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Things To Do In Limerick City
Limerick has been known to be a city of squalor and despair, as described in Frank McCormack’s Pulitzer-winning book, ‘Angela’s Ashes’. But over time, this persevering city has managed to rise and revitalize itself, becoming one of the most culturally interesting cities in the country with immense civic-pride. Situated along the River Shannon, Limerick is a city that might be lost amongst the relatively more popular attractions of cities in the region like Cork, Dublin or Galway. But that does not undermine the truly wonderful sites worth exploring here. The city is constantly buzzing with a thriving pub and music scene, which makes the nights here just as enjoyable as the days. Here is a list of our recommendations with the top things to do in Limerick.
Go for a Snack at the Milk Market
The Milk Market is an iconic farmers’ market with the most amazing fresh produce you could ask for. Nestled amongst gorgeous surroundings that are more than a century old, the complex that houses the market was renovated in the 90s and is now situated under a large canopy that doubles up as a live music venue. The Milk Market comes alive on Saturdays when local farmers and producers bring in the food they catch, rear or grow to sell at the market. There are 50 stalls set up here each week, 21 of which are permanent. Most of these shops sell on Fridays and Sundays too. Organic produce and artisan foods sold here include fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, baked goods, prime cuts of meat, homemade jams and preserves and even fresh seafood. One of the best things to do at the Milk Market is to simply grab a delicious meal from the mouth-watering selection of foods served here and enjoy it piping hot under the sun.
Go Kayaking on the River Shannon
Water sports are not the first thing you associate with vacationing in Ireland. But with the River Shannon being the longest inland waterway in the country, kayaking along its rough streams will surely feel like traipsing through the heart and veins of Ireland. There are many companies in the city that offer kayaking excursions on the Shannon river, with various starting points on different locations; Get West is one of the top ones to try out here. Even if you are not the biggest adventure junkie, viewing Limerick from this perspective is definitely an opportunity not to miss out on.
Watch a Game at Thomond Park
Thomond Park is a rugby stadium that often hosts games of the iconic rugby team from Ireland’s south province, Munster. Two-time European Rugby Cup champions, three-time Pro14 winners, and one of the top teams in the entire Northern Hemisphere, Munster often plays most of its home games at this modern stadium. Getting a chance to secure tickets to a game should not be missed if you are in Limerick during the rugby season. Thomond Park has the capacity to hold more than 25,000 spectators and is renowned for its atmospheric ambience. During non-event days, the stadium also hosts occasional non-sporting gigs. Tours are available for those interested, which take visitors through dressing rooms, the pitch and the dugouts, accompanied by fascinating stories.
Tour the Prehistoric Site of Lough Gur
Lough Gur is situated around 20 km away from Limerick; a prehistoric site that is essentially a lake surrounded by a variety of ancient remains that date back to the Neolithic and megalithic periods. Research has shown evidence of occupation in the region as far back as 5000 years ago, which was proven when the lake was drained partially sometime in the 19th-century. Some of the most notable structures around the lake are a Neolithic burial site, traces of houses from the Stone Age, standing stones around burial mounds, and even a cult site with an imposing entranceway. There are also two medieval monuments here – the 14th-century Black Castle and the 16th-century Bourchier’s Castle, along with the ruins of a 17th-century church. A visitor centre here offers fascinating historical facts about the lake and its shores with the help of state-of-the-art, interactive facilities.
Take a Day Trip to Adare
Adare is quaint little 13th-century village around 25 km away from the Lough Gur site. Situated along the west bank of River Maigue, this rural wooded setting of the village has an ambience that often resembles an English hamlet. There is much to see in this charming spot that makes it worth getting out of the city and spending a good few hours here. The Adare Desmond Castle is a 13th-century fortress with round towers and vine-draped walls that lies mostly in ruins today, but tours of the castle offer great details about its revolutionary history. The Adare Manor dates back to 1832 and some parts of it have been opened for public viewing. The Manor was turned into a luxury hotel a few years ago. Don’t forget to pop into Restaurant 1826 before you leave the village for some great food.
Learn the History Behind the Treaty Stone
The Treaty Stone of Limerick is not the most impressive sight in the city, but the history behind it is worth knowing. The Treaty Stone is essentially a symbolic agreement; the Treaty of Limerick that ended the Williamite War of Ireland on 3rd October 1691. The war between the Jacobites and the William of Orange supporters ended and concluded the siege of Limerick. It became a turning point in the country’s history, which led to 24,000 Catholics leaving Ireland for France and came to be known as the ‘Flight of the Wild Geese’. The truce was soon broken though, and the events that followed still live in the minds of the people. The Treaty Stone is simply a block of limestone, which is what the treaty was reputedly signed on. It sits on a pedestal at the end of Thomond Bridge, and the views from the area are brilliant enough to warrant a visit.
Trekking and Mountain Biking at Ballyhoura
The Ballyhoura Woods has extensive trails that make it a hiker’s paradise. Stretching for almost 100 km in the east-west direction, there is a range of difficulty levels with these trails, which are a fantastic option for both trekkers and mountain bikers. The forest canopies stretch over rugged terrain, which gives travellers a taste of what rural Ireland is like. The Greenwood Loop is perfect for newcomers; if you are an adventuring pro, give the 50 km-Castlepook Loop a try.
Enjoy a Horse-Drawn Carriage Trip
Limerick is a city where you’ll find plenty of horses. There are rural spots around the city where you can partake in some riding – whether as a learner or a seasoned rider. In fact, one of the best ways to explore Limerick is through horse-drawn carriage rides. The drivers of the carriages make these trips even more interesting. You can be assured of being regaled with brilliant stories of the city by these heavy-accented gentlemen as you trot about Limerick and enjoy its attractions.
Cross the Living Bridge
The Living Bridge connects the University of Limerick to the River Shannon. Almost 350 metres long, it is the longest pedestrian bridge in the country. The bridge was opened in 2007 and has been constructed in a way as to mimic the flow of the River Shannon. Crossing the bridge, whether you choose to stroll, run or cycle across it, is surely something every tourist should be a part of. Moreover, the bridge was designed to accommodate a wide range of social gatherings as well, which can include educational and cultural activities, music and dance performances; anything that would contribute to the structure standing up to its name as the ‘Living Bridge’.
Visit the Museums
Limerick is home to some fantastic museums. Begin your exploration with a trip to the Hunt Museum, which mixes amazing art exhibits with little displays showcasing aspects of regional history. The Frank McCourt Museum is dedicated to the Pulitzer-winning author of ‘Angela’s Ashes’ and outlines his life of poverty in the city through recreations of his home and school. The Limerick Museum was recently rehoused in a new building in 2017. Visitors get to learn about Limerick’s history through numerous age-old artefacts on display here. King John’s Castle is a fortress that has been turned into an interactive museum showcasing the dark history behind it. Old Irish Ways is a little spot that was put together by a local and plays up stereotypes of Ireland throughout history.