Minister Deenihan launches exhibition of historic photographs in Limerick

An exhibition of rare photographs documenting life in Limerick City and environs, including south east Clare and Kerry during the last century will be launched this evening by Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Online PR News – 14-January-2014 – Limerick, IRELAND – The Haselbeck Collection features archival images, documents and photographic equipment from the studio of Franz S. Haselbeck, who worked as a professional photographer in Limerick City from 1912 until his death in 1973. The free exhibition runs at Limerick City Hall during January and February as part of Limerick City of Culture 2014.

Haselbeck 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 country’s most important private photographic collections.

Patricia Haselbeck Flynn, who inherited The Haselbeck Collection in 1990, has offered the use of the collection to her native city and worked in close partnership with Limerick City Museum and Archives (LCMA) 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”, published by The Collins Press 2013, has brought it back to the people on whom it is based.

Ms. Haselbeck Flynn commented: “This collection of images of early 20th century Limerick right though to the 1960's and the inclusion in this exhibition of selected pieces from my grandfather’s photgraphic equipment, personal archive of documents and correspondance, as well as books from his extensive photographic library, make this a both beautiful and fascinating record of past times with something of interest for all. I am sure my grandfather would be very proud of their use in this wonderful exhibition, especially during the City of Culture 2014.”

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., commented: “I am delighted to launch this exhibition, one of the first events on the Limerick City of Culture 2014 calendar. These photographs give us an unrivalled opportunity to turn the clock back more than 100 years and are invaluable to the social and cultural history of the area. I would encourage members of the public to visit this exhibition, and to also take part as much as possible in Limerick City of Culture 2014. I look forward to returning to Limerick on Friday for Riverdance, another important part of the Limerick City of Culture 2014 programme.”

According to Jacqui Hayes, Limerick City Archivist: “'Franz Haselbeck was an exceptional photographer who took his art very seriously. This beautiful selection of photographs on public display in City Hall is a unique and valuable record of Limerick and its environs, including southeast Clare.'

Franz S. Haselbeck’s family moved from Germany, via England, to Wolfe Tone Street in Limerick during the early 1900's before establishing a sausage and pudding craft business in St. Johns Square. Franz’s artistic flair led him to study at Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. He also served his apprenticeship as a photographer in Dublin. He went on to pursue his photographic career in Paris before returning to Ireland to work with the renowned Louis Anthony in Killarney. In 1912 he settled back in Limerick where he set up his own studios whilst also working as a freelance photo journalist.

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.

The exhibition also features photographs relating to major infrastructure and industrial projects in Limerick City and southeast Clare, including Irish Wire on the Dock Road, Ranks Flour Mill, Mungret Cement Factory and the construction of the Shannon Scheme at Ardnacrusha. Haselbeck also photographed Limerick’s streets, its lanes, shop fronts and major buildings from churches to the City’s famed Georgian terraces. In his studios he captured a permanent record of many Limerick families from Christenings’ to Holy Communions, weddings and family portraits.