Whether you’re into history-filled city strolls or jaunts out into an unspoiled natural wonderland, Limerick city and its picture-perfect towns are the ideal places for you to pull on those walking boots!
Twisted, moss-blanketed trees curl skyward; tiny humpbacked bridges arch over streams and friendly donkeys drape their heads over fences waiting for a pat – there’s a lot to love about walking the Old Bridge Loop in O’Briensbridge, County Clare. Here, as the path weaves and turns alongside the calm, mossy waters of the Errinagh Canal, natural wonders abound: gentle woodland, grassy banks, and an abundance of birdsong. It feels unique here -– on this beautiful trail that starts and finishes in the town – but it’s just one of the many walks off or along the Shannon as it flows from Lough Derg to Limerick city. At Castleconnell, the broad blue-grey Shannon cascades over rocks and around little river islands. And in Limerick itself, you can take off on a stroll through centuries of history on a riverside stroll that takes in sieges, bridges and the impressive King John’s Castle.
O’Briensbridge Looped Walks
It got its name from a bridge that was built across
the Shannon by Turlough O’Brien in 1506, and while the original bridge has
gone, the village is still defined by a 12-arch structure parts of which date
from 1750. Today the O’Briensbridge is the starting point for some great
walking routes that curve close to the three main stretches of water: the River
Shannon, the Errinagh Canal and the Headrace Canal. For a good hearty walk, try
the Old Barge Loop which starts along the Headrace Canal (with its elevated
grassy bank), before weaving along the canal and the Shannon down to the
village of Clonlara. It runs a distance of about 12km so if you’re after a
shorter option, go for the Parteen Weir Loop, which is just over 3km and brings
you upstream to the dam before looping back again.
Castleconnell River Walks
The Shannon is arguably at its most
scenic around the picturesque village of Castleconnell. Here, the water
cascades over rocks, ripples around tree-strewn islets, and gushes past banks
that bloom with marsh marigold in spring. The two riverside walks in
Castleconnell largely hug the lane that weaves alongside the water, with a
total distance for the two about 6km. Keep an eye out along the way for mallard
ducks and greylag geese, as well as the common bluetip, spring redtail and even
the blazoned kingfisher.
Limerick Civic Trust Walking Tours
Centred on the area around Englishtown,
this tour brings you around one of the oldest parts of Limerick city, boasting
landmarks such as the Bard of Thomond Monument, King John’s Castle and The
Treaty Stone. The tour starts at the Bishop’s Palace, a grand building that has
undergone extensive renovation and which was once home to the Protestant
Bishops of Limerick. From there, you’ll be taken to see the Bard of Thomond
(and have a listen to some of his writings) before crossing the Thomond Bridge
to see the Treaty Stone. But the tour becomes particularly interesting when you
get to the graveyard of St Munchin’s, which offers a fascinating insight into
the unusually diverse and multicultural inhabitants of Limerick through the
Limerick Canal Bank Walk
You could easily visit Limerick and
never realise that the city also has a canal… Despite starting quite centrally
– just a short walk from the Hunt Museum – it feels like a quiet,
off-the-beaten track spot and is a favourite of dog walkers and cyclists.
Follow the canal towpaths down to the River Shannon and you’ve an option of
following further walking routes by turning left along to the Shannon Fields or
right towards the University of Limerick. The routes make great cycling options,
The Three Bridges Walking Route
Starting at Arthur’s Quay Park, this 3.5km city
walking route is all about the Shannon, as it hugs closely to the banks on both
sides of the river. It’s a great way of soaking up Limerick’s history, culture
and even sporting prowess as you’ll pass by the historic rowing club building,
the Treaty Stone and the Hunt Museum.