Limerick is a riverside city of modest size, and is Ireland's third most populated city. Limerick is situated in the heart of Ireland's beautiful Shannon Region. The city overlooks the majestic and historic King John's Castle which is perched on its Shannon river bank. A city of many contrasts, it has managed to successfully blend the modern with the historic. It offers many cultural attractions, including cinema, theatre, museums, concerts, walking tours, boat rides and a wide variety of sports amenities. There is the lively atmosphere in traditional pubs, discos and restaurants. Being centrally located between the major attractions of Cork and Galway it is not as popular with tourists in the region.
A Viking town
The city was founded by the Vikings in 922 AD. The Vikings thrived in the village but they were overthrown in 968 AD. The Vikings fought the city back again in 969 AD. It wasn't until the 1020 AD, that native Limerick folk again recaptured and claimed their town. From that time period, the Vikings became part of the fabric of the town and integrated into the Irish society. Limerick of today benefits from their artistry, technological skills and seamanship.
Through the Middle Ages
The English (Anglo-Normans) colonised the city in 1172 AD and changed everything. St Mary's Cathedral was built in 1194 AD. Limerick's architecture boomed, King John ordered the construction of his fortress King John's Castle in 1205 AD, a fine specimen of fortified Norman architecture and Thomond Bridge which was for centuries the only bridge crossing the River Shannon.
The English settled in King's Island, called "Englishtown". The Irish were moved to "Irishtown", located on the other side of the Abbey River. A huge stonewall was erected around "Englishtown" in this period, known as "the walls of Limerick" and now is a famous traditional Irish dance. Limerick developed and became a very prosperous port and trading center exporting and importing all around Europe. 1171 AD a nunnery was founded. The Trinitarian Abbey was built in 1230 AD, this was the Trinitarian order's only established monastery in Ireland. The Scottish clans in 1315 AD attempted to invade Limerick and around 1320 AD Edward Bruce took Limerick once again. This occupation was defeated by the English in 1318 AD. A few hundred years later another historic moment occurred in Limerick, The Treaty of Limerick was signed to end the Irish war between the Jacobites and the supporters of William of Orange and it also ended the Siege of Limerick. They were signed on the Treaty Stone, which is perched now on a pedestal at the foot of Thomond Bridge.
Limerick of the early 20th century was very much a growing agricultural town. The Peoples Park was developed in 1876 and later tourism became a major focus and technology industries flourished. A state library and museum was built in 1906 with the Limerick Art Gallery being constructed in 1948. In 1972 the University of Limerick opened. In 1976, The Hunt family offered their collection to the nation to what has become the Hunt Museum. In 1981, the Beltable Arts Centre opened its curtains for everyone. In 1984 Limerick's National Technology Park opened its doors. During the late 20th century and early 21st century a great investment went into refurbishing and restoring Limerick's historic buildings. The 'renaissance' continued in 1989, Arthur Quay was refurbished and a new walkway waterfront constructed. In 1987 O'Halloran Bridge was built and in 1989 Arthurs Quay Shopping Centre opened to the public for the first time.
During the 80's, the Potato Market, and the Milk Market were refurbished, the Milk Market will have another upgrade in 2010. The old Bishops Palace,was totally rebuilt to its former glory. In 1991, a new tourist information office was commissioned and tied in nicely with a new visitors centre to showcase King John's Castle. 1994 saw Kings Island refurbished. Steamboat Quay was refurbished and a new hotel and apartments were built in the region. In 1999, the new Abbey Bridge opened to the public. 1999 saw the opening of the Georgian House in Pery Square region of the city. The stunning Living Bridge was constructed in 2007 by the Eiffel Engineering of Paris, (the team behind the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty), it's an iconic 350m long footbridge over the River Shannon at the University of Limerick. Presently, it is planned to refurbish and renew the Park Canal and upgrade all amenities on the Shannon river.
Limerick has spawned many great writers and poets. Among those were Michael Hogan, the Bard of Thomond to Jim Kemmy and Maureen Sparling to the late and great writer Frank McCourt whose Pulitzer prize winning Angela's Ashes, 'Tis and Teacher man were huge international bestsellers.
Music and Film
Limerick has a very active music scene, which has produced such popular bands/musicians from as Dolores O'Riordan, The Cranberries and Noel Hogans' MonoBand, The Hitchers, world-renowned electronic musician Richard D. James, known as Aphex Twin. It is also home to comedians D'Unbelievables (Pat Shortt & Jon Kenny) which entertained with many TV shows and Christmas specials, other famous personalities include the Hollywood actor Richard Harris and TV presenter Terry Wogan.
A number of films and movies have been produced and recorded in the city including the Alan Parker's Hollywood adaptation of Angela's Ashes starring Robert Carlyle and Emily Watson. It is the setting for the contemporary coming-of-age drama Cowboys & Angels and Robert Cunningham's gritty Somebody's Daughter.
Shannon Airport serves Limerick and is located just 25km along the N18. Shannon Airport is an International Airport that services locations both within Europe and to the United States. Daily flights from Shannon Airport to New York, Newark and Chicago are operated by Delta, Aer Lingus and United Airlines while Ryanair mainly services destinations in the UK and Europe.
Limerick is connected to the Irish Rail network by Colbert Station which is on Parnell Street in Limerick City. Limerick City is connected by rail (either directly or indirectly) with the main towns of Belfast, Dublin, Rosslare, Cork, Tralee and Ennis.
It makes sense to pick up a rental car at Shannon Airport if you are arriving by plane as it's much more convenient. If you require to collect in the city, call up your preferred car rental dealer and they will arrange your rental pick up. All the major car rental companies in Ireland have locations at Shannon. Shannon Airport is easily accessible from Limerick by Bus or Taxi services.
Public Bus services are available in Limerick but the city is quite contained and everything is within walking distance. Quite easy to get from City Centre out to UL / Castletroy Area and back via the public bus.
Bikes need to be rented weeks in advance. There is only one bike rental shop in town.
Limerick has a host of attractions. See the Limerick Coordination Office for a full events guide
- King John's Castle. Located on King's Island (in the heart of Limerick City), Open: 10:00-16:30 Jan/Feb/Nov/Dec, 09:30-17:00 Mar/Apr, 09:30-17:30 May–Oct.
- Thomond Park. One of the Ireland's most famous sporting arenas, and the proud home of Munster Rugby, who are twice crowned European champions and have beaten the world's best in this stadium including the mighty All Blacks. Recently renovated to international standards, re-opened in November 2008. It has a new modern music bar and great facilities for young and old. You must experience a rugby game, even if you like sport or not, when you visit to witness its often talked about unique atmosphere.
- St. John's Cathedral. This impressive church has the tallest spire in Ireland at an amazing 94m (308 ft) and is a must visit. Built in 1861 and designed by the architect Philip Charles Hardwick, it has been in continuous use since. The most recent restoration work carried out was in 2003/2004 on the roof and exterior stonework. It is a Catholic cathedral, the city's other cathedral, St. Mary's Cathedral being Anglican.
- The Hunt Museum, Rutland St, ☎ , fax: +353 61 312834, e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 14:00–17:00. Adults €5, Concessions €3.50, Children €2.50. Free admission every Sunday.
- St Mary's Cathedral (Located on King's Island), ☎ .
- Downtown Georgian Architecture.
- UL Arena. For sports, walking by the lakes and crossing The Living Bridge.
- Limerick Milk Market. A hive of activity at the weekend, everything under the sun is for sale, bargains galore, art, books, clothes, antiques, fresh food and even farmers milk!
- Peoples Park. Very central in Limerick, if you like romantic walks.
- Daniel O'Connell monument. It's perched at the top of O'Connell street in the Georgian district.
- The Treaty Stone, Thomond bridge.
- The Hunt Museum offers a unique collection of treasures. Located in the historic Custom House and overlooking the Shannon, it features a diverse range of artefacts, from archeological finds to 20th century art exhibitions.
- Limerick City Gallery of Art
- Munster Rugby. Rugby union side that compete in the Guinness Pro12 alongside teams from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy, and the European Rugby Champions Cup. Munster's main home is Thomond Park, recently expanded and renovated into an impressive modern facility. Munster supporters are among the most fanatical and yet respectful in all of sport—one long-standing tradition is absolute silence when a player, even an opponent, is kicking for goal.
- St. John's Cathedral. For the tallest spire in Ireland.
- St. Mary's Cathedral.
- The Belltable.
- University Concert Hall.
- Angela's Ashes Walking Tour.
- Walk over the Shannon river and view King John's Castle.
- Shop in pedestrianised Cruise's Street.
- The Milk Market. weekend only.
- The Potato Market. weekend only.
- The Peoples Park.
- The Georgian House & Garden, No 2 Pery Sq. (take the first left after the Daniel O'Connell monument in O'Connell St. at the end of Barrington St. turn left, first house on the left. The house is just minutes away from the railway and bus stations), ☎ . 9.0 - 4.30. This is one of six houses built in 1838 by the Pery Square Tontine Company. The house was faithfully restored by Limerick Civic Trust, and offers a unique experience to visitors of all ages. Starting at the front door, the original marbled walls and period stairs links the grandeur of upstairs living with the simplicity of the downstairs service area.
- Moviedrone. 12:00-22:00. Good place to hang out and play videogames.
- University of Limerick (Ollscoil Luimnigh).
- Limerick Institute of Technology (Institúid Teicneolaíochta Luimnigh).
- Mary Immaculate College (Coláste Mhuire Gan Smál).
- Language Travel Ireland (LTI).
- Crescent Shopping Centre, Dooradoyle
- Cruises Street, City Centre
- Topshop, Roches Street
- a|wear, William's Street
- French Connection, William's Street
- Solo, Denmark Street
- Concepts, Catherine Street
- Brown Thomas, O'Connell Street
- Debenhams, O'Connell Street
- Fuschia Queen, Thomas Street
- L'Occitane, Thomas Street
- King's Shoes 34 O'Connell Street (corner of Roches Street and O'Connell St)
- O'Mahony's. Booksellers, O'Connell Street
- Thornton's chocolate shop, Cruise's Street
- River Island, Cruises Street
- New Look, Cruises Street
- In Vogue, Thomas Street
- Eve's, Roches Street
- Pennys, O'Connell Street
- River Deep Mountain High, Rutland Street
- The Hunt Museum Shop, Rutland Street
- Bon Appétit. The Milk Market - Fantastic food.
- Jasmine Palace, O'Connell St.. Beautiful restaurant.
- Copper and Spice, Cornmarket Row and Annacotty.
- Thai Gourmet, O'Connell St..
- Azur, 8 Georges Quay.
- Texas Steakeout, O'Connell St..
- The Grove, 11 Upper Cecil Street. For yummy vegetarian food.
- Milano, Harvey's Quay.
- Chocolat, 109 O'Connell St..
- Eddie Rockets. Nice family restaurant. You will feel like you are in Grease!
- Bella Italia, 43 Thomas St.
- La Piccola Italia, 56 O'Connell Street.
- The Locke Bar, George's Quay.
- The Cornstore, 19 Thomas Street.
- Hugh's Steakhouse & Grill, Greenhills Hotel Conference & Leisure Centre Ennis Road, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 6pm till late. The best of locally sourced food with offerings ranging of Thai style mussels, hot & spicy chicken wings to gourmet burgers, succulent Irish Steaks and the classic chicken Maryland all cooked on the grill which can be enjoyed in the comfort of our light and airy surroundings.
- Nancy Blake's Pub, Denmark St. Popular and crowded. Live Music most weeks.
- The Old Quarter, Denmark St.
- Flannerys Bar, Denmark St. There are quite a few 'Flannery's pubs in Limerick.
- Smyths, Denmark St.
- Molly Malones, Ellen St. Be careful with the bouncers. Late Bar and dance floor. Gets crowded. Great place to end a night of partying.
- Costello's Tavern, Dominic St. Alternative music venue.
- Jerry Flannerys Bar, Catherine St.
- Peter Clohessys Bar. Howleys Quay Perfect spot to catch a Munster match on the Tv.
- The Locke. Great outdoor drinking/eating spot, Georges Quay Dress a bit nicer for this bar. Lovely atmosphere. Great for a casual night of drinking with close friends or family.
- Micky Martins, Augustinian Lane. Tucked away in an L shaped alley (Augustinian Lane) with a nice outdoor area when the weather permits. Good beer decent beer selection for Limerick. Hoegaarden on tap.
- Riddlers, Sarsfield St.
- Tom Collins's Oyster Saloon, Cecil St. Genuine old man's pub.
- Dolans Pub, Dock Rd. Traditional Irish bar with traditional Irish live music. Wharehouse in back which houses techno parties.
- Gleeson's (The White House), O'Connell St. Open Mic nights and Poetry nights.
- Aubars, Thomas St.
- The Still House, Thomas St.
- Charlie Chaplin's, Cruises St.
- Charlie Malone's (Charlie's), Wolfe Tone St (Near Bowman St & Barrack Hill). Relatively quiet normally. Monday Nights draw in the crowds from Mary I as generally during the school semester a group of students from Mary I will play Irish Trad late in the night. The barmen here will make you feel quite at home. Though small its quite cozy.
- Bryan's Cafe/Bar, Greenhills Hotel Conference & Leisure Centre Ennis Road, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- Brookville House B&B, 31 Brookville Avenue, Clareview (5 mins walk to Thomond Park), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Owner, Nora, is renowned for her hospitality and the full Irish breakfast comes highly recommended. Ensuite rooms with TV available. From €35.
- Jurys Inn Limerick, Lower Mallow Street, ☎ . From €59.
- Travelodge Limerick Castletroy, Dublin Rd N7 (Neighbouring the University of Limerick), ☎ , fax: +353 61 603222, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. From €35.
- Travelodge Limerick Ennis Road, Travelodge Hotel Limerick Ennis Road, Coonagh Roundabout, Ennis Rd (close to Thomond Park Stadium Limerick), ☎ , fax: +353 61 454991, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. From €35.
- Annville B&B, Newtown, Castletroy (South-west of university.), ☎ , fax: +353 61 330023, e-mail: email@example.com. Quiet and nice B&B in the outskirts, friendly and helpful landlord, complete Irish breakfast. Unlike advertised, not all rooms are ensuite, and the common bathroom is aging but otherwise the facilities are quite fine. €40 single/€60 double.
- Clarion Hotel Limerick, Steamboat Quay, ☎ , fax: +353 61 444101, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Health and fitness Centre with pool, sauna, steam room and gym. Hours: 09:00-19:00 on weekends. 09:00-20:30 on weekdays.
- Dairy Guest House, ☎ .
- The Greenhills, Greenhills Hotel Conference & Leisure Centre Ennis Road, ☎ .
- The Kilmurry Lodge, Castletroy (near University), ☎ . Pleasant, ivy-covered red brick hotel on the outskirts of town, manages to feel small and cozy although it's actually rather large. Pub, restaurant and nightclub on grounds. From €89 B&B.
- Old Bank B&B, 30 minutes away in Bruff.
- The Railway Hotel, Parnell St (Opposite the rail and bus station), ☎ , fax: +353 61 419762, e-mail: email@example.com. Singles from €45.
- Strand Hotel Limerick, Ennis Rd, ☎ . 4 Star hotel in the heart of Limerick City Centre, with leisure facilities and meeting rooms.
- Absolute Hotel Limerick, Sir Harry's Mall, ☎ . Four Star hotel luxury spa hotel in the heart of Limerick City Centre.
- Adare Manor.
- Castletroy Park.
- Glin Castle.
- Hilton Limerick Hotel.
- The Savoy Hotel, formerly Marriott Limerick, Henry St, ☎ , fax: +353 61 448701. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: Noon. €140+ per night.
- The Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick, Ennis Rd, ☎ , fax: +353 61 327418, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3. Near to Shannon Airport and city centre.
Limerick being a modest sized city, the city centre itself is safe and cosy, even at nights and weekends. Generally as is the case of any of the modern cities in Ireland, use your common sense and exercise caution and you will have a fantastic time.
If you do run into trouble, the police station (Gardai) is on Henry Street in the city center. The number of the local police (Gardai) is +353 61 212 400, note: a non-emergency number. The emergency dial is the standard 112 or 999, as always.