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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Limerick

Limerick (Luimneach, "Bare Spot"), the third city of the Republic of Ireland, lies on the River Shannon in the southwest of the country, at the point where the river begins to open out into its estuary. This was the most westerly point where the river could be forded and round it, at the junction of busy traffic routes, a considerable town grew up. A number of main roads and railroad lines meet here, and Shannon Airport is only 15mi/24km away.

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English Town

Sarsfield Bridge

Crossing the Shannon on Sarsfield Bridge (1824-35) and turning right along Clancy's Strand, with a fine view of the city of Limerick, we come to Thomond Bridge.

Thomond Bridge

Crossing the Shannon on Limerick's Sarsfield Bridge (1824-35) and turning right along Clancy's Strand, we come to Thomond Bridge, on the site of the first Shannon bridge built by King John. At the end of the bridge is the Treaty Stone, on which the 1691 treaty is said to have been signed.

King John's Castle

View from atop King John's Castle Wall in Limerick.
To the right of Thomond Bridge in Limerick, rising imposingly above the Shannon, stands King John's Castle (13th C.; National Monument), a pentagonal fortress with a main block, three round corner towers, a bastion and a two-story gatehouse (disfigured by 18th C. additions). It has recently been thoroughly restored. Parts of the complex now serve as exhibition rooms. The history of Ireland and of the town of Limerick are brought to life by means of reconstructed scenes. In addition there is a video display, information about the excavation of Viking houses, defensive works and siege tunnels (opening times given). Northeast of the castle, in Town Walls Playground, can be seen remains of the old town walls.
Address: Nicholas Street, Ireland

St Mary's Cathedral

Exterior of St Mary's Cathedral in Limerick.
Turning right at the end of Limerick's Castle Street into Nicholas Street, we come to St Mary's Cathedral (Church of Ireland), which preserves much 15th C. work (west doorway 12th C).
Address: Bridge Street, IRL-1 Limerick, Ireland

St Mary's Cathedral Choir Stalls

St Mary's Cathedral in Limerick's English Town has oak choir stalls (a rare feature in Ireland), with misericords of fantastic animals, date from 1489. There are a number of notable monuments. From the tower (120ft/36m high) fine views may be enjoyed.

City Court House

In St Augustine's Place in Limerick stands the beautiful City Court House (1764).

Irish Town

Besides the older district of English Town, Limerick is made up of two districts to the south of the Abbey River - Irish Town and Newtown Pery.

Hunt Museum (Custom House)

To the south of Limerick's English Town, beyond Mathew Bridge, which goes across the Abbey River, is the Custom House (1769) which today houses an art gallery.
Hunt Museum houses a collection of 2000 works of art and antiquities formed by John and Gertrude Hunt during their lifetimes.
Address: Rutland Street, Ireland

Granary

In Michael Street 'The Granary' forms the center of a restored area of Limerick. The former grain store now houses civic archives and a library.

St John's Cathedral

At the eastern end of Limerick's Irish Town rises the Roman Catholic St John's Cathedral (1856-94), which has the tallest tower in Ireland.

St John's Square

By St John's Cathedral, at the eastern end of Limerick's Irish Town, lies St John's Square, once an elegant 18th C. residential quarter and now a protected area.

Jim Kemmy Municipal Museum (formerly Limerick City Museum)

Limerick City Museum, renamed the Jim Kemmy Municipal Museum in memory of the late Mayor, T.D. and historian, is now located at Castle Lane. The increased space allows for more display space and additional exhibitions.
Address: Castle Lane, Nicholas Street, Ireland

Newtown Pery

Limerick is made up of the older district of English Town to the north, at the junction of the Shannon and the Abbey rivers, and two districts to the south of the Abbey River - Irish Town and Newtown Pery.

O'Connell Street

Southwest of Irish Town extend the later additions to the city of Limerick. The main street is O'Connell Street, almost 1mi/1.5km long, which is now the heart of the city. At the end of the street stands the O'Connell Monument, honoring Daniel O'Connell, who won emancipation for Irish Catholics. This part of the city is celebrated for its handsome Georgian houses with their brightly painted front doors.

People's Park

A particularly fine thoroughfare in Limerick's Newtown Pery district is Mallow Street, at the east end of which is the People's Park. In the park can be found the Art Gallery (modern Irish painters).

Plassey

Worth seeing in Limerick's Plassey area are the Hunt Collection and the National Institute of Higher Education.

O'Malley Sculpture Collection

The O'Malley Sculpture Collection is housed in the Hunt Museum at the University of Limerick. Helen O'Malley Roelof's completed about 350 heads and figures during her career.

Surroundings

Adare ManorAdare Manor

Glenstal Abbey

At the foot of the Slievefelim Mountains, a good 12mi/20km east of Limerick, is Glenstal Benedictine Abbey, founded in 1927. The extensive complex, including a terraced garden going back to the 17th C., and the modern church are open to visitors.

Lough Gur Prehistoric Site

12.5mi/20km south of Limerick, at Holycross on the bow-shaped Lough Gur, lies a prehistoric site (National Monument) of exceptional interest. During the 19th C. the lough was partly drained, when evidence of occupation going back to the Neolithic period was found. The following features are particularly notable: No. 4, a wedge-shaped passage grave (ca. 2000 B.C.); No. 7, a stone fort (eighth century); No. 8, an oval stone fort (Early Christian period); No. 12, a Neolithic burial place surrounded by a double earthwork, with a standing stone in the middle; No. 16, a burial mound with a circle of standing stones (c. 1500 B.C.); No. 17, a fine double stone circle with an earth rampart and a ditch (age uncertain); No. 22, a small stone circle of large slabs; No. 23, a crannog (originally an artificial islet, now linked to the shore); and No. 28, an imposing stone circle (c. 2000 B.C.), a cult site with an almost monumental entrance.
There are also two medieval structures, Bourchier's Castle (16th C.) and Black Castle (14th C.), and the ruined 17th C. New Church.

Hospitallers

On the way south from Lough Gur to Kilmallock a detour can be made to Limerick Hospital, lying to the east. The church (National Monument), originally belonging to an establishment of the Knights Hospitallers founded in 1215, contains three very interesting tombs with effigies.

Kilmallock, Ireland

Kilmallock, 21mi/34km south of Limerick on the R512, is an ancient little country town. The Collegiate Church of SS Peter and Paul (15th C., National Monument) incorporates 13th C. work (round tower) and has some fine monuments. King's Castle (14th C., National Monument) and Blossom's Gate in Emmet Street bear witness to the importance of the town in medieval times.

Kilfinane, Ireland

6mi/10km southeast of Kilmallock, to the south of Limerick, lies the little market town of Kilfinane, at the foot of the Ballyhoura Mountains. Its most striking feature is an unusually large motte, surrounded by three earthwalls. It is 130ft/39m high and 50ft/15m in diameter at the base and 20ft/6m at the top. From the summit there is a magnificent view of the great expanse of the "Golden Vale."

Glenosheen, Ireland

In Glenosheen, a beautiful side valley to the southeast of Kilmallock and south of Limerick, stands Castle Oliver.

Castle Oliver

In Glenosheen, a beautiful side valley to the southeast of Kilmallock, stands Castle Oliver, a 19th C. structure complete with battlements, towers and bastions which is approached by two avenues with curious lodges at the gates. Near the castle is one of the "follies" built to provide employment during a famine. Castle Oliver is said to have been the birthplace of Marie Gilbert, the famous Lola Montez, mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.

Newcastlewest, Ireland

From Kilmallock, to the south of Limerick, the R518 and R520 lead west to Newcastle West, 20mi/ 32km southwest of Limerick, a busy market town with the ruins of a 12th C. Templar castle.

Banqueting Hall

The Desmond banqueting hall is a two-storey structure that was used by the Earls of Desmond for banqueting and entertainment. The Hall was constructed during the 15th C. The restored medieval features include and oak musicians' gallery and a limestone hooded fireplace.
Address: The Square, Ireland

Glenquin Castle

5mi/8km south of Newcastle West is Glenquin Castle (15th C., National Monument), a well-preserved six-story tower house.

Mungret Abbey

2.5mi/4km from Limerick are the ruins of Mungret Abbey (National Monument), once an important monastic school, which preserves three of its original six churches.

Carrigogunnell Castle

4mi/6km west of Mungret, and to the west of Limerick, stands Carrigogunnell Castle (National Monument), prominently situated on a volcanic crag. It is an imposing structure with two towers (15th and 16th C.), unfortunately in a poor state of preservation. From the castle there are fine views of the Shannon and the surrounding area.

Kildimo

In Kildimo can be seen the remains of a small Templar church (13th C.) and a parish church of 1705. Beyond this, on a hill, is little Killulta Church (12th C.; National Monument), with a triangular window.

Kilcornan - Celtic Theme Park & Gardens

Kilcornan is the starting point for walks in Curraghchase Forest Park where can be seen the ruins of Curraghchase House, an 18th C. mansion.
In Celtic Park and Gardens replicas of important Irish monuments are to be seen as well as a rose garden. Children especially will delight to see the many horses, sheep, deer and various birds.

Askeaton, Ireland

Askeaton lies on the banks of the River Deel. On a rocky islet in the river, near the bridge, rise the ruins of Desmond Castle (15th C.; National Monument), a tower house with a banqueting hall measuring 30x90ft/9mx27m, with fine windows, blind arcading and vaulting.

Franciscan Abbey

On the east side of the River Deel near Limerick are the well-preserved remains of a Franciscan abbey (15th C.; National Monument); church with fine windows, beautiful cloister with two fine marble arches and a figure of St Francis, refectory and other conventual buildings.

Foynes - Foynes Flying Boat Museum

7mi/11km beyond the Franciscan abbey, near Limerick, on the east side of the River Deel, we come to Foynes, a small port picturesquely situated on the estuary of the Shannon. From the second half of the 1930s until the end of the Second World War this tiny isolated place was the terminal of the entire passenger air service to and from North America. The GPA Foynes Flying Boat Museum (opening hours given) documents this fact. On view are the first terminal building, the signal and weather station and photographs showing the first flying boats used on the Atlantic crossing.
From Knockpatrick Hill (565ft/172m), south of the town, there are extensive views over the Shannon Estuary. On the summit of the hill are a ruined church and a holy well.

Glin Castle, Glin, Ireland

8mi/13km west of Foynes, beautifully situated on the banks of the Shannon, here 1.25/2km wide, lies Glin. Above the harbor rears Hamilton's Tower (19th C.). Outside the town stands Glin Castle, a ruined tower house, on the estate of the Fitzgeralds, Knights of Glin, who have been established here in uninterrupted succession for 700 years. The modern house (Georgian of 1780, altered in neo-Classic style in 1820) has handsome rooms with good stucco ceilings (staircase, hall, library) and is furnished in period style (Irish, 18th C.) with family portraits of the 18th to 20th C.

Adare, Ireland

Thatched roof cottage in the village of Adare.
Adare (Ath Dara, "Ford of the Oak Tree") lies on the wooded west bank of the River Maigue, some 9mi/16km southwest of Limerick on the busy road leading to Killarney. With its thatched roofs and old gray-walled church, it has something of the air of an English village. The 14-arched stone bridge affords a very attractive view of the beautifully planted banks of the river and the old buildings in the background.

Adare Manor

Adare Manor, a neo-Gothic mansion (1832) set in a park, which is now largely occupied by a golf course, was converted to a luxury hotel some years ago. The principal rooms, including the hall and picture gallery, are open to the public. The tea room provides pleasant views of the gardens and terraces. In the park, on the banks of the river, are the extensive ruins of Desmond Castle (13th C.), a romantic sight with its semicircular towers and lushly overgrown walls.
Also in the park are the ruins of a Franciscan friary founded in 1464, with later additions. The nave, choir and south transept of the church survive; fine fonts, niches and stalls in choir. Beautiful cloister with an old yew tree in the center; conventual buildings.

Augustinian Abbey

Exterior of the abbey in Adare.
Near the bridge over the River Maigue in Adare are the restored remains of a 14th C. Augustinian abbey, used since the 19th C. as a Protestant church and school. The cloister has been used since 1826 as a mausoleum for the Earls of Dunraven.

Parish Church

The Roman Catholic parish church originally belonged to a Trinitarian abbey built in the 13th C. It reached its present size and form only in the 19th C.

Adare Festival

This annual two-week festival takes place in mid-July and includes dozens of concerts in a 2000-seat tent on the grounds of the Adare Manor. The repertoire focuses on symphonic and classical music, but some concerts featuring jazz or other contemporary styles are often included in the program.

Heritage Center

The Adare Heritage Center allows visitors to experience Adare's unique history from 1233 to present. The story is told through realistic model enactments and audio visuals in English, Irish, Italian, French and German.
Address: Main Street, Ireland

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