History Project

Limerick City Council History Project


Dr Matthew Potter

Dr Matthew Potter is on secondment to the University Of Limerick.  Dr Matthew Potter holds the position of Co-ordinator of the Limerick City Council History Project and is based in the City Library in the Granary. He wrote a book entitled THE CHANGING FACES OF LIMERICK CORPORATION/CITY COUNCIL 1197-2004. This book is an interesting and comprehensive account of the municipal government of our city from the granting of the First Charter to the present day. It combines scholarly rigour and detachment with a popular flavour, which  gives it appeal to the specialist and to the general reader alike. Its lively text is accompanied by lavish and numerous illustrations.

The book examines the manner in which the Local Authority has interacted with the citizens of Limerick over many centuries. Western civilisation was the only one to develop a lasting indigenous democratic tradition and one significant aspect of this was the growth of self-government in European cities and towns in the Medieval period. The granting of Limerick's First Charter in the 1190s was part of this movement and our record of eight hundred years of almost continuous local government is among the oldest in Ireland. Thus Limerick's municipality is one of the most ancient institutions in the country exceeded in longevity only by the Christian Church. It is a proud history and one that deserves to be recounted.

This history will deal with the major milestones in the City's municipal history including the First Charter (1190s), the establishment of the Reformed Corporation (1841) the incorporation of Newtown Pery within the City boundary (1853) and the change of name to Limerick City Council (2002). However it is also the history of an institution that changed, adapted, developed, survived and flourished during many turbulent centuries of our nation's history. It is the story of the people who helped shape the City- the successive Mayors, City Managers and other officials who guided it through changing times. It is the story of those outstanding people who received the Freedom of Limerick.

It is also the chronicle of how the Local Authority impacted on the lives of the people of Limerick and how it helped shape the physical, social, political and cultural life of the City. Among the other topics to be covered will be the successive headquarter occupied by the Corporation from the Tholsel to the present City Hall, the development of the City Regalia, Mayoral chains, civic robes and other municipal treasures.

Such a comprehensive and authorative book, the first of its kind ever to be produced in Ireland, will improve Limerick's national image, foster local pride and enhance the profile of the Local Authority.


Dr. Matthew Potter is on secondment to the University Of Limerick. 
Co-ordinator,Limerick City ICT

Last update:23/07/2007