Whilst not as big as Cork or Dublin, Limerick still boasts a variety of touristic and local attractions that are well worth the visit. Beginning with what is arguably Limerick’s most iconic landmark, one must visit King John’s Castle. The castle is located on King’s Island in the heart of medieval Limerick, and was built in the 13th century. The castle has played a key part in not only Limerick’s, but Ireland’s, history as it was used as a stronghold in the siege of Limerick in 1642 by protestants fleeing the Irish rebels. It was actually severely damaged during this siege but the castle was rebuilt once the run of sieges during the 17th century terminated. You can now visit the castle and the museum to learn a bit more about the castle’s tumultuous history.
The city on the banks of the river Shannon also has a strong cultural heritage with the The Belltable Arts Centre on O'Connell Street playing host to many local playwrights and dramatists. There is also a 1,000 capacity theatre, the University Concert Hall which is located within the campus of the University of Limerick. However it is perhaps the art galleries which take most importance in what Limerick has to offer on an international scale. The Limerick City Gallery of Art, a gallery predominantly focused on Irish art as the permanent collection includes 18th, 19th, and 20th century Irish artworks. Whilst Hunt Museum holds an internationally important collection of more than 2,000 works of art. The collection was personally assembled by John and Gertrude Hunt and includes such important pieces as Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse. The collection also includes pieces from Renoir, Picasso, Gauguin, O'Connor and Yeats.
For any sports fans, or rugby fans to be more specific, you will know that Munster, having won two Heineken cup titles, are one of the most successful European teams ever. Their home ground at Thomond Park is worth a visit for any sports fan. Whilst the actual stadium is shared with two two other teams, Shannon R.F.C. and UL Bohemian R.F.C. Munster are the main hosts as you can visit a museum dedicated to the club at the stadium itself. The museum is an incredible interactive experience that includes a vast amount of memorabilia from its various famous victories such as the win over the all blacks in 1978. For real aficionados of the club, it is possible to take a tour of the stadium and to walk on the pitch, get exclusive access to the changing rooms and to see areas that would never usually be open to the public.
As the retail capital of the midwest, Limerick offers a diverse shopping experience, ranging from family owned boutiques to modern department stores. The walkable city centre makes for a pleasant shopping experience while you can also go to the larger malls (Arthur’s Quay shopping centre in the City Centre, the Crescent Shopping Centre in Dooradoyle and the Parkway Shopping Centre on the Dublin Road) for more choice.
It is also recommended that you visit the neolithic Lough Gur for a truly incredible experience. You will witness one of the oldest archeological sites in Ireland as the pre-Celtic settlement dates back to 3,000BC. The centre depicts different settlements that still remain from various points in history including the remains of a farmstead from 900AD. You will be captivated by the lake sheltered, limestone hill setting of the tranquil and beautiful settlements and it is a must visit for anyone staying in Limerick. The centre can be found 20km outside of Limerick city centre.
Apart from the countless historic, cultural and leisurely attractions that Limerick has to offer, any resident or visitor to the city must experience the city’s nightlife. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed pint of Guinness, a nice restaurant meal, or a more lively night out, Limerick has plenty of choice on offer.
How to get to Limerick
Plane - Shannon airport is roughly 20km away from Limerick and can be accessed easily by the N18 dual carriageway. The airport has regular flights to European and North American destinations but unfortunately cannot be reached by rail.
Train - Limerick Colbert Station is the city’s main rail station and serves the whole of the Midwestern region. There are a number of intercity or commuter trains available and with one change at Limerick Junction, passengers can get a direct train to Cork and Dublin.
Boat - The Limerick port is located downstream from the city centre and is a general purpose facility port. It is not widely used as a transport hub.
Car - Due to Limerick’s central location in the mid to western region of Ireland, many important routes converge in the city. The M7 to Dublin starts on the outskirts of the city and the infrastructure has dramatically improved over the last decade with the addition of the Limerick tunnel, bypass of the city.
Coach - There are a variety of buses running from the city centre to neighbouring villages and destinations to far to reach on foot. There are regular services to Shannon airport and also hourly services depart for Cork, Galway and Dublin.