Mayoral Robe presented to Limerick Museum

Published Tuesday 3rd June 2014

In one of her final duties as Mayor of Limerick, Cllr. Kathleen Leddin today (Tuesday) presented her Mayoral Robe to Limerick Museum and Archives in the former Franciscan Church - set to become the Museum’s new home.

The Mayoral Robe will be preserved by Limerick Museum and Archives and displayed among other rare items in the city’s history including a Mace Bearer's uniform and a Civic Sword- regarded as one of the oldest in the country having been bequeathed to Limerick by Queen Elizabeth I.

Limerick City and County Council is in discussions to finalise the details on the lease of the Franciscan Church for use as a museum and it is planned to move Limerick Museum and Archives to the new premises. The Museum holds comprehensive collections relating to Limerick and the Franciscan Church will allow the Museum and Archives to showcase the collections which range from Limerick Lace to the history of the Independence Movement.

Outgoing Mayor of Limerick Cllr. Kathleen Leddin said: "During my final week as a public representative before I retire from politics, I am deeply honoured to have been able to serve as the First Citizen of my home city and as Mayor of Limerick. The Museum’s collections are a mirror to Limerick's social and economic past and are a treasure for the people of Limerick and its visitors. I’m delighted that the Mayoral Robe will now take its place among these wonderful heirlooms from our past.”

She added: "As the 800-year story of one of the oldest local authorities in Ireland comes to an end, a new chapter begins in the story of one of the largest local authorities in the State. I believe the new Council is well placed to play a leading role in the economic development of Limerick City and County for many years to come."

From the thirteenth century, the Mayor and Council of Limerick were viewed as being like a local King and Parliament. The Mayor wore robes, carried a wand and was addressed as ‘Your Worship’.

Robes and regalia were in daily use but later evolved into ceremonial items. In the fifteenth century, wealthy European gentlemen wore a long robe called the Houppelande. It had hanging sleeves, a hood and fur trimmings. This survives in fossilised form as the academic, legal and municipal robes. By the 1550s, members of Limerick City Council always wore similar red robes. The Mayor’s Sergeants, Constables, the Sheriffs’ Bailiffs and the sword- bearer also wore ceremonial costumes.

In recent times, the Mayor and members of Limerick City Council would 'robe' for formal events such as Civic Receptions, Freedom of the City awards and for some funerals. The City Manager would also 'robe'.

This Friday sees the first meeting of the newly established Limerick City and County Council, a new political and administrative structure that has been created as a result of the merging of Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council. Councillors of the newly merged authority will not wear robes.

Limerick Museum Curator Brian Hodkinson said Limerick City and County Council wishes to contribute to the cultural and civic life of Limerick and it is planned that the new Museum and Archive will enrich Limerick’s cultural infrastructure.

“When we move to the Franciscan Church, the fantastic collection of lace for example will then be possible to view and enjoy properly. The history of the city and the identity of Limerick is held by the Museum and Archives and the local authority is determined to display these historical treasures in an accessible location.

In the coming months, we look forward to relocating to our prime location in the city with a view to further promoting the rich history and heritage of Limerick."

Last update:03/06/2014