A new website, featuring 25,000 photographs of life in Limerick during the 1970s, has been launched as part of Limerick City of Culture 2014.

The site, Limerick With Love, contains images from the archives of The Limerick Leader, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, and is the result of months of digitization work by newspaper staff and Limerick Museum and Archives.

The new online archive coincides with the launch of an exhibition of 125 selected photographs from the archive in the Glazed Street of Limerick City and County Council offices in Merchant’s Quay and also in the Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD).

The ‘From Limerick with Love’ exhibition, which also contains dozens of images created by students of the LSAD in response to the collection, is being launched this evening by former Minister and Limerick native Des O'Malley.

"The exhibition and website title perfectly encapsulate the archive images which are an affectionate portrait of 1970s Limerick.”

O'Malley added: "From holy communions, to prize winning essays, politics and sport to crowds at the St Patrick's day parade the archive captures it all. Almost everyone in Limerick will see someone they know in it."

Limerick City and County Council Archivist, Jacqui Hayes said that Limerick Museum and Archives have been working since late 2013 scanning and cataloging thousands of images from the Limerick Leader archives.

She explained “It's been a labor of love digitizing this entire decade and making the photographs, which up until now have been saved in film negatives, publicly available in a searchable, online database."

Commenting on the broad range of photographs on view in the exhibition and on the new website, Hayes said "From sunny days in People's Park to people at work and play throughout Limerick City and County, this exhibition takes us back to a vibrant decade of flares, youth and color when Limerick was changing rapidly. The old Ireland is still there though. There are images of priests blessing the boats, women in headscarves and sheep sales at the mart."

From Limerick With Love has been on display in the Departures Lounge of Shannon Airport since March during which time it has been viewed by thousands of people. The move to the new exhibition locations in Limerick City forms part of the overall City of Culture 2014 Programme.

Commenting on the photographs featured online and in the exhibition, Alan English, Editor of The Limerick Leader stated, “Since the Limerick Leader employed its own photographers during the 1950's it has been amassing a large collection of photographs, including these fantastic images chronicling Limerick daily life and the major news stories that took place throughout the 1970s.

"The newspaper is delighted to share photographs of the people and places of Limerick with a wider audience, including local people and visitors to Limerick, and the thousands of people around the world with connections to Limerick. We are especially happy to be involved in bringing this project to fruition during Limerick City of Culture 2014," added Mr. English.

'From Limerick With Love' runs until December 2014 at the Glazed Street in Merchant’s Quay and the LSAD campus. Visit www.fromlimerickwithlove.ie for more.