Thursday 23 February 2017

Snaps capture glimpses of a past long gone

Barry Duggan

It's all there in black and white: the War of Independence, the Civil War, Home Rule meetings, British soldiers parading in Sarsfield Barracks, and meetings of the Irish Volunteers.

A collection of historic images has gone on display in the Hunt Museum at Limerick's Custom House.

They were taken in the early 1900s by Franz Sebastian Haselbeck, a photographer of German descent whose ancestors moved to Limerick in the 19th Century.

His collection of original prints and negatives detailing events in Limerick and the mid-west has been carefully restored by his granddaughter, Patricia.

"He always had a great interest in photography and this would have begun from an early age. My grandfather lived from 1885 to 1973 and grew up in Limerick in Wolfe Tone Street where four generations of our family lived," Patricia said.

"I promised my father on his deathbed that his father's work would be shown on display," she said.

Some of Mr Haselbeck's work as a photographer was published in the Irish Independent in the 1920s and his granddaughter, along with her sons, Sean and Darragh, carefully kept all the original prints and negatives. Forty of his glass plate negatives went on display last night.

Meanwhile, former employees of Ranks Mills and their families gathered at Limerick City Council last night for an important donation to the authority's archive collection.

The collection of photographs and documents was carefully put together over 40 years by a former mills manager at Ranks, Cecil Mercier.

Mr Mercier worked in the region's milling industry for 43 years.

Limerick city archivist Jacqui Hayes said there has been a long tradition of milling in Limerick dating back to the 13th Century.

Irish Independent

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