Limerick (Luimneach) is a city in County Limerick in the Shannon Region of Ireland, with a population in 2016 of 94,192. It's a miniature Dublin with its Georgian streets, historic sights, and many visitor amenities, and is a good base for visiting its surrounding county plus County Clare and County Tipperary.
Limerick grew up at the limit of tides and navigation of the River Shannon. In the 9th century the Vikings first raided it then settled, calling it Hlymrekr which probably means low-lying and fertile. As elsewhere in Ireland, they were overthrown by the native Irish in the 10th / 11th centuries, who in turn came under the rule of the Anglo-Normans. In 1205 King John ordered the construction of the castle on the river island in the Shannon, and the English settled in this area of King's Island, with their "Englishtown" protected by massive walls. South across the small River Abbey lay "Irishtown", with the natives firmly put in their place.
Limerick became a prosperous port, so it was worth fighting for. Some of the many conflicts were the proxy war that was part of the medieval England - Scotland wars; a siege as Oliver Cromwell crushed Royalist opposition in Ireland; and the siege which was the last stand of King James II / VII forces against William of Orange, ended by the Treaty of Limerick in 1691.
The city benefited from local agriculture and by growing trade with North America, with Irishtown rebuilt on a grid pattern as a Georgian city comparable to Dublin, and fine public buildings. It slumped with the Napoleonic wars, with the draining of political power to England, and with the great Irish famine of 1848. Not until mid-20th century did it redevelop, as transatlantic flights began from Shannon and new industry was attracted in to replace bygone trades.
It's spawned many great writers and poets: Michael Hogan (1828-1899) the satirical Bard of Thomond, Jim Kemmy (1936-1997) author of The Limerick Anthology, Frank McCourt (1930-2009) author of Angela's Ashes, 'Tis and Teacher Man. Other famous local people include the actor Richard Harris, TV presenter Terry Wogan, statesmen Éamon de Valera and Michael D Higgins, and physician William Brooke O'Shaughnessy who pioneered IV therapy and the medical use of cannabis. What the place didn't spawn was limerick verse, which evolved in 18th century England, presumably from a nonsense lyric that referred to the city or county.
1 Shannon Airport (SNN IATA) near Shannon town, 25 km west of Limerick along N18, has flights across Europe and UK, and to New York, Newark and Chicago. All the main car rental firms have offices at the airport.
To town, Bus Eireann 343 runs every 30 mins between 06:30 and midnight, taking an hour, fare €8. Bus 51 between Galway and Limerick also stops at the airport hourly.
Hourly trains from Dublin Heuston take two hours to 2 Limerick Colbert. Some are direct but most involve a change at Limerick Junction (which is near Tipperary and about 25 km east of Limerick); change there also for Cork or Waterford. A walk-up single from Dublin is €32, see Irish Rail for timeables, fares and online tickets. The station ticket office is open M-F 06:00-18:00 and there are machines, toilets and a Starbucks.
- Bus 51 runs hourly south via Mallow to Cork, 2 hours, and north via Shannon Airport and Ennis to Galway, 80 min.
- Every two hours, Bus 13 runs to Tralee and Bus 14 to Killarney.
- Bus 55 runs every 2-3 hours to Waterford, 2 hr 30 min.
- Bus 72 runs 3 or 4 times a day to Athlone, 2 hours.
Limerick bus station is at Colbert next to the railway station.
From Dublin, N7 is all motorway once you get past Naas, 200 km or 3 hours in all. Other major routes from Limerick are N18 / M18 to Shannon Airport, Ennis and Galway, N20 to Mallow and Cork, N21 to Tralee and Killarney, and N24 to Tipperary and Waterford.
Public bus services are available in Limerick but the city is quite contained and everything is within walking distance. The main University campus is at Castletroy 4 km east, with a good bus service.
Bikes need to be rented weeks in advance. There is only one bike rental shop in town.
Bus Éireann operate a frequent city bus network in Limerick, consisting of nine routes:
- Route 301 provides a cross-city service from Raheen and University Hospital Limerick in the southwest to Westbury in the north, every 30 minutes Monday to Sunday.
- Route 302 provides a western loop from Henry Street in the city centre via University Maternity Hospital, Thomond Park, Limerick Institute of Technology, Caherdavin and back to Sarsfield Street in the city centre, every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays.
- Route 303 provides a cross-city service from Pineview in the northwest to O'Malley Park in the southeast, every 30 minutes Monday to Sunday.
- Route 304 provides a cross-city service from Raheen and Ballycummin in the southwest to the University of Limerick in the east, every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays.
- Route 304A provides a cross-city service from Raheen and University Hospital Limerick in the southwest to the University of Limerick in the east, every 30 minutes Monday to Sunday.
- Route 305 provides a cross-city service from St Mary's Park in the north to Lynwood Park in the east, every 60 minutes Monday to Sunday.
- Route 306 provides a service from Ballynanty in the northwest to Edward Street in the south city centre, every 60 minutes Monday to Sunday.
- Route 313 provides a service from Arthur's Quay in the city centre to Ardnacrusha in the north, 3 times per day Monday to Saturday.
- Route 323 provides a service from Arthur's Quay in the city centre to Castleconnell in the east, 3 times per day Monday to Friday and twice on Saturdays.
A map of the city bus network is available here. All routes connect with each other in the city centre.
Cash fares within the city are €2.40-€2.80 adult and €1.40-€1.70 child, while if paying with a TFI Leap Card are €1.68-€1.96 adult and €0.98-€1.19 child. On TFI Leap Card, 24 hour, 7 day and monthly tickets are also available.
Fares are nationally regulated and taxis must use the meter. As of March 2021, fares M-Sa 08:00 to 20:00 are €3.80 flagfall then €1.14-1.50 per km, 20:00 to 08:00 and Sunday €4.20 flagfall then €1.45-1.80 per km. In slow traffic or if asked to wait they charge by the minute, 40-50 cents.
- 1 King John's Castle (on King's Island). Nov-Feb 10:00-17:00, Mar-Oct 09:30-18:00; limited access 15-21 June 2019. Built 13th C by King John over an earlier Viking fortification. The walls, well bashed about over the centuries, enclose a large courtyard. Adult €8.
- 2 St Mary's Cathedral, Bridge St (on King's Island), ☏ . Daily 09:00-16:45. Anglican cathedral founded in 1168, with the tower added in the 14th C. Note the ceremonial Great West Door, the limestone-slab original altar, and the chandeliers. Notable burials include the last High King of Munster, within the nave. Suggested donation €5.
- 3 St. John's Cathedral, Cathedral Place (corner of Garryowen Rd). This impressive RC cathedral is in neo-Gothic style and has the tallest spire in Ireland at 94 m (308 ft). Built in 1861 and designed by the architect Philip Charles Hardwick, it has been in continuous use since. Six bishops are buried here.
- 4 Hunt Museum (Iarsmalann Hunt), Customs House, Rutland St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 14:00–17:00. Formed from the personal collection of John and Gertrude Hunt, ranging over Classical, Irish prehistoric and early Christian, and Olmec. Plus rotating exhibitions, eg to Sept 2019 the painters Lavery and Osbourne. Adults €7.50, conc €5.50, Sunday & under 16s free.
- 5 Limerick City Gallery of Art, Carnegie Building, Pery Sq. M-W & F Sa 10:00-17:00, Th 10:00-19:30, Su 12:00–17:00. Displays all Irish artists, plus large collections of posters and contemporary drawings. Free.
- Frank McCourt Museum, Lower Hartstonge St. Depicts the author's life and times. It's open M-F 11:00-16:30, Sa Su 14:00-16:00. Tis. They also organise "Angela's Ashes" walking tours.
- The fine 19th century Potato Market on the Quays is nowadays just a car park.
- 6 O'Connell Street. Lots of confident Georgian architecture on and around O'Connell Street, with the Daniel O'Connell monument perched at the top of the street.
- Treaty Stone. Now perched on Thomond bridge, is a rough limestone block used for mounting horses. It was supposedly upon this stone that the Treaty of Limerick was signed on 3 Oct 1691, ending the siege of the city and the war between the Jacobites and William of Orange. The Treaty permitted the defeated Jacobite soldiers to leave for France (which most did), or to enlist in William's army, or to go home. It also ensured protection of the defeated Catholic gentry provided they swore allegiance to King William. But few did so, the Pope proclaimed James as the rightful king, the Catholics were oppressed, and the conflict rumbled on for the next 300 years.
- 7 Ardnacrusha is a dam and hydroelectric power station, upstream in County Clare but more easily accessed from Limerick. Built 1924-29 just after independence, it changed not only the lower Shannon, but the entire face of rural Ireland through electrification. A canal lock takes boats through the 30 m drop in river level, and there are fish ladders for the salmon and eels. There are tours of the power station, and school groups visit to understand why they don't live in a midden like their great-grandmothers.
- What's on? Listen to Live 95 FM on 95.0 MHz, or read Limerick Post or Limerick Leader.
- Belltable, O'Connell Avenue. Performing arts theatre.
- University Concert Hall has music, cinema, comedy and other events.
- Stroll in The Peoples Park, south of the centre by the Gallery of Art.
- Treaty City Brewery on Nicholas St offer tours on Saturdays, €18.
- 1 Munster Rugby, Thomond Park, Cratloe Rd (one km west of city centre). They play in the Pro14, the professional European league, and in the European Rugby Champions Cup. They usually play home games at Thomond Park, capacity 25,600, but some games are played in Cork. In 1905 future Irish President Éamon de Valera (1882-1975) was part of a distinguished Blackrock College team and had a trial for Munster, and was even considered for the national team as a full-back. Alas, he had to resort instead to politics.
- Gaelic games: the County GAA team play hurling and Gaelic football at Páirc na nGael, capacity 44,000, on Ennis Rd 1 km west of city centre.
- Limerick Football Club. The city's soccer team play in Markets Field in city centre. Matches are played on Friday nights and tickets are generally available on match night. Adult £12-£15.
- UL Arena. A large sports facility on the University campus east of the city.
- Go to the races at 2 Limerick Races, Greenmount Park, Patrickswell, Co. Limerick V94 K858 (6 km southwest of city, from M20 take exit 4), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Opened in 2001 and staging both flat-racing and National Hunt; the previous course at Greenpark closed in 1999.
- Rossi's (formerly Azur), 6-9 George's Quay V94 C4HD, ☏ . Tu-Sa 17:00-21:00, Su 13:00-20:00. Good Italian & European cuisine.
- Bella Italia, 43A Thomas St V94 D527, ☏ . M-Th 10:00-21:00, F Sa 10:00-21:30. Reliable Italian place.
- 1 Copper and Spice, Mill Bar, Garraunykee, Annacotty V94 ETY3 (5 km east of centre). M-Sa 17:00-22:30, Su 14:00-22:00. Indian restaurant. The city centre branch in Cornmarket Row has closed.
- The Cornstore, 19 Thomas Street V94 XR44, ☏ . Daily 12:00-22:00. Steak and seafood chain restaurant.
- The Grove, 11 Cecil Street V94 Y322, ☏ . M-F 09:30-16:00. For yummy vegetarian food.
- Jasmine Palace, 38 O'Connell St V94 N8CC, ☏ . M-F 12:00-22:00, Sa 12:00-22:30, Su 12:00-21:00. Busy Chinese buffet restaurant.
- The Locke Bar, 2A George's Quay V94 K8KX. M-Th 09:00-23:30, F Sa 10:00-00:30, Su 10:00-23:00. Gastro pub on riverside, often has live music.
- Milano, Harvey's Quay V94 R1H1, ☏ . Su-Th 12:00-22:00, F Sa 12:00-23:00. Pizza chain with vegan and GF choices.
- La Piccola Italia, 56 O'Connell Street V94 F97C, ☏ . M-Sa 17:30-22:00. Traditional Italian fare.
- Texas Steakout, 116 O'Connell St V94 DDW7. M-Sa 12:00-22:30, Su 12:30-22:00. Steaks, burgers and Texmex cuisine.
- Nancy Blakes, 19 Upper Denmark St. W-M 10:15-02:00, Tu 10:15-00:45. Popular and crowded. Live music most weekends.
- The Old Quarter, 3 Little Ellen St (alley off Denmark St), ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-00:00, Su 14:00-23:30. Gastro pub with large outdoor area, does good breakfasts.
- Flannerys Bar, 17 Upper Denmark St. M-Th 10:00-00:30, F Sa 10:00-02:30, Su 13:00-12:30. There are several Flannery's pubs in town, this gentleman is specifically Michael Flannery. Large venue with 3 bars on two levels.
- Smyths, Denmark St. M-Sa 09:00-02:30, Su 12:30-02:30. Late night bar. Great atmosphere. Live music. Cosy traditional Irish pub.
- Costello's Tavern, 4 Dominic St. M 22:00-Tu 00:00 nonstop, Th 22:00-02:15, Sa 20:30-03:00. Alternative music late night venue, €5 cover charge.
- Jerry Flannerys, 20 Catherine St. M-Th 10:30-23:30, F Sa 12:30-00:30, Su 12:30-23:00. Great pub for watching the rugby on TV.
- Micky Martins, Augustinian Lane (in alley beyond Little William St). M-Th 12:30-23:30, F Sa 13:00-00:30, Su 14:00-23:00. Good beer selection, Hoegaarden on tap, nice outdoor area.
- Tom Collins's Bar, 34 Cecil St. Daily 12:00-00:00. Grand traditional pub for relaxing.
- Dolan's Pub, 3-4 Dock Rd. M-Th 12:00-23:30, F 12:00-00:30, Sa 10:00-02:00, Su 10:00-23:00. Has Irish Trad live music and good food. Dolan's Warehouse next door houses techno parties.
- The White House, 52 O'Connell St. M-Th 09:30-23:30, F Sa 10:00-00:30, Su 12:00-23:00. Open mike nights and poetry nights. Wine and whiskey are as much a thing as the beer.
- Strand Hotel, Ennis Road. Just north of Sarsfield Bridge on the way to Thomond Park, so it's popular with both home and visiting fans before and after a match. Those without tickets can watch the match on the large screen TVs.
- The Still House, 56 Thomas St. Daily 12:00-23:30. Great welcoming pub, live music at weekends.
- Charlie Chaplin's, 24 Chapel St (corner with Cruises St). M-Th 12:30-23:30, F 12:30-01:00, Sa 10:00-01:00, Su 13:00-23:30. Good friendly inexpensive bar.
- Charlie Malone's, 19 Wolfe Tone St (Near Bowman St & Barrack Hill). M-Th 13:00-23:30, F Sa 13:00-00:30, Su 12:30-23:00. Cozy friendly bar, often has Irish Trad live music, Tuesday is open mike.
- Brookville House B&B, 31 Brookville Avenue, Clareview V94 Y36F (400 m west of Thomond Park), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Owner Nora is renowned for her hospitality and the full Irish breakfast comes highly recommended. Ensuite rooms with TV available. B&B double from €65.
- 1 Travelodge Limerick Castletroy, Dublin Rd V94 Y83C (just west of Groody roundabout), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Budget chain hotel near university. There's another west of town. B&B double €75.
- 2 Travelodge Limerick Ennis Road, Coonagh Roundabout, Ennis Rd V94 R990, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Budget chain hotel, there's another at Castetroy east of town. B&B double €60.
- Perys Hotel (no longer a Best Western), Glentworth St V94 N59K, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Central, rooms small and tired, noisy from city construction work. B&B double €60.
- Clayton Hotel Limerick, Steamboat Quay V94 H6HN (downstream from Shannon bridge), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel with health and fitness centre, pool, sauna, steam room and gym. B&B double €110.
- George Hotel, Shannon St Y94 FC65, ☏ . Decent central hotel, rooms are small. With Italian restaurant. Parking in own garage nearby if you can find it. B&B double €100.
- 3 Greenhills Hotel, Ennis Road V94 X2RV (west edge of city), ☏ . Large 4-star hotel with conference facilities, Hugh's Steakhouse and Bryan's Bar. B&B double €100.
- 4 Kilmurry Lodge, Castletroy V94 WTC9 (off Dublin Road 5 km east of centre), ☏ . Pleasant, ivy-covered red brick hotel on the east edge of town, feels small and cozy although it's actually large. Pub, restaurant and nightclub on grounds, retail mall across main road. B&B double €90.
- Maldron Hotel Limerick, Southern Ring Road, Roxboro V94 EDP4, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Family friendly hotel with leisure centre, gym and swimming pool. Function rooms available for business meetings and conferences. B&B double €100.
- Pier Hotel, Sarsfield Bridge V94 E6HD, ☏ . A bit worn but convenient and fair value for what you pay. B&B double €60.
- 5 South Court Hotel, Raheen roundabout, Limerick V94 E77X (4 km southeast of centre), ☏ . Decent mid-range place on business park beyond University Hospital. With Curry House. B&B double €80.
- Strand Hotel, Ennis Rd V94 03F2 (just west of Shannon bridge), ☏ . Boxy modern building but comfy and convenient for centre, with leisure facilities and meeting rooms. B&B double €110.
- Absolute Hotel Limerick, Sir Harry's Mall V94 WP52 (off Island Rd near bridge), ☏ . Four Star spa hotel in city centre. Scores well for comfort & service, parking sometimes a problem. B&B double €150.
- 6 Castletroy Park, University Gates, Dublin Rd V94 Y0AN (near University 3 km east of centre). Modern hotel with leisure and conference facilities. Also has spacious suites with kitchenettes. B&B double from €150.
- Savoy Hotel (formerly Marriott), 22 Henry St V94 EY2P, ☏ . Good modern central 4-star, occasional lapses. B&B double €150.
- 7 Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick, Ennis Rd, Burtonhill V94 YA2R (jcn N18 & R445 towards airport), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Good modern hotel west of city. A taxi to centre or airport might be €20. B&B double €100.
- No 1 Pery Square, 1 Pery Sq, Limerick V94 EKP9, ☏ . Chic hotel in Georgian terrace, excellent dining. No dogs. B&B double €200.
Limerick being a modest sized city, the city centre itself is safe and cosy, even at nights and weekends. Generally as is the case of any of the modern cities in Ireland, use your common sense and exercise caution and you will have a fantastic time.
The police station (Gardai) is on Henry Street in the city centre. Their non-emergency number is +353 61 212 400. In emergencies dial the standard 112 or 999.
As of Oct 2021, Limerick has 5G from all Irish carriers. Wifi is widely available in public places.
- Drive west past Shannon Airport into County Clare and Ennis and take N68 to Kilrush and Kilkee. This brings you onto the wild Mizzen Head, with the grey Atlantic heaving below.
- On the road north towards Galway, stop to admire the Cliffs of Moher.
- Lough Gur, 15 km south of the city along R512, is a remarkable collection of Neolithic sites and artefacts.
- Along the south bank of Shannon, Adare is an attractive old town, pity about the traffic and the hordes.
- Nearby Foynes is where the transatlantic flying boats used to berth, and the likes of Sinatra and John Wayne stepped out to the pop of flash-guns; see the museum and step aboard a plane.