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Rediscovery of the Limerick Chronicle of 1768

The Special Collections Department of the Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick is delighted to announce the rediscovery of the earliest editions of the Limerick Chronicle newspaper.

The library recently acquired 96 copies of the very first issues of this important eighteenth century Limerick newspaper. The papers were bound together in a quarter leather binding with covers in blue cloth. The binding is of a later vintage but it has protected the papers over time. The condition of the papers is very good considering that newspapers generally do not survive as well as printed books.

Unfortunately the volume does not contain the very first issue of the Limerick Chronicle. The UL papers begin with Vol.1, No.2, which is dated Monday 15th August 1768. It is fair to assume that the very first issue of the Chronicle was issued on Thursday 11th August 1768. The Chronicle was published twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays. The last issue in the UL volume is Vol. 2, No.127, dated Thursday 26th October 1769. It is remarkable that the title continues to be published up to the present time by the Limerick Leader.

The Limerick Chronicle of 1768 was printed and edited by John Ferrar who was a prominent bookseller and printer in Limerick. He was also responsible for the first published history of Limerick which he brought out in three editions between 1767 and 1787. Copies of these editions as well as other Ferrar printings are in Fr. John Leonard’s Limerick collection at the University Library.

These unique issues of the Limerick Chronicle will be added to the Limerick collection established by Fr. John Leonard P.P. Frank McCourt sponsored the purchase of the Leonard Collection in 2003, in memory of his mother Angela. The Limerick Chronicle is a welcome addition to this comprehensive collection of Limerick printing and manuscripts.

Commenting on the acquisition, Gobnait O’Riordan, Director of the Glucksman Library, University of Limerick said:

“The University Library is privileged to house these unique newspapers. They will help historians to reconstruct the events of 18th century Limerick and provide an important insight into Limerick history and heritage.”

She added that the collection will prove to be an important resource for the growing number of UL students who are researching local history.

It is rare to find such a run of eighteenth century Irish regional newspapers in private ownership and the Glucksman Library intends to make these papers available to researchers in due course. The rediscovery of the 1768 Limerick Chronicle will in time provide scholars and local historians with an economic and social snapshot of Limerick in that period. It will also contribute to the study and history of newspapers and printing in eighteenth century Ireland and the University of Limerick is proud to have acquired these newspapers for Limerick.

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