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Tourist Places To Visit In Limerick City
The city of Limerick is perched along the shores of the River Shannon in Ireland and is a region full of historical and cultural wonders. It is a city that offers a wide range of attractions in the form of museums, art galleries, historical monuments, theatres, and trendy cafes, pubs and restaurants that will keep you hooked even when the sun goes down. In addition to the exceptional things on offer within the city, visitors also get plenty of opportunities for day trips from Limerick; like the scenic village of Adare that is full of age-old wonders worth seeing. Read on to know more about our recommendations with the top places to visit in Limerick.
The Hunt Museum
The Hunt Museum was set up in the year 1974 after art and antique dealers John and Gertrude Hunt donated a large collection of important artworks and antiquities to the city. The Hunt Museum is housed in an old Customs House that dates back to the 18th-century, which was renovated once its current purpose was deemed. There are more than 2000 pieces in the museum, in addition to even more items that have become part of the collection since the museum came into being, making it the largest display of the private collection in Ireland. Among its most notable artefacts are the artworks by Picasso, Renoir and Gauguin, a bronze and enamel Antrim Cross from the 800s, medieval and religious artefacts that include tools, weapons, jewellery and coins, an ancient Egyptian amulet, and a bronze horse by Leonardo da Vinci. Unlike other museums where you are usually not allowed to touch anything, here, visitors are encouraged to explore around by opening drawers and poking around the amazing collection dating back to the Iron, Bronze and medieval age. One-hour guided tours of the museum are free.
King John's Castle
One of Limerick’s most photographed locations, the 13th-century King John’s Castle rises majestically over the Shannon River. The construction of the castle consists of a pentagonal fortress, three round towers, the main block and a bastion; The imposing twin gate towers still stand at their full height to date. Some parts of the complex have been turned into exhibition rooms where Irish and Limerick history comes alive in the form of reconstructed scenes. The castle has seen numerous medieval battles, an inter-kingdom trade and even a siege. Visitors can enjoy the castle on a self-led tour with plenty of interactive displays that convey information about the Viking houses, siege tunnels and defensive works here. A café was added in the courtyard of the castle in 2013.
St. John's Square and Cathedral
St. John’s Cathedral is situated within the square of the same name, which has been named after St. John the Baptist, who is believed to be connected to Limerick via the Knights Templar. Ten Georgian townhouses dating back to the 18th-century are also part of the square in addition to Limerick’s Catholic cathedral. While these houses have become derelict over time, they have managed to remain a part of the local scenery with the help of public and private funding and efforts. The cathedral was completed by 1861; the 94-metre tower was completed in 1882 and is the highest church spire in the country and the tallest structure in the city. Inside the cathedral, the altar has been made from Limerick marble with alabaster sculptures that represent the Sacrifice of Isaac.
The Limerick Museum
The Limerick Museum was originally opened in 1916, but it was moved to its current location on Henry Street in 2017. The museum’s main focus has always been collecting, preserving and showcasing artefacts associated with Limerick’s rich and fascinating history. There are a wide variety of items on display here like local silverware, a rare collection of Limerick lace, weaponry and clothes; one of the highlights in the collection is the largest meteorite to have ever landed in Europe. With over 60,000 exhibits in the museum, it is a great place to spend an afternoon in.
The People’s Park dates back to 1877 and generally serves as Limerick’s main green space. The entire park is dotted with a wide range of deciduous and evergreen trees that were planted here in the 19th-century; springs and summers especially witness a lovely display of flowers. Other interesting features of the park include a 19th-century bandstand, two gazebos, a Thomas Spring-Rice memorial and a beautifully ornate drinking fountain. This is definitely one of those parks where you could just sprawl onto the grass for hours with a good book on a warm sunny day.
The Lough Gur is a prehistoric site situated around 20 km south of Limerick. This horseshoe lake is surrounded by all kinds of megalithic remains along its banks, essentially making this region a national monument of sorts. Evidence of occupation in this area goes back almost 5000 years, and some of the most interesting features present here are a Neolithic burial site, stone forts, burial mounds with standing stone circles etc. There are also a couple of medieval monuments here, namely the 14th-century Black Castle, the 16th-century Bourchier’s Castle and the ruins of a 17th-century church. A heritage centre here offers visitors a walk through the interesting history associated with the Lough Gur site through various interactive multimedia displays.
Limerick City Gallery of Art
Housed in the 20th-century Romanesque Carnegie Building, the Limerick City Gallery of Art is one of Ireland’s top art museums and showcases a brilliant collection of artworks from the 18th-century till the present day. The gallery also houses the National Collection of Contemporary Drawing and the Michael O’Connor International Poster Collection. The exhibits are constantly changing and display a varied mix of local and international talent. The permanent collection in the gallery leans heavily towards Irish artists and features some amazing works by Jack B. Yeats, Paul Henry and Sean Keating. Other types of contemporary and conceptual art also a part of the gallery’s temporary exhibitions.
St. Mary's Cathedral
One of Ireland’s secluded jewels, St. Mary’s Cathedral has been around since 1168, making this the oldest building in Limerick. The West Doorway here originally served as the entrance to the Royal Palace back in the 12th-century, and the marks that can be seen on the stonework are believed to have been left behind by the defenders of the city where they sharpened their swords. This gate is now only used on ceremonial occasions. The interiors of the church will take visitors through a timeline that dates from the medieval ages all the way through to the present day. The altar in the Chapel of the Virgin Mary stands 4 metres high and was carved from a single block of limestone.
Frank McCourt Museum
Frank McCourt was the Pulitzer-winning author of ‘Angela’s Ashes’; his mother was from Limerick. McCourt’s family lived a life of poverty and squalor in this town during his childhood days in the 1930s and 40s, and the museum has been dedicated to his life and to what Limerick was like at the time. The museum is housed in the Leamy School, which is also where McCormack was educated. Visitors get to see what a classroom from the 1930s and even the inside of the author’s house looked like, which is based on McCormack’s recollections and historical research. An assortment of memorabilia and photos are also a part of the museum, which have been donated by former pupils. After Frank McCormack’s, his ashes were placed in a box and presented to the museum, where it still lies today.
The Milk Market of Limerick is the place to go if you are looking at trying some of the freshest produce in the city. Limerick’s farmers and producers bring everything they catch, rear or grow to this market every week and sell it to the locals and tourists who visit in large crowds to get a real taste of Limerick. It remains mostly quiet under this large canopy of gorgeous surroundings, but the market comes alive each Saturday where visitors get to enjoy some occasional live music performances in addition to some of the finest pick of foods in the city. Artisan cheese, fresh seafood, organic fruits and vegetables, baked goods and homemade jams and preserves are just some of the items on offer in this iconic Limerick attraction. There are more than 50 stalls put up here every week, with 21 permanent shops. Visitors can also grab a bite from one of the many hot-food tables here serving delicious local meals.