old boxes of documents from a skip in the city 30 years ago and stored them carefully.

Land leases

The documents were connected to large landlord families in Limerick and Clare – the Verekers, Arthurs, Westrops, Newsoms O'Briens and MacDonnells and consisted of land leases, maps, letters, and lists of tenants dating back four centuries.

Dr O’Brien said: "It contains documents some dating back as far as 1670, and outlines the real lives and everyday business of the landlords, the merchants, and the tenants of those times.

"The list of tenants is of particular interest, because they were not listed by name in our history. Now we can see their names, their rents, and sometimes the eviction notices, as these were often the silent people in our historical records."

Maps of landlord estates date back to the 18th and 19th Centuries, before they were documented by the ordnance survey office.

Many of the documents relate to the 11th-century St Mary's Cathedral in the city.

The will of Alice Craven, from 1726, was found. She left all her worldly goods and funds to providing alms houses for widows and poor children.

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