The City of Limerick is middle west Ireland’s regional center for entertainment, dining, and shopping. It is also home to great sports facilities and some of the world’s most passionate rugby fans. Just a 20-minute drive from the Shannon Airport, the city contains many undiscovered (because they’re not well-publicized) attractions that visitors will not want to miss.
The 13th Century King John’s Castle on King’s Island is in the heart of the medieval city. Overlooking the River Shannon, it is an excellent example of Norman life. Visitors can explore fortifications, excavated pre-Norman homes, battlement walks, historic exhibits, and siege mines that cover 800 years of history.
The Hunt Museum contains a wonderful private collection of antiquities and art that reflects Ireland’s Celtic history. It also boasts works by Yeats, Renoir, da Vinci, and Picasso, among others. Visitors will find artifacts from Greece, Egypt, Rome, and the Olmecs. Irish archaeological artifacts include Neolithic flints, a Bronze Age shield and cauldron, historic Christian objects, and medieval materials like jewelry, enamels and ivories, ceramics, and painted panels.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is located 17.6 kilometers northwest of Limerick. It is the most authentic and complete medival fortress in Ireland. It was built in 1425 AD and restored in 1954. Today, the castle contains 15th and 16th Century art, tapestries, and furnishings. The castle grounds are reminiscent of the way the ancient property must have been laid out, with houses and cottages clustered at the base of massive walls. The grounds also include Bunratty Folk Park, a recreation of 19th Century life in the area, covering 10.5 hectares with more than 30 buildings making up a living village. Period-dressed characters provide information about life of the time, and visitors can enjoy visits to a school, doctor’s house, printer, post office, hardware shop, and a pub.