The Leonard Collection is comprised of books and other materials relating to Limerick City and County. It has been built up over a period of some thirty-five years by Father John Leonard and is so considerable in range and diversity that it would not be possible for such a collection ever to be replicated. The initial objective of Father Leonard was to collect an example of the work of every Limerick author, although this was soon broadened to include any publication on or about Limerick and its people.
The collection is exceptional in its quality and diversity and represents the definitive collection on Limerick City and County. It encompasses literature, history, topography, politics, the social sciences and culture, and, whilst it is principally a book collection, it also contains periodicals, paintings, prints, engravings and more.
The collection is of such high quality and contains so many rare and scarce materials that it is almost invidious to highlight a few individual items. Nevertheless, the following give some indication of the scope of the collection:
- Collections by Limerick authors including Michael Collins, Dorothea Conyers, Michael Curtin, Aubrey de Vere, Gerald Griffin, Michael Hartnett, Jim Kemmy, Brian Merriman, Lola Montez, Kate O’Brien, Desmond O’Grady, Gabriel Rosenstock, Eithne Strong and Frank McCourt.
- Full sets of the Limerick historical journals, including the North Munster Antiquarian Journal and The Old Limerick Journal.
- Limerick city maps dating from 1722.
- Original 18th-century prints of Askeaton, Kilmallock, Adare, Thomond Bridge and many other notable Limerick antiquities.
- Historical works by leading Limerick antiquarians, including the Knight of Glin, the Earls of Dunraven, PW Joyce, TJ Westropp, Mainchin Seoighe and Michael J O’Kelly.