While the histories of many of Limerick’s sporting clubs are interwoven with references to great games in the Markets Field, it is also interesting to note that the ground has also been witness to many of the historic events that have happened in the city through the years.

Limerick’s participation in the country’s painful birth of freedom was influenced by the First World War and the struggle for the freedom of small nations, the Bolshevik Revolution and the emergence of the labour movement. The fact that the Markets Field was a natural gathering place shows just how integral it was to the conciousness of those in positions of power in the city.

in his excellent online book Forgotten Revolution – The Limerick Soviet 1919′ by Liam Cahill he recounts a time when 10,000 to 15,000 people celebrated the first ever “Labour Day” in the Markets Field in 1918

He says
“Limerick Workers celebrated Labour Day for the first time ever in 1918.
(8) On Sunday, May 5 an estimated ten to fifteen thousand workers
marched through the city streets in response to a call from the Trades
Council. The demonstration ended with speeches from eighteen speakers
standing on three platforms at the Markets’ Field, where the assembled
workers passed a resolution, to the sound of a trumpet.

The first part of the resolution showed where some Limerick workers
were deriving their inspiration. It read: “That we the workers of
Limerick assembled, extend fraternal greetings to the workers of all
countries, paying particular attention to our Russian comrades who have
waged such a magnificent struggle for their social and political
emancipation.” Michael Keyes, of the Railwaymens’ Union, seconding the
resolution, said Limerick had the reputation of being one of the best
organised Labour centres in the country. The baker, Ben Dineen,
Secretary of the Trades Council, said the national strike against
conscription, less than a fortnight previously, had shown that “Labour
was supreme to all parties.” Limerick, he said, had been the first
city in Ireland to put forth the propaganda of downing tools against
conscription, a boast that was greeted with cheers. R P O’Connor said
he supposed they would be called Bolsheviks because they extended
greetings to the Russian workers, but Irishmen could claim that as a
small nation they had put backbone into any part of the world they were
in. Again, this comment was met with cheers”

His full online book which throws a great light on a fascinating time in the City’s History is available at

http://www.limericksoviet.com/The_Empires_Crumble.pdf