Over the last year, I attended some lectures in the Hunt museum on aspects of hidden local history. John Logan spoke of 18th century Limerick and the various groups placed in city workhouse. He also spoke of executions and highlighted three, one involving the ravishing of a child, another for the slaying of a sheep and the third for the stealing of a plate! The condemned's last words were printed up and sold on the streets of the city the next day for a penny a go.
This tabloidesque habit wasn't my favourite local history story of the last year though. That came from a more recent era and a different source. Jack Monday was a West African fitter working on a ship that docked in Limerick during the war of independence. Inspired by the stories they heard of the Irish fight, those onboard made the decision to fly the Irish flag on departure (Maritime custom was that you should fly the flag of the country one is departing when leaving). Enraged by the non fluttering of a union jack, the ship was boarded. In the subsequent scuffle two black and tans were stabbed. Monday was taken from ship and thrown in jail. It was only in the civil war that followed, he eventually was released, whereupon he joined the fledgling Irish army, presumably one of the first black men to do so.