If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, a stop in Limerick can be well worth your time. It may not get the same amount of publicity as, say, Dublin or Cork (or even Belfast, in Northern Ireland), but it’s a lovely city that offers visitors plenty to do. From historical intrigue to modern entertainment, we’ve put together a small list of things that can get you started on this portion of your Ireland getaway.
1. Historical Tours
Limerick offers a great deal of rich history that can provide you with enough activity to stay busy for days. For the quick tour though, King John’s Castle is an iconic place to start. In fact, it’s probably the landmark most commonly associated with the city. The 13th-century fortress is very well preserved, and sits right on the River Shannon. As such it makes for a beautiful sightseeing stop, as well as a fascinating tour. From some angles, you can still imagine it just as it might have been all those hundreds of years ago.
You can also tour St. Mary’s Cathedral, which was originally built about a century before the castle. It’s the oldest functional building in the city, and you can tour it during daytime hours in exchange for a small donation. St. Mary’s is associated with the Church of Ireland, but you can also visit a noteworthy Catholic cathedral in town – specifically, St. John’s Cathedral. This incredible structure is much newer (it was built in the 1800s), but its Gothic-style architecture is seen as an exquisite example, and recent restoration has made the cathedral as impressive as ever. Not for nothing, it also has the tallest spire in all of Ireland.
2. Fitzpatrick’s Casino
When you’ve had your fill of history, you can experience an exciting side to Irish nightlife (as in, not just another pub) through the thrilling game tables at Fitzpatrick’s Casino. While online slot gaming opportunities have gained a great deal of popularity in recent years, brick-and-mortar casinos in Ireland’s bigger cities have managed to survive, and in this case actually thrive. This particular Fitzpatrick’s Casino has been operational longer than any of its counterparts around the country, and thus has an established, professional feel to it. That said, Limerick also has a second Fitzpatrick’s Casino, called Limerick City, where you can also enjoy some evening gaming.
3. Museums and Collections
For more history and interesting cultural tidbits, Limerick’s many museums can also keep you busy. The Hunt Museum is the former home of John and Gertrude Hunt, art collectors who donated most of their family fortune (in the form of artifacts) to start the museum. It also houses traveling exhibits. Meanwhile, the Limerick City Gallery of Art contains more must-see displays, and a special museum dedicated to Angela’s Ashes author Frank McCourt, located in the former Leamy House, is also very much worth seeing. at this last stop, if you happen to be a literature lover or just a McCourt fan, you can learn more about the author’s life, and even take a walking tour (he lived in five houses in Limerick throughout his life).
Ireland doesn’t get a ton of attention for its shopping districts and markets (certainly not as much as nearby countries like England or France), but the Milk Market in Limerick is a great place to get out and do some shopping. It’s actually primarily a food market, but one of the oldest of its kinds in Ireland, and open on the weekends. You’ll find some delicious food from local vendors, and if you’re timing is right you may enjoy some live music as well – the market doubles as a concert venue.
You can also shop on Cruise’s Street, which gets its name from a hotel that once stood where the shops are now. It’s here that you’ll find more in the way of retail spaces and fine wares, and you may just find the perfect souvenir to take home from your time in Limerick.
There’s plenty more to do in Limerick beyond these attractions and ideas. There are lovely local restaurants and bars, beautiful riverside views, comfortable places to stay, and various events throughout the year. But hopefully the above suggestions have adequately painted a picture of an Irish city that is understated but charming, and an excellent destination to include as you tour the country.