Limerick Soviet
A workers rebellion in the Treaty city

Commemorating the 90th anniversary of Limerick's 1919 General Strike

Limerick remembers its Soviet

You are welcome to our website.  Here you will find information on an event that put Limerick in world headlines 90 years ago. This anniversary of the Limerick Soviet was marked by a number of events organised in the city.  You will find a report on these activities on our events page.

Mary O'Donnell of the Limerick Soviet Commemoration Committee introduces Jack O'Connor, President of SIPTU and Liam Cahill, author of the Forgotten Revolution at the Seminar at the Hunt Museum

At a time when the political, business and financial gurus of our nation are proving, in the most spectacular fashion,  their inability  to provide us with a stable, sane and rational society, it is interesting to recall the time when the workers of Limerick took control of the city and ran it so effectively.  Peoples' needs were put before profit and real democracy flourished if only for a short while.

The strike which precipitated the 'Soviet' was called in response to the imposition of military rule by the British following the attempted rescue at St. Camilus' Hospital and subsequent shooting of the  IRA prisoner and post office worker, Robert Byrne. 

The funeral was attended by tens of thousands of enraged mourners.  In its aftermath, the British forces attempted to prevent any movement in or out of the city and military barricades were placed on Thomond and what is now named Sarsfield Bridge.  The city was under siege and food had to be smuggled across the Shannon from County Clare.  Hearses coming from the 'City Home' did not always contain corpses!  For two weeks Limerick became 'self ruled'  like Derry in the late sixties.  The workers, through its organisations, ran the city, printing its own money in the process.  They sought support from the national Labour and Republican Movements.  As this did not materialise, so an opportunity to change the course of Western European history was lost!

For workers today the Limerick Soviet of 1919 can be a cautionary tale and a rallying cry. Pass on the word to all your friends, neighbours and fellow workers about this website and give them the privilege and the right to be inspired by the fighting spirit of the workers' movement in Limerick all those years ago.

A Strike Committee Proclamation pictured at
Limerick Museum

This and the following three images were supplied by Mike McNamara, Limerick Council of Trade Unions

Funeral of Robert Byrne


Back row: T McDonnell, J Carr, J Coffey, M Ryan, M Bennis, D O'Reilly, M Gabbett. Fourth row: F Whelan, M Daly, T Bourke, J Roberts, J McQuaine. Third row: P O'Sullivan, W O'Brien, G Dunne, P Hehir, J Flynn, B Rea, L Kelliher, D O'Loughlin, J Hogan, C Johnson, M Reddan, J O'Keeffe. Seated: D Griffin, R P O'Connor, J Casey, J Cronin, A Walsh, J O'Connor, P Dowling. Front: J Buckner, C Carey, M Browne, J Leahy.

The Limerick Soviet Commemoration Committee
 Some of the members of the Committee are pictured below.



Display of Limerick Soviet material

Limerick Museum

Permanent display

All welcome


Our thanks to all who supported our efforts to ensure that the 90th anniversary of the Limerick Soviet was commemorated with an appropriate  programme of events. Among our benefactors were ...

The Mandate Trade Union

Sinn Fein


Jan O'Sullivan TD


This website is maintained and updated by the
Limerick Soviet Commemoration Committee 2009.