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See and Do at Limerick

See and Do

Pack it all in with a city that delivers huge helpings of history, heritage and art…

You’re best to give Limerick a few days! It’s the kind of place that will keep you busy, whether you’re peering at ancient antiquities in the Hunt Museum, or uncovering medieval history in King John’s Castle. The city is certainly having a moment right now in terms of things to see and do, and the resurgent cultural scene is bringing a real sense of energy to the streets. You’ll see it in the bright, light-filled rooms of the Limerick City Gallery of Art; you’ll see it in the high-ceilinged drawing rooms of the People’s Museum, where contemporary paintings line the walls and local art groups get together in the old kitchen; and you’ll see it in the Limerick Museum, with its collection of old black and white photographs of Limerick superstars, such as Terry Wogan and Richard Harris. The history of this city surprises at every turn, but go beyond the urban buzz and you’ll find yourself in a countryside packed with castles and crannogs, folk parks and great family fun.

The Hunt Museum
An essential when it comes to visiting the Hunt Museum? Take the tour. It will totally change your experience of this small but astonishing collection, which has been compiled by antique dealers and collectors, John and Gertrude Hunt. As you stroll from the light-filled, high-ceiling rooms where art lines the walls to the small, plush carpeted spaces in this 18th century Palladian house, you’ll discover a phenomenal array of antiquities. Open drawers, peer into the glass cases and hear incredible stories, including about how the Hunts kept a Picasso in their kitchen and the tale behind the unusual Roman trinkets. 
huntmuseum.com

St Mary’s Cathedral
Occupying a hill on King’s Island overlooking the old Potato Market, St Mary’s Cathedral is one of Limerick’s many historic gems. Founded in 1168, the cathedral has stood strong through years of battles, sieges, famine and hardship. There are sublime stained glass windows, 12th century arcaded arches and even a “leper’s squint” – an opening in the cathedral wall where lepers could hear mass and receive communion. The cathedral can be enjoyed daily all year round, but for something special try one of the lunchtime concerts on Wednesdays. 
saintmaryscathedral.ie

The People’s Museum
There are so many things that will capture your attention at 2 Pery Square: the dark, sienna-coloured marble-effect of the walls, the magnificent light-strewn drawing room with its pretty views of Limerick’s People’s Park, and the staff rooms that were designed to overlook the kitchen so that work and rest were interlinked. This is a delightful building filled with surprises and representing the very best architectural details of the Georgian era in Limerick. Built in 1838 and now owned by the Limerick Civic Trust, the museum contains an interesting collection that is still a work in progress and is being added to all the time. 
peoplesmuseum.ie

King John’s Castle
You literally cannot miss King John’s Castle in Limerick – this huge hulk of a castle sits right at the edge of the Shannon and has been a central feature in the city’s story since the 13th century. From outside, it looks suitably imposing but step inside and the excellent interactive exhibition brings you seamlessly through a history filled with curious characters, dramatic sieges and bloody warfare. The exhibition opens up into the vast courtyard, where you can explore inside the towers, see the remains of the Great Hall and climb to the top of the battlements for incredible views over the city and the river Shannon. 
kingjohnscastle.com

Limerick City Gallery of Art
Set within the beautiful Carnegie Building on the grounds of Limerick’s People’s Park, the city gallery is a nicely designed, bright space that hosts a small permanent collection, as well as a larger area upstairs for visiting national and international exhibitions. It’s the biggest contemporary art gallery in the Mid-Western Region, and has free entry, too! 
gallery.limerick.ie

Limerick Museum
There’s plenty of stuff to grab your attention at the Limerick Museum, which contains over 60,000 artefacts spread over several rooms. Set within a former Franciscan church on Henry Street, the collection brings you from the Bronze Age right up to life in 20th century Limerick, evoked in an engaging exhibition of black and white photographs of the city and its people. There’s beautiful lace, sports memorabilia and a local touch, with many of the items having been bequeathed by Limerick people themselves. limerick.ie

Ardnacrusha
It took just four years to build, it cost one fifth of the Irish state’s annual budget and it was, for a time, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world. Ardnacrusha occupies a powerful place in Ireland’s imagination – a Seán Keating painting of its construction hangs in the Hunt Museum – and it’s well worth going on a tour of this huge river hydroelectric scheme. Guided tours bring you deep into the heart of this plant, which include a tour of the visitor centre, views of the turbine hall and engine room, as well as a visit outside to see the Headrace Canal, locks and tailrace. 
esb.ie

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
Driving around the countryside outside Limerick city, it feels like there are castles everywhere. One you can’t fail to notice is the enormous Bunratty Castle. Famous for its lavish medieval banquets, Bunratty dates back to 1250 when a wooden fortress stood here. This is now part of a wider folk park, which is filled with recreated streets, a pet farm, walled garden and fairy trail. 
bunrattycastle.ie


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