Limerick (Limerick City) / Luimneach

Nothing remains on the medieval site at the back of Sir Harry’s Mall.

Althouth the earliest certain date in the history of Limerick friary is 1267, with Thomas de Burgo as the founder, it is likely that the friars first arrived in the city about 1245.  Situated in the ‘English town’, the community did not adopt the Observant reform until 1534.  The friars went into hiding after the Suppression, but the area around their old building still retained the name ‘St Francis Abbey’, and the river came to be called ‘The Abbey River’.

The friars were able to re-establish a formal residence in 1615, with a community of four.  On 14th June, 1646, the standards with had been captured at the Battle of Benburb were displayed in the friary chapel before being deposited in St. Mary’s Cathedral.  The franciscans were expelled from the city in October 1651, but they soon returned and even managed to recover possesion of their small residence near the corner of Nicholas Street and Athlunkard Street.  By 1766, two friars were also doing parish work in the chapels of St. Nicholas and of St. Mary.  In 1782 the community were able to obtain a site in Newgate Lane, where a small friary and chapel were erected.  The Franciscans were forced to leave this site in 1822.  They settled in Bank Place for a short time, before acquiring the present (Henry Street) site in 1824.  The chapel was ready in 1826 and the friary in 1827.  Both buildings were condemed by the Visitator General in 1873.  Work on new buildings began in 1876 and both friary and chapel were open by 1886.  However the church was only partially finished and work on the final extension etc. began in 1928.  It was consecrated by the Bisho of Limerick, Dr. Keane, on 7th December 1931.
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