By Tom Donovan and Vincent Carmody
This book gives the story of Limerick merchants and traders in the nineteenth and twentieth century, illustrated with old billheads, invoices and photographs. Many of the merchant families are long forgotten and this book rekindles their memory. It is a journey across the years in Limerick, from before the Great Famine to 1960. Readers of this book will be transported back in time to an era when life was slower and not as easy as the one we have become accustomed to today.
This is not a history of Limerick, nor is it a comprehensive business guide. Every old invoice hints of an era that is long forgotten and the book will take the reader on a nostalgic journey down memory lane. In his foreword, J. P. McManus describes the book as ‘a depiction in word and in picture of bygone times that are superbly brought to life… which provides the reader with a window through which the past is vividly brought into the present. This book stands as a fitting testimony to a long and vibrant period of business and trade’ in Limerick. Shops like Todd’s, Newsom’s, Boyd’s and Cannock’s served all the mid-west and north Kerry. Transportation of heavy goods was by canal or down the Shannon Estuary where possible, as road transport was slower and less dependable. When these goods were sold to customers in Listowel they were taken by boat from Limerick to Tarbert and then transported by road on horse and cart. Coincidentally in one instance the drayman or carter was an ancestor of Vincent Carmody.
This is the third in a series of ‘Snapshot’ books initiated by Vincent Carmody. In 1989, Vincent published his first book North Kerry Camera, which is now a collector’s item. Vincent then published Listowel – Snapshots of an Irish Market Town, 1850-1950 in 2012. He then turned his attention to County Limerick and in 2017 he published Newcastle West In Close-Up…Snapshots of an Irish Provincial town, in association with Newcastle West Historical Society. The following year Vincent turned his attention back to Kerry with: Listowel, a Printer’s Legacy, which was the story of printing in North Kerry from 1870 to 1970. The first collection that Vincent gathered by were old invoices from Mrs Raymond of Dromin House, Listowel and Johanna Buckley, a Listowel publican. Luckily for Limerick people, both women did not always shop locally in Listowel.
The book would make a great Christmas present for a generation that lived through the golden era of the 1950s and 1960s and it will stir memories and conversation for the reader. It is available in all bookshops in Listowel and O’Mahony’s bookshops in Tralee and Limerick.