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WELCOME TO GNWS TRAVEL GUIDE FOR IRELAND
DISCOVER LIMERICK WITH GNWS
- Limerick city is one of Ireland’s largest towns and was originally a Viking location due its preferred positioning at the mouth of the River Shannon. Later, the Norman era brought expansion and fortifications. Early 20th century brought decline and poverty and was epitomised in Frank McCourt’s best selling book “Angela’s Ashes.”
The mid 20th century has saw Limerick recharge into a prosperous county due to the opening of Shannon Airport and the investment from foreign companies around Limerick’s county and the banks of the River Shannon. Unlike many main towns, Limerick’s University is in the suburbs. This fairly recent campus boasts contemporary Irish architecture and now attracts students from around Ireland.
O’Connell Street and William Street are Limerick’s main shopping area and are lined with shops and departmental stores. Also on O’Connell Street is the Beltable Arts Centre which has contemporary exhibitions and a small theatre. In recent decades refurbishment of buildings has introduced a more trendy culture around Limerick including modern cafes, bars and restaurants.
At the banks of the River Shannon is King John’s Castle which was commissioned by King John in 1210 and built by the Normans in the 13th century. Visitors can enjoy great views from the corner towers, an audio visual display of Limerick’s history since its founding by the Vikings in AD922 to the present day and there are also exhibits and archaeological remains covering a time span of some 800 years.
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Limerick is home to the largest collection of art and artefacts outside of The National Museum of Dublin thanks to the medievalist, John Hunter. The Hunt Museum at The Custom has over 1,000 pieces including a 9th century enamel Antrim Cross, a gold crucifix given by Mary Queen of Scots to her executor, medieval paintings, Chinese porcelain, and Picasso and da Vinci sculptures. The museum also has a souvenir shop and restaurant.
On the northern road between Shannon Airport and Limerick city is Burnratty Castle and Folk Park. Bunratty castle is a beautifully restored imposing townhouse boasting corner turrets and stained glass windows. The castle contains an interesting collection of furniture and paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries. The Folk Park behind the castle originated around the mid 20th century when a traditional Irish cottage was moved rather than destroyed to Bunratty. In the years since this cottage was saved reconstructions of cottages and stores have been added to this enchanting village. Also in Limerick County, south of Limerick city is Adare, one of Ireland’s prettiest villages. The picturesque cottages dotted around the village were built by the Earls of Dunraven for their workers. Their home, Adare Manner is now a luxury hotel in the village.