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Exhibition puts Limerick’s past in the frame

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Car accident at the corner of Wolfe Tone St. and O'Connell Ave. in Limerick City in April 1934. Image courtesy of The Haselbeck Collection
Car accident at the corner of Wolfe Tone St. and O'Connell Ave. in Limerick City in April 1934. Image courtesy of The Haselbeck Collection
2013-12-30 13:29:36 - Limerick City Museum and Archives (LCMA) has announced details of a major photographic exhibition featuring rare images of Limerick City and its environs dating back to the early 20th century.

"The Street" exhibition, comprising of photographs from The Haselbeck Collection, will be launched at Limerick City Hall on January 13th next by Mayor of Limerick Kathleen Leddin and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan.

Franz S. Haselbeck worked as a professional photographer in Limerick City from 1912 until his death in 1973. He cycled all over Limerick City and the surrounding countryside to photograph the important events of his time including the War of Independance and major construction projects, as well as everyday events around the City. Today, The Haselbeck Collection is regarded as one of the most important collections of 20th century Ireland.

The free exhibition, which will be open to the public at City Hall during January

and February, also looks at Haselbeck's life as a professional photographer in Limerick and will host a display of his camera equipment as well as some archival documents illustrating his professional and personal life.

Some of the earliest photographs featured in the exhibition relate to the Irish Volunteers and the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1913 and 1914 at a time when the world was heading towards war and Ireland was striving for Home Rule.

Following the War of Independence and The Irish Civil War, both of which are documented in the Collection, there came major building projects and Industrial Limerick. The exhibition features photographs of the massive concrete silos of Ranks Flour Mill, the huge scale of the Shannon Scheme at Ardnacrusha, Mungret Cement Factory and Irish Wire on the Dock Road. Haselbeck also photographed the streets, its lanes, shop fronts and major buildings from churches to the Limericks' Georgian terraces and mills.

In his studios he captured a permanent record of many Limerick families from bonny babies to holy communions, weddings and family portraits. The clothes and hairstyles convey so much about the people and their circumstances. The photographs show the work of a man truly senstive to his subject matter, an expert in lighting and composition .

Patricia Haselbeck Flynn inherited the collection in 1990 and has offered the use of the collection to her native city and worked in close partnership with Limerick City Museum and Archives in presenting a selection of her grandfather’s work. Having successfully insured its survival, and through meticulous research, the author of ‘Franz S.Haselbeck’s Ireland’ has brought it back to the people on whom it is based.

Patricia explained: 'It was almost as if my grandfather knew that it would be important to the city to record these events, as if he felt i that it was his civic duty. In turn, I felt it to be my own civic duty to try to preserve it for all and have spent he intervening years in that quest.”

“This collection of images of early twentieth century Limerick right though to the 1960's is both beautiful and fascinating with something of interest for all. I am sure my grandfather would be very proud of their use in this wonderful exhibition, especially during City of Culture 2014,” she added.

According to Jacqui Hayes, Archivist with the LCMA: “Franz Haselbeck enjoyed capturing the major events of his time and through his lens the people and places of Limerick come to life. He was very interested in technology, architecture and engineering and his photographs of the great construction projects reflect this passion.”

Ms. Hayes continued: “The Street" exhibition is one of the first events on the Limerick City of Culture 2014 calendar and is one of many showcasing the history of the city. Patricia Haselbeck Flynn, who holds responsibility for the preservation of her grandfather's collection, has played a central role in the curating of this exhibition and without her assistance we would not have been able to bring this project to fruition.”

Franz S. Haselbeck family moved from Germany, via England, to Wolfe Tone Street in the early 1900's before establishing a sausage and pudding craft business in St. Johns Square. Franz’s artistic temperament saw him pursue a career as a photographer. He served his apprenticeship in Dublin and Paris and settled in Limerick in 1912 where he set up his own studio. From then until his death in 1973 he photographed all aspects of Limerick life.

"The Street" exhibition will be officially launched by Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Mayor of Limerick Kathleen Leddin at 7pm on Monday 13 January 2014. It will remain open to the public for free at Limerick City Hall from 9am-5pm (Monday-Friday) until the end of February.

For further information on the Haselbeck Collection exhibition, visit or contact Limerick City Archives on 061-407293.

Mark Dunphy

Mark Dunphy
Phone: 00353868534900

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