Thursday 5 October 2023

Limerick's Mount St Lawrence graveyard project completes with updated free database

This summer, a three-part project to preserve the history of Mount Saint Lawrence, Limerick’s largest burial ground (and the second largest in Ireland outside Dublin) reached fruition when an updated database of the cemetery's Transcribed Burial Registers went live.

It marks the completion of a project that started in 2008 when the increasing frail original burial registers were scanned by Limerick Archives and made available to download as PDFs from the website.

This free online access has allowed the precious original materials to be preserved.

The team then began to manually transcribe these handwritten registers, which hold records of more than 70,000 burials for individuals from all walks of life since the cemetery opened in 1855.

This transcription phase of the project was carried out by Limerick Archives together with staff and students from the History department of the City's Mary Immaculate College. A free text-only database was created.

With advanced graveyard mapping technology available by this time, a plot map was created. This process saw all 13,000+ headstones and memorials being photographed and gps tagged. The Archives and College team then transcribed the full inscriptions on these markers, and the results were uploaded into the another free online resource: the MSL Grave Marker Database.

Merging details from the manual transcription database and the plot map, the new Transcribed Burial Registers Database (2023) now provides details of the deceased's name, age, address and grave location. It is free to access.

For more resources, including the 2015 publication of City and Cemetery – a History of Mount St Lawrence, a video tour of the cemetery, and YouTube recordings from a 2014 conference (Beyond the Grave) featuring many historians and genealogists, see