Inis an Ghaill Duibh: The Dark Foreigner’s Island
Continuing on our second day for this weekend in this region of Ireland and after a great day yesterday at the Cliffs of Moher and Galway, we visit the city of Limerick. A small and pretty truly Irish city located along the shores of the Shannon River, barely 25 kilometres away from Shannon airport which serves both cities.
As opposed to Shannon where there is no history at all due to be a “new city” built in the 1960s, Limerick is full of history, traditions and old buildings like we saw in Galway. Compact and even it’s the 4th largest city in Ireland still small enough, for what you will not need any longer than half a day for visiting it. This gives you the chance and specially if you have a rental car of going somewhere else on the same day, like for example south-east to Cork which is 100 kilometres away.
The area (Shannon Region) is really beautiful in landscapes and rich in nature and architecture as castles, therefore planning a couple of other destinations around is something you should really have in mind, and specially if you are the kind of tourist as we are, eagle to see as much as we can considering the shortage of time.
The city was founded in 922 by the Vikings, and was subsequently invaded many times in history. It is the 4th largest by population in Ireland. The highlight of the city is the beautiful King John’s Castle, right by the shores of the Shannon River overlooking the city, and the beautiful Georgian architecture of most of the historical city centre, although after visiting first Galway, back there is more and nicer. Most of the sights are concentrated around the King’s Island and still retains the Medieval charm that once was.
Finding a nice place for food is not difficult at all, but be aware that it is more expensive than in Galway as an example. Also, if seafood is what you are looking for, don’t have too high expectations as there are not many restaurants offering it (quite opposed as Galway where everywhere you could find seafood!). Nevertheless, there are really good restaurants and quality was superb on the 3 times we were at a different restaurant. Really enjoyed it.
For more information about Limerick check Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Ireland’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Limerick
- King John’s Castle Located on King’s Island by the Shannon River in the centre of the city. Built in the 13th century is without doubt the number one highlight in Limerick.
- Saint Mary’s Cathedral Is the Anglican church in the city, located in the King’s Island next to the castle, was built in 1168.
- Saint John’s Cathedral Built in 1861 is a Catholic church having the tallest spire in Ireland at 94 meters.
- Georgian District Located in the area of the city called Newtown Pery, was developed in the 18th century and it’s a great example of beautiful Georgian houses, one of the key landmarks in the city.
-O’Connell Street The main pedestrianized street cutting through the district. Full with shops, restaurants and bars.
-Cruise Street The most famous pedestrianized shopping street in Limerick.
-Daniel O’Connell Monument Located at the beginning of O’Connell Street.
- Old Custom House Beautiful building overlooking the Shannon River, now housing the Hunt Museum which exhibits from archaeological finds to art galleries.
- Thomond Bridge For many centuries was the only bridge across the Shannon, built in the 13th century, and as such is another of the main landmarks in the city.
-Treaty Stone Marks the end of the Williamite war in Ireland between the Jacobites and the supporters of William of Orange which ended in the Siege of Limerick. The treaty was signed on the 3rd of October 1691 presumably on this “Treaty Stone” which originally was a mounting block for horses.
- The Living Bridge Is the longest pedestrian bridge in Ireland, designed and built in 2007 by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, crosses north to south banks of the Shannon River linking the campuses of the university.
The city is not served by it’s own airport, instead it is served by Shannon airport, the second largest in Ireland after Dublin, offering flights within Ireland, Europe and even USA. It is one of the very few airports in the world with US border pre-clearance. From the airport there are very frequent buses to the city centre, service offered by Bus Eireann company. The same bus company also offer routes across Ireland to further destinations.
Within the city you will not need any public transportation at all. It is quite small hence distances too short. Walking will be you best option here.
Getting a bed and breakfast around this region is very easy and won’t bee too expensive. In fact there is not really need for you to book in advance if you think your plans might change, this way you don’t fix yourself to a plan. There is a good choice of hotels in Limerick, but prices can really go high. After all, this is Ireland and prices are higher than what you might expect. A good point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engines such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers.
We stayed at the Maldron Hotel, right in the city centre and perhaps one of the largest in the city, if not the largest. Really nice in all senses. Generous size bedroom, comfortable beds and all facilities inside the room. Friendly and kind stuff and great breakfast, not to mention a huge plus, it’s great swimming pool.