Limerick Meeting House was the venue for the official launch of access to Limerick Meeting archives on-line on 12th January. They are now available via the Limerick City Council web site. This is the outcome of a project funded by Limerick City Council that involved placing all the records available on microfiche, in cooperation with the Quaker Historical Committee.
The collection contains the minutes of Limerick men’s and women’s Meetings. The minutes record discussions on travel, marriage, removals and correspondence from Friends in Ireland and abroad. Also included is a Record of Suffering 1777-1857, which records goods seized from Friends in lieu of tithes to the Established Church.
Other records include account books, notices of removals, records of Friends removed from the Society for improper behaviour, notices of Friends transferring from and to other Meetings and records of Quaker births, deaths and marriages. The Relief Committee minutes books record the decisions of the Relief Committee in relation to relief in Clare and Limerick during the Famine period. A sample quoted from 6 July 1847 is “We are directed to place at thy disposal five pounds, to be given on loan to assist the poor fishermen of Kilkee in repairing nets, boats…which we trust may be useful to them.” On the same day the committee also refused an application from the Guild of Weavers in Limerick City, writing that they “expect to be able to adopt such measures as will assist the destitute poor in parts of this City without reference to any particular class”.
The collection gives a great insight into the Quaker community in the Limerick area, documenting their births, deaths and marriages, their monthly meetings and their response to prevailing social and economic conditions. Records reach up as far as the 1950s.
In launching access to the web site Deputy Mayor of Limerick City Council, Maria Byrne, thanked the Society of Friends for giving access to the records. She said she felt the records had a very broad interest for those researching the history and families of Limerick. Hiram Wood, Limerick Meeting, and the inspiration behind the project, gave the collected gathering some snippets from his broad knowledge of the families and businesses referred to in the archives. He particularly welcomed them for the value of being able to search them at any time, and without having to thumb through valuable documents.