Located in the south west of Ireland, County Limerick is in a central location, close to Shannon Airport, and a perfect tourist base.
County Limerick lies at the heart of the Shannon region in Ireland with the City of Limerick built right on the banks of Ireland’s longest river.
Limerick is a tourist’s paradise. The county boasts beautiful mountains to the south. The Ballyhoura and the Galtees are spectacular inland mountain ranges surrounded by rich fertile plains and verdant valleys of green. County Limerick boasts over 5,000 years of history with evidence of Neolithic life, amazing medieval castles and charming thatched cottages just waiting to be explored.
County Limerick is one of the six counties in the ancient province of Munster. Here’s a location map for County Limerick ….
And so today I invite you to join me as we take a photographic tour, on and off the beaten track, visiting Limerick’s scenic countryside, charming villages, thatched cottages, medieval castles, ancient monastic sites, stone circles, lakes, mountains and rivers.
Limerick City lies on the banks of the river Shannon and is close to 1,100 years old. Founded by the Vikings around 922 AD its inhabitants traded with other Norse settlements all around Europe.
The Normans captured Limerick in 1195 and transformed the settlement by building some magnificent stone buildings.
This old tower by Thomond bridge is a magnificent example of medieval Norman architecture. In years gone by the city was surrounded by thick stone walls for protection.
King John’s Castle:
King John’s Castle stands along the banks of the river Shannon and is remarkably well preserved.
Lying in the heart of medieval Limerick, King John’s Castle is one of the most stunning fortresses to visit in Ireland. The exhibition covers over 800 years of history and brings stories of this city to life.
The Treaty Stone:
The seventeenth century was the most violent in Ireland’s history. Limerick city endured four terrible sieges in 1642, 1651, 1690 and 1691 during these turbulent times.
The Treaty of Limerick, signed in 1691 by Patrick Sarsfield, ended the Williamite war in Ireland between the Jacobites and the supporters of William of Orange, and concluded the last Siege of Limerick.
Signing of the famous treaty occurred on an irregular block of limestone now called the Treaty Stone and displayed on a pedestal in Limerick City. Limerick’s nickname of the Treaty County derives from this historical event.
Patrick Sarsfield and the other Catholic leaders left Limerick and Ireland, beginning what is now known as the Flight of the Wild Geese.
St. Mary’s Cathedral:
St Mary’s Cathedral was founded in the eleventh century and is one of the oldest buildings in Limerick city. The cathedral continues as a place of worship to this very day.
Its magnificent altar was stolen by Cromwell in the 17th century, but was returned to the cathedral in the 1960’s.
Pery’s Square / People’s Park:
The People’s Park is located in Pery’s Square and is the main park in the city. Boasting many beautiful deciduous trees it is a wonderful amenity for the people of this city.
This beautiful Victorian drinking fountain was recently restored. The Limerick City Gallery of Art is also located on Pery’s Square.
University of Limerick:
The University of Limerick lies on the banks of the river Shannon. Founded in 1972, it officially became a university in 1989 and is the first university established since Irish independence in 1922.
Built on a vast campus of 110 acres, over 11,000 undergraduates study here each year, including 2,400 international students, many of whom hail from the United States.
The Hunt Museum houses one of Ireland’s greatest private collections of art and antiquities.
Artifacts on display date from the Neolithic period to the 20th century and include bronze and iron age pieces such as the ‘Cross of Antrim’.
An ancient Greek drachma on display is supposedly one of the thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas for betraying Christ.
Works by Renoir, Picasso and Yeats can also be seen.
Limerick Museum is the oldest local authority museum in Ireland and was established in 1916.
The nearly 60,000 objects and artifacts on display were chosen to tell the story of Limerick and its people.
Another new museum, The Frank McCourt Museum is dedicated to Limerick’s most famous literary son.
Thomond Park is hallowed ground for Munster rugby fans where the city’s famous rugby team has celebrated many victories.
Visitors are welcome at Thomond Park and can participate in a full Museum and Stadium tour.
Adare village is often called Ireland’s prettiest village and is an important heritage town of Ireland.
Home to many magnificent old thatched cottages, these beautifully preserved buildings are a tribute to Ireland’s cultural inheritance.
Adare Castle, also known as Desmond Castle, was erected in the 13th century on the site of an ancient ring-fort.
A strategic fortress on the banks of the River Maigue, it was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years. In 1536 it was forfeited to the Earls of Desmond who gave the castle its present name. Tours of the castle operate during the summer months.
Adare Manor is a luxury 5-star hotel and golf resort on 840 acres of magnificent parkland.
The Dunraven family created the beautiful village and manor house of Adare almost two centuries ago. If you wish to spoil yourself with a sumptuous stay in lavish surroundings then look no further than Adare Manor.
Ballynacourty Gardens and Curraghchase Forest Park are lovely outdoor havens close to Adare just waiting to be enjoyed and explored.
Askeaton Castle and Franciscan Friary:
Askeaton lies just 3 kilometers south of the Shannon Estuary on the banks of the River Deel.
Boasting a rich history, a ruined castle dating back to 1199, stands on a tiny island in the center of the town.
The ruins of a Franciscan Friary from 1389. founded by the 4th Earl of Desmond, stand on the banks of the river.
Desmond Hall in the town of Newcastle West is one of Ireland’s best surviving medieval halls and is an impressive two-storey structure used by the Earls of Desmond for banqueting and entertainment.
Constructed during the 15th century, the building has been restored to include an oak musicians’ gallery and a limestone hooded fireplace.
Local folklore claims that this castle was once a seat of the Knights Templar.
Glenquin Castle is a fine tower house and survives from the 16th century and is open to the public during the summer months.
It’s name is derived from the Irish, Gleann an Choim (pronounced glown on khim) which is Irish for Glen of the Shelter.
The Great Southern Greenway is located near Newcastle West and is a perfect way to explore Ireland’s rolling green landscape.
The trail is partially completed, joining Limerick to Tralee along the old railway line which first opened in 1867. So far 40 kilometers of the route have been completed. It’s a perfect route for off-road walking and cycling.
Foynes village on the southern bank of the Shannon Estuary is a major port. It’s here that the first ever Irish Coffee was made to warm American airboat passengers on a cold evening.
Foynes history as a center of aviation and seafaring can be explored at the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum.
The area is also home to some lovely parks and gardens including Boyce Garden, Foynes Woodland. and Knockpatrick Gardens
Glin Castle is the ancestral home of the Knights of Glin and the family home of the FitzGeralds.
A ruined Glin Castle can be found in the village of Glin and the present castle, on the banks of the Shannon Estuary was built in the 1780’s. It is currently operated as a hotel.
Lough Gur is a mystical, horseshoe shape lake at the base of Knockadoon Hill between the towns of Herbertstown and Bruff.
The Heritage Centre was fully refurbished and restored in 2013 and houses an exhibition of artifacts and information about this important archaeological site.
Evidence of early human settlements can still be found at Lough Gur.
Within sight of Lough Gur on the slope of a hill, is an ancient wedge tomb, locally known as the “Giant’s Grave.” You can learn more about Ireland’s megalithic monuments in my blog post all about dolmens.
Grange Stone Circle is the largest stone circle in Ireland, meaning it has the widest circumference.
Built by Bronze Age people who lived around Lough Gur in 2,100 BC, they performed ancient rituals here at dawn on the summer solstice.
Bruff – Old Irish Ways Museum:
Just outside the town of Bruff you’ll find the Old Irish Ways Museum.
Displays include an old Irish pub, interior furnishings of an old schoolhouse and rural thatched cottages, together with a vast array of old farm machinery.
Kilmallock is a walled medieval town of ecclesiastical origin. St. Maloch founded his monastery here in the 6th century.
Remains of the original round tower can be seen at this monastic site.
Visitors are welcome to visit the Kilmallock Museum and Historic Town Trail where walking tours of the town can be arranged.
John’s Castle stands in the middle of the main street and was built in the 15th Century. The town walls can be explored close by.
Ballyhoura Bike Trail:
For those who enjoy exercise and outdoor pursuits, the Ballyhoura Bike Trail is the longest network of its kind in Ireland.
Boasting 98 kilometers of trails through magnificent scenery, forest roads, twists and turns, board walk and technical rocky terrain this is an amenity for the serious biker.
The Galtee Mountains are lovingly known as the Galtees to locals, and lie on the borders of Limerick, Tipperary and Cork counties.
The surrounding valleys are part of the Golden Vale and boast some of Ireland’s lushest, fertile farmland.
Galtymore is Ireland’s tallest inland mountain and the Limerick/Tipperary border traverses this peak.
Glenstal Abbey is located in the village of Murroe and is run by the Benedictine order.
Home to a boarding school for boys, a farm, a guesthouse and a monastic community, it is a unique and spiritual place to visit.
Thank You For Touring Limerick With Me:
An there you have it – a quick tour of some of County Limerick’s beautiful scenery and historical sites. Here are some helpful websites if you are planning a visit.
Visit Newcastle West
If you would like to join me on a photographic tour of some of Ireland’s other counties you’ll find the links here.
Wishing everyone happy trails in County Limerick.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
Here are some other counties featured in this series which you may like to check out ….