Limerick City, a historic port on the river Shannon, is the main county centre as well as being the third largest city in Ireland. Itís located in the north of the county just by the border with county Clare. The historic buildings can be found on the left bank of the river on an island of the Shannon. Limerick Attractions
In this area is medieval St Maryís cathedral, founded in 1168. The interior has 15th century black oak choir stalls and misericords, 15th century carvings in the north transept, memorials, and tombs. King Johnís Castle, in the medieval heritage precinct, was built 1200-1210. It has massive gatehouse battlements and corner towers and a visitor centre with exhibitions. The Bishops Palace sits next to the castle.
Streets are lined with 18th century Georgian houses. No. 2 Pery Square is a good example. John Square is noted for its old houses and former church. On Henry Street is a Franciscan church completed in the early 20th century. The Limerick Museum on Castle Lane tells the story of the city in photographs and collections that range from silverware and prehistoric artefacts to examples of Limerick lace. The Limerick City Gallery of Art, at the Peopleís Park, displays works by Irish artists. The Hunt Museum, housed in a customs house on Rutland Street contains a collection of art and antiquities.
At Annacotty, just west of Limerick on the N7, are found the medieval ruins of 12th century Clonkeen church. East of Fedamore (south of Limerick) is the Grange Stone Circle, one of the best surviving monuments of its type. Itís almost 160 feet in diameter. The Caherguillamore area, settled from prehistoric to medieval times, is a famous archaeological site. 19 sites are visible above ground. Castleconnell, north-east of Limerick, is a salmon fishing resort.
Croom, south of Limerick on the N20, claims an historic mill and Geraldine castle. In the Croom Mills, overlooking the river Maigue, is a Heritage Centre, restaurant, craft and furniture shops, and an old millwheel. Displays, exhibits, and an AV presentation tell the story of grain milling. To the east of the town are the remains of a Cistercian abbey, Manister, while to the west are the ruins of a 10th century round tower on the site of a 9th century church.
Sitting in the center of the county near the town of Bruff is Lough Gur. The Lough Gur Interpretive Centre highlights the important prehistoric communities of the surrounding countryside. The centre uses exhibitions and artefacts and an AV show to inform.
Two stone circles, a tomb, forts, a ring fort, crannogs, enclosures, and hut sites are gathered here. Bones of reindeer, bear, and giant deer were found in caves in the area. 15th century Bourchierís and 16th century Ballygrennan castle and the Knockainey site make up part of the attractions. Four miles north, 12th century Cistercian Monasteranenagh Abbey ruins (a church and chapter house) lie beside the river Camoge.
Southwest of Limerick on the main N20 in the Golden Vale is Adare, considered one of the countryís prettiest villages on the river Maigue. It comes complete with several thatched cottages. The ruins of the village castle sit on the riverside.
There are three ruined abbeys in the village: a 1315 Augustinian priory now a parish church; a 1230 Trinitarian monastery (also called White priory) now a Catholic parish church; and a 1464 Franciscan friary (on a golf course). Thereís a 19th century limestone courthouse, and on Main Street is the Adare Heritage and Visitor Centre.
The 60 acre Curraghchase Forest Park lies on the Shannon inlet west of Limerick. The ruined house in the park was the home of poet Aubrey de Vere. At Askeaton are ruined 13th century Askeaton castle (seat of the earls of Desmond and on an island in the River Deel) and a Franciscan friary of 1389ónave, chancel, cloister, and 13th century church remains. The West Limerick Celtic Park and Gardens near Askeaton are on the original settlement of an important estate. At the site are 12 authentic re-created features that include a burial tomb and ring fort. The gardens are replete with hundreds of roses.
Ballynacourty Gardens at Ballysteen have a collection of roses and laburnum. The woodland estate grounds contain lakes, the ruins of an 18th century house, a 19th century castle, and Killulta church of the 9th century. Another castle ruin, 13th century Shanid, is located at the town of Shanagolden in north-west Limerick. Nearby is a ring fort and 13th century St Katherineís abbey Manisternagalliaghduff, a convent of Augustinian canonesses, dissolved in the 1500s. Remains include a 13th century church and refectory.
West of Shanagolden, Foynes lies on the coast. Foynes is noted for its August Irish coffee festival and the Flying Boat Museum where exhibits on aviation from 1939 to 1945 can be found along with the original radio, weather, and terminal rooms. From the nearby hill of Knockpatrick can be seen the ruins of a medieval church. The 15th century ruins of Carrigogunnell castle, two miles north of the village of Clarina, sit on a hilltop providing dramatic views over the Shannon estuary.
Nearby Glin, a dairy centre, is the seat of the Fitzgerald family. Glin Castle is ruined, but a modern one (early 1800s) was built complete with a double flying staircase and excellent plasterwork. Now an upmarket hotel, its gardens are open for paying guests only.
At Rathkeale on the N21 four miles west of Adare are the ruins of a 15th century castle, Matrix. Newcastle West is Limerickís second largest town. At the town square is mid-15th century Desmond Hall with restored features and a ruined 12th century castle.
Dromcollogher lies south of Newcastle West. Two places of interest to visit are the Dairy Museum in a restored creamery and the Irish Dresden Centre.
Abbeyfeale, sitting on the countyís far west border with Kerry has a Cistercian abbey of 1188 and nearby Glenquin Castle, built in 1462. The six-storied castle has two well preserved barrel vaulted rooms.
Bruree, just north of Kilmallock on the N20 is the site of the De Valera Museum and Bruree Heritage Centre, which tell the story of a former president of Ireland and the history of this area. A corn mill (no longer working) was constructed in 1850. Its wheel is one of Irelandís largest.
Kilmallock is a walled town with a park by the Lubagh river. The Blossom Gate dates from the 16th century. The church of St Peter and St Paul dates from the 13th century with parts of the tower belonging to an ancient round tower. The workhouse in Famine Memorial Park is 19th century. Near the 15th century Johnís Castle tower house is the Kilmallock Museum with a small collection and scale models of the town. A guided tour of the town runs from here.
Just outside the town are the ruins of Kilmallock friary, a 13th century Dominican building. Parts of the nave, chancel, tower and a window survive. Kilfinane southeast of Kilmallock, on the border of the county in the Ballyhoura area, is the site of a ring fort. Near the Ballyhoura Way walking path and Ardpatrick, are the hilltop monastic ruins linked to St Patrick.
Moving to the eastern section of the county, the village of Hospital offers the ruins of a 1215 abbey church with tombs. Galbally, on the southeast border near the Galtee mountains leads to the scenic Glen of Aherlow (in Tipperary county) and its river. Here is the ruin of Franciscan Moor Abbey. Nearby Duntryleague Hill is a rare example of a south of Ireland passage tomb.
Main St, Adare
Tel. 0 61 396 666
Adare Heritage and Visitor Centre
Main St, Adare
Tel. 0 61 396 666
Ballysteen, off N69
Tel. 0 61 396 409
Limerick City, next to the castle
Tel. 0 61 313 399
Tel. 0 63 91300
Bruff, Lough Gur
Tel. 0 61 360 788
Tel. 0 69 65302
Caherguillamore Prehistoric area
Two miles north of Clarina village
Celtic Theme Park and Gardens
Tel. 0 61 394 243
Croom Mills Waterwheel and Heritage Centre
Tel. 0 61 397 130
Curraghchase Forest Park
On the Shannon inlet west of Limerick
Newcastle West, town square
Tel. 0 69 77408
De Valera Museum and Bruree Heritage Centre
Tel. 0 63 91300
Famine Memorial Park Workhouse
Flying Boat Museum
Tel. 0 69 65302
Web: Flying Boat Museum
Franciscan Moor Abbey
Galbally, near Glen of Aherlow
Frank McCourt Museum
Leamy House, Hartstonge St, Limerick City
Tel. 0 61 319 710
Grange Stone Circle
East of Fedamore
Tel. 0 61 312 833
Web: Hunt Museum
Irish Dresden Centre
Tel. 0 63 83030
Tel. 0 63 91300
King Johnís Castle
Tel. 0 61 360 788
Limerick City Gallery of Art
Carnegie Building, Pery Square, Limerick City
Tel. 0 61 310 633
Web: Limerick City Gallery of Art
Castle Lane, Nicholas Street, Limerick City
Tel. 061 417 826
Lough Gur Interpretative Centre
Ballyneety, on Kilmallock Road
Tel. 0 61 385 186 or 0 61 360 788
East of Croom
Four miles west of Adare
Four miles north of Bruff on river Camoge
National Dairy Museum
Tel. 0 63 83433
No. 2 Pery Square
Tel. 0 61 314 130
St Maryís Cathedral
Tel. 0 61 310 293
Web: St Maryís Cathedral
St Peter and St Paul Collegiate Church
West Limerick Celtic Park and Gardens
Kilcornan, on N69 near Adare
Tel. 061 394243
Limerick Tourist Information Centres
Adare Tourist Office
Adare Heritage Centre, Main Street, Adare
Tel. 061 396255
Limerick City Tourist Office
Arthurís Quay, Limerick
Tel. 061 317522
Open Year Round
To stay in Limerick: Adare Manor Hotel
Photos of Limerick City from the air, St Johnís Castle and Adare thatched cottage courtesy Shannon Tourism
Other photos courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland as follows:
Limerick sunset over River Shannon by Richard Spearin; Limerick St Mary cathedral by James Yardley; Limerick Arthurs Quay by P L Chadwick; Peopleís Park Limerick city, Lough Gur Visitor Centre by David Hawgood; Castleconnell by Sarah777; River Maigue, National Dairy Museum at Dromcollogher by Harold Strong; megalithic tomb south-east of Lough Gur by ethics girl; Adare castle, Augustinian Priory at Adare by Peter Craine; Shanid castle by dougf; Flying Boat Museum at Foynes by Roger McLachlan; Glin castle by Keith Salvesen; Abbeyfeale Main St by Peter Gerken; Ballyhoura mountain range by Bryan Conlon; Glen of Aherlow, Duntryleague Hill megalithic tomb by Neil Theasby; Grange Stone Circle, Lough Gur, Bourchiers Castle, Askeaton Friary, Askeaton Castle, Carrigogunnell Castle, Desmond Hall at Newcastle West, Glenquin Castle, Bruree on the River Maigue, Kilmallock St John's Castle, Kilmallock Collegiate Church, Kilmallock Dominican friary ruins by Mike Searle
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