The archaeology of Limerick’s ‘river road’

On the evening of the 14 November 2013 a new book about the archaeology and history of Limerick city was launched in King John’s Castle by Dr Pat Wallace—Limerick man and former Director of the National Museum of Ireland. River Road, written by Nóra Bermingham, Frank Coyne, Graham Hull, Fiona Reilly and Kate Taylor, tells the story of the archaeology uncovered on the route of the Limerick Southern Ring Road (LSRR).

In her opening address at the launch Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kathleen Leddin, emphasised the critical importance of the archaeological work that preceded the construction of the LSRR, which successfully struck the balance between “safeguarding sites of heritage and historical importance and continuing with the development of transport and infrastructure projects that seek to improve the quality of lives for those who live here.” The Mayor said that “River Road is a testament to the expertise and efforts of the archaeologists” involved in these projects. NRA Assistant Archaeologist Paul O’Keeffe expressed the Authority’s thanks to all involved in the project, in particular the authors. He also drew attention to the wonderful fused glass sculpture by artist Kathryna Cushieri—entitled The River in Me, Me in the River—that graces the cover of River Road and which was on public display that evening.

Dr Pat Wallace gave an entertaining and informative talk, encompassing many subjects, from the forthcoming merger of Limerick City and County Council to the historical significance of roads. Dr Wallace quoted the Anglo-French poet Hilaire Belloc, saying that “The road is one of the great fundamental institutions of mankind.” He paid tribute to Limerick County Council, the NRA, the engineers and all of the archaeologists involved in the new road and in the publication of River Road. Dr Wallace also took the opportunity to praise the NRA for publishing an informative and “brilliant” series of books, of which River Road is the 14th volume. He noted that the NRA Scheme Monographs series has brought to light a “plethora” of new sites and has, in many ways, changed our understanding of Ireland’s past. Dr Wallace ended his talk by inviting the full house to “celebrate this very fine publication.”

River Road: the archaeology of the Limerick Southern Ring Road is published by the NRA and is available through bookshops or directly from Wordwell Book Sales, Unit 9, 78 Furze Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18 (tel: +353 1 2947860; e-mail: