Straddling the majestic River Shannon, the picturesque city of Limerick offers an elegant and gracious blend of medieval and Georgian architecture that inspired the song, ´Limerick, you are a lady.´ Having undergone a mass development project that began in the 1990´s, Ireland´s third largest city is a bustling and vibrant destination steeped in tradition.
The former Viking settlement is dominated by the 12th century Norman castle of King John which sits on the banks of the river. The castle was originally built as a defensive outpost from where the chieftains could keep an eye in the restless Gaelic tribes and would later become the center of the Irish resistance against the invading English in the 17th century.
Defeat to the English saw the city expanded which resulted in the introduction of the handsome Georgian quarter of Newtown Pery which you find today. This is where the city´s main shopping district is centered, packed with quaint handicraft stores, trendy boutiques and popular fashion stores.
The compact city centre is easily navigated by foot and many of its major tourist sites are within walking distance. One of the most visited attractions in Limerick is the internationally renowned Hunt Museum which is home to an impressive collection of art including masterpieces by the likes of Renoir, Picasso and da Vinci.
Other highlights include the quaint 12th century St Mary’s cathedral set in serene surroundings near the river, together with the Old Exchange facade and Almshouses, located on King’s island, a fascinating area which illustrates Ireland´s nationwide efforts to rejuvenate the country from historical ramparts to modern innovation.
Not far from Limerick is the small village of Bunratty where you will find another popular medieval attraction, that of the 15th century Bunratty Castle. Surrounded by a moat and reached by crossing over a drawbridge, the castle has all the quintessential features you expect of a medieval castle. Destroyed no less than nine times during its turbulent history the castle is open to visitors who are invited to enjoy a traditional medieval banquet.
If you plan to explore further afield, County Limerick is conveniently situated within easy reaching distance of Galway and Cork. Blessed with stunning surroundings of rolling hills and sweeping mountainscapes the journey makes for a magical drive. For nature lovers, Killarney National park is also close by in neighbouring County Kerry.
Ferries to Limerick
Although Limerick is situated on the River Shannon which does flow to the Atlantic ocean, there are no ships sailing into Limerick from the UK. However there so many ferries sailing direct from the UK to Ireland making it easy to get the ferry to Limerick, you’ll just need to add a short drive.