Burial Grounds

Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery


Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery Heritage Information Project

Launch by The Mayor.

Mayor Kevin Kiely officially launched the Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery Heritage Information Project on Friday, 18th June, 2010.

Twelve 'Information Headstones' were erected, leading from the main entrance into the cemetery, with information panels showing the history of the cemetery since its opening in 1849 and highlighting points of interest. A specially designed map shows how to locate graves, using the original alphanumeric system. The project provides a fascinating insight into the mortality rates of the time, the location of large plots and plots of historical interest such as that of the Bard of Limerick, former Mayors and the Republican Plot.

Mayor Kevin Kiely said that "This initiative is very appropriate as it reminds us of the history and heritage of the may generations of Limerick people who are laid to rest here.

This project builds on Limerick City Council's previous project to make cemetery records available on-line, which won an award for local government innovation.

A commerorative leaflet has also been published with information on Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery. THis is now available from the Cemeteries' Superintendent, Mr. Flan Haskett.

Notes:

  • Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery is 16 acres (6.47 hectares) in size and with a leper hospital, originally formed part of the larger mediaeval parish of St. Lawrence in the South Liberties of Limerick
  • Following the cholera epidemics in the 1830s and the Great Famine in the 1840s, new burial grounds were required in Limerick and the Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery was officially opened on 29th March, 1849.
  • Mount Saint LawrenceCemetery was the primary place of burial in Limerick for all strata of society, from the wealthy to the those who dies in the Lunatic Asylum and Workhouses. The more prominent families tended to be buried along the central path close to the chapel. The 'Poor Squares' were located at the top of the cemetery at the left hand corner and in the bottom right corner.
  • Burial Records date from March, 1855 and the Burial Register records that over 70,000 individuals have been interred in Mount Saint Lawrence, up to 2009. The oldest individual recorded in the register is Mary Keane of Thomondgate, buried on 24th January, 1880 at the age of 110!
  • The records show that the average life expectancy was 38 years, in the nineteenth century. They also confirm the high rates of infant and child mortality. In 1870, 42% of those who died when  were children. Little changed up to 1930 when the rate had fallen to 30%. However, over the following decade, the rate in Limerick dropped to 12% and by 1970, this had dropped to 8%.
  • The neo-Gothic chapel, built c. 1855 was designed as a mortuary chapel by local architects M. & S. Hennessy, who had also designed the spire of St. John's R.C. Cathedral. It was designed in Celtic and Gothic Revival styles with an 'art and craft' influenced interior.
  • The cemetery hosts some of the finest examples of funerary monuments of the nineteenth century, including the Manchester Martyrs Memorial. This was erected c. 1890 in memory of the 'Manchester Martyrs' - Allen, Larkin and O'Brien, who were executed in 1867. It was designed in the Celtic Revival style with a romanticised kneeling female figure representing Ireland, a Celtic Harp symbolising Irish freedom and a seated Irish Wolfhound.
  • The Cemetery Archives may be viewed online at www.limerick.ie/Archives/MountStLawrenceBurialGroundRegisters1855-2008/

For further information, Please contact the Cemeteries Department on (061) -407 190 or by e-mail at environ@limerickcity.ie

(pog 20100616)

Last update:16/06/2010

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