The Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery Project was a joint project between Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and Limerick City Archives. Both staff and students of the History and Geography department were involved at varying levels throughout the project. The methodology used was loosely based on the Historic Graves template and best practice ideas in the field. The project was conceived and designed by a board consisting of Dr. Maura Cronin, Dr. Helene Bradley Davis, Dr. Ursula Callaghan, Dr. Matt Potter, and Kieran Lehane and Jacqui Hayes of Limerick City Council.
Since the 1970s Limerick City Council holds the cemeteries original registers dating from 1850. There are over 70,000 people named as having been buried in the graveyard with over 7,000 headstones currently in the graveyard. Dr. Matthew Potter recieved funding through the IRCHSS and Limerick City Council to digitse the registers and turn them into a searchable database. This would make it much easier for family and cemetery staff members to locate the graves of the deceased. It was a huge task and needless to say the project expanded over the next five years. Overall there were five phases to this project:
- Digitising, and typing up of the original registers and turning them into a searchable database.
- Mapping (GPS) and photographing all the headstones in the graveyard.
- As part of their studies in Historical Geography and Local History over 350 Students from Mary Immaculate College & University of Limerick retrieved the information inscribed on the headstones. This data was then transcribed by the students and uploaded onto a newly designed database. This was then data cleansed by a number of supervisors both at Mary Immaculate College and the city archives. Check out http://www.Limerick.ie – and under the heading More click on Limerick Museum / then click Archives and then on the Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery Map.
- Oral histories were also undertaken and included family members of those buried in the graveyard, grave diggers, undertakers, florists, blacksmiths, stone masons and staff and management of the graveyard. Their stories informed the basis of a new book on the cemetery entitled ‘City and Cemetery: A History of Mount Saint Lawrence’ which was launched in April 2015.
- The final phase has kicked in with the renovation and preservation of the MSL Mortuary Church.