Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The City on the Shannon

Limerick is going to be the first ever Irish City of Culture 2014.

In 2012, Limerick made it one Irish people's top ten cities in the world to visit.

And in the glorious year of 2013, I made my virgin visit to the home of Munster Rugby, the historic and noble city on the Shannon.

The Shannon, Limerick City
(c) fifiheavey
Once known as ‘Stab City,’ Ireland’s third largest city has been underestimated by the rest of the Irish population for too long - with some blame placed at the city's dire portrayal in the award winning but misery filled ‘Angela’s Ashes’ book and film.
But last year, more Irish people visited the city than before- was it just for the rugby? Or was it for the history, heritage, and stunning sights?

I had two days to explore Limerick, and I used them to the best advantage taking one day to explore the city and another to drive around the county. 

King John's Castle, Limerick
(c) fifiheavey
The Treaty Stone, Limerick
(c) fifiheavey
Sunrise, sunset and every minute of the day provides a beautiful photo opportunity of the River Shannon which passes through the city on it’s way to the Atlantic Sea. Seagulls, brave wave riders and some atmospheric landscaping is all you need for some memorable pictures. Take a walk along the water, and cross Thomand Bridge to enter as medievals would have onto Kings Island and the majestic King John’s castle. the impressive structure is even more captivating inside.

Just across the Shannon from King Johns Castle stands The Treaty Stone. The Treaty of Limerick was signed in October 1691 after William of Orange won the war over King James. There is some interesting reading around the historic stone.

Don’t bypass St Mary’s Cathedral- throw just €3 in the kitty for restoration and wander about the cathedral with walls filled with great ancient Royal names. The Cathedral is oldest building in Limerick, founded in 1168.
Art lovers - Hunt Museum hosts one of Ireland’s private collection of art and antiquities, dating from the Neolithic to the 20th Century, including works by Renoir, Picasso and Yeats.

Limerick is Rugby - Munster Rugby and Thomand Park is the throne. Also if you are looking for the future of Limerick take a drive or a stroll to the University of Limerick. I was struck by how big the area is, full of life during the week - pop into the Student Bar for a Philosophical chat!

Adare Village

Outside of the city you must visit Adare Village. In the Summer this picturesque village is thronged with tourists, so this time of year is perfect for an indepth look about. English style cottages, Adare Manor Hotel, Desmond Castle, Trinitarian Priory and the cutest little village park I have ever seen, will keep you occupied for a few hours. 

Statue of King John, Limerick
(c) fifiheavey

Seafood is the speciality down here, and it is delicious and fresh. The Chowder at the Strand Hotel and anything from the menu at Freddy’s Bistro come highly recommended.