The Beauty of County Limerick, Ireland

County Limerick

Updated On: April 07, 2024 by   Asmaa AlhashimyAsmaa Alhashimy

Are you looking for the perfect blend of city and country in Ireland? Then, a visit to the County of Limerick will not be missed. Located in the province of Munster, you’ll discover the beauty that Limerick has to offer. A place that is filled with history, quaint cottages, stunning mountains and a famous river.

The county is named after the City of Limerick, which is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Where over 94,000 people call it home. Limerick is a County that is to be admired. From its lovely landscapes to its strong history and heritage, which are still visible today. Through its landmarks, its streets and, of course, the people. It offers the perfect getaway to enjoy the gorgeous Irish scenery and the incredible culture found in the city.

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The City of Limerick

Limerick City is the main attraction in the County of Limerick. The city itself is over 1000 years old. So you can just imagine the fascinating history and stories it offers visitors. It is one of the oldest places in Ireland, first founded by Vikings around 922 AD. The Vikings were known as brilliant traders and craftsmen with links to many other Viking settlements around Ireland and Europe. One of the oldest buildings built in Limerick during the 11th century is still in use today, St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Along with its rich medieval history, Limerick has become a very modern and dynamic area. It has been known as the ‘City of Culture’, which can be explored through its world-class museums and famous festival scenes.

The History of Limerick

The first evidence of human existence in Limerick was found with its Stone Age Tombs at Duntryleague and stone circles at Lough Gur (3000BC). Lough Gur is an impressive historical site. The city began when Vikings came to the area and made it their own.  In 1194, after the death of the King of Munster, Limerick was taken over by Anglo-Normans. Then, in 1210, the county of Limerick was officially established for administrative purposes. During the time of the Anglo-Normans ruling over the county, more than four hundred castles were created. This is more than any other county in Ireland. Pretty impressive if we do say so!

17th century

During this time, Limerick came under many sieges and lost much of its land. When the Irish Rebellion happened in 1641, they also lost control of Limerick City. Then, in 1651, the city was invaded again by Cromwell’s Army under the leadership of Henry Ireton. Two further sieges of Limerick happened during the Williamite War in 1690 and 1691. This resulted in the historic signing of the Treaty of Limerick to end wars.

18th century

As a result of new laws, many of the Catholic citizens living in Limerick during this time were forced to live in poverty under oppressive British rule. Also, during the 18th century, Limerick saw an economic expansion that resulted in the development of a new city, ‘Newtown Pery’.  The city was named after Edmund Sexton Pery, who founded the city.

The 18th century also saw many people from Limerick emigrating to Australia, the United States of America and Canada. The Great Famine also happened in Ireland, where around a million people died. Although Limerick was not hugely affected by the famine, it lost more people to emigration than death. The population dropped 21% during the 1840s and continued to fall as they reached the 19th century.

19th century

During this century, Limerick went through a period of positive change. It saw the beginning of the fire services, gas and water supply, social housing, public health and more. Many notable buildings were created during this time, including churches and schools. Some of Limerick’s oldest and most famous traditional industries, such as the four beacon factories, began. These included flour mills, dairy products, lace manufacturers and clothing factories.

The 19th century also saw Limerick play a part that helped lead to Irish Independence. Further developments were made to turn Limerick into a modern city, such as the rise of the University of Limerick. It also saw many traditional industries being taken over by multinational companies.

Limerick continued to grow and thrive through the next century, creating a name for itself and being successful in sports, business and culture. A place that was welcoming and inviting, a considerable contrast to its beginning.

Other Towns in Limerick

Altogether, there are 13 unique towns in Limerick that you can visit and explore. Below is a little background of each area and what they are known for.


The second biggest town in Limerick, after Limerick City, is the historic market town, Abbeyfeale. It is beside the river Feale, just at the foot of the beautiful Millaghareirk Mountains. It is also considered a great fishing spot, so if you feel like trying your hand at some fishing, this is the place for you.

One of the main features in Abbeyfeale Square is a statue in memory of a local priest known as Father William Casey. During the late 1800s, he played a role in helping tenant farmers fight back against their landlords. The local GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) club in Abbeyfeale is also named after the priest, first established in 1884. The club has become one of the most successful clubs in Limerick.

Another thing that Abbeyfeale has become quite famous for is its traditional Irish music festivals that take place here. The most popular is Fleadh by the Feale, which is held yearly in the town. In 1993, Abbeyfeale was allowed to host the traditional Irish festival ‘Fleadh Cheoil Luimnigh’. Due to its huge success, they were asked to host other Irish events further. Then, in 1995, they decided to host their own Traditional Music Festival, and that’s how Fleadh by the Feale was created.

The town has a lot to offer people, with various outdoor pursuits such as walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing and even a go-karting attraction.


A great little town to visit in County Limerick is Adare, which people often prefer as the friendliest village in Ireland. Located 18 kilometres outside Limerick City, you’ll find Adare. It is one of the most gorgeous villages you will come across in Limerick and Ireland. Its beautiful location is on the banks of the River Maigue.

It has also been classed as a Heritage Town and has won many prestigious ‘Tidy Town Awards’.

You can understand why people find the place so beautiful with its picture postcard main street, which includes historical medieval buildings and pretty thatched cottages. The town has so many incredible ancient and archaeological remains that date back to 1200 AD.

Its uniqueness and historicness make it a great tourist destination, especially for overseas residents.


Next is one of the oldest towns you’ll come across in Limerick, located on the Deel River banks. Being one of the oldest towns, you can just imagine the rich history of the thaofkeaton.

One of its famous ancient archaeological remains is a castle on a small island in the middle of the town. The castle dates back to the 11th century. The Askeaton Castle includes a banqueting hall that is considered one of Ireland’s finest medieval buildings. The Earls of Desmon, also known as the Kings of Munster, once lived in the castle.

The main attractions in and around this town include the pool and leisure centre, guided tours, nature trails, and a butterfly sanctuary on Aughinish Island. There is also Curraghchase Forest Park and the Stonehallvisitor’s Farm.


Next, we have the small town of Bruff, located east of County Limerick, which lies on the Morning Star River. Bruff is everything you’d expect from a small village with pretty main streets that offer many traditional shops. The village also played its part in the Irish Civil War. In Bruff, you’ll find a memorial dedicated to Sean Wall, a volunteer during the Irish War of Independence.

Around Bruff, you will find beautiful countryside with one of Limerick’s main tourist attractions, Lough Gur, close by.


Located on the banks of River Shannon, you will find the lovely town of Castleconnell, which is close to the borders of Clare and Tipperary. Again, like many of the towns found in Limerick, you’ll uncover many significant architectural buildings here.

Some of the significant buildings include the stunning Castle Oaks House Hotel. There is also the 18th-century Mount Shannon House, which now lies in ruins. It was once home to John Fitzgibbon, the 1st Earl of Clare.

Castleconnell is another excellent fishing destination with two great rivers, the Shannon and Mulkear. If you are interested in Birdlife, you’ll be impressed by the rich and diverse bird species in Castleconnell. Most famously, the swans that fly over from Iceland during the winter months.


Next, in the west of County Limerick, you will find the harbour town of Foynes, which offers pretty streets with limestone-cut buildings. Foynes has been a major deepwater seaport for a long time and is the second largest in Ireland.

Compared to other towns in Limerick, it is one of the newest, dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. However, the town still offers an interesting maritime and aviation history. From 1939 to 1945, Foynes became the centre of the aviation world.

One of the best attractions in Foynes is its world-renowned Flying Boat Museum, where you can travel back in time and learn about Foynes’s role in creating commercial transatlantic passenger flights. A replica of one of the historic B314 flying boats is on display at the museum.

Foynes is also famous for being the birthplace of Irish coffee, first made in 1942 for passengers on flying boats.


Another town in County Limerick is the charming small village known as Glin, mainly known for being the seat of the Knights of Glin. The Knights of Glin were originally Normans, a branch of Desmon Geraldines called the Fitzgeralds.

An ancient Castle in Glin was once the home of the Knights of Glin from around 1260 to 1642. It is still visible today and worth checking out while visiting the town; the castle is open to visitors by appointment.

While in Glin, you must visit the large market square, home to various fairs and markets throughout the year. The Horse and Cattle Fair is the most popular, which comes each December.


Then, we have the small market town of Kilfinane, located in the Ballyhoura Mountain range in the Golden Vale Region. Because it’s located 150 metres above sea level, it offers some fantastic views for you to take in.

One of the main attractions in the town is the Kilfinane Outdoor Education Centre, where you can enjoy a selection of activities such as kayaking, canoeing, abseiling and more.


Following Kilfinane, we have the walled town of Kilmallock, one of the main towns in the province of Munster during medieval times. It is still considered one of the essential towns within County Limerick.

Each year, the town hosts their annual medieval festival to celebrate its history and heritage. Two essential ruins are located here, the Church and Abbey, dating from the 13th to 15th centuries.

There are lots on offer in Kilmallock, from a great selection of shopping facilities and bars and restaurants for you to check out and enjoy.


Next, the town called Murroe, located in the northeast part of County Limerick, offers scenic views and is your typical welcoming small village. Murroe was founded in the 1830s by a family known as the Barrington.

The town has grown and changed over the last 100 years. Back in 1922, only 116 people were living in the area. By 1956, that increased to 199 people. The population since 2000 has increased by an outstanding 700%; in 2002, there were 464 people, and now, in 2016, over 3000 people live in Murroe.

Newcastle West

Another historic town in Limerick is Newcastle West, which has around 7,000 people. The population has increased by nearly 50% over the last 25 years.

It is located on the banks of the River Arra and includes a lot of green open spaces that make for a relaxing environment. Around one in five people who live in Newcastle West weren’t born in Ireland but have created a home for themselves here.


The last town in County Limerick, Rathkeale, is southwest of Limerick City. It is a great town that people believe dates back to 1289. Many periods of settlements have influenced their surroundings and environment throughout the centuries.

Things to do in Limerick

King John’s Castle

You’ll find one of its most significant pieces of architecture and history in Limerick’s heart. It is considered one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval castles, built during the 13th century.  Many of its original features, including its walls, towers and fortifications, are still visible today.

The castle underwent a massive renovation from 2011 to 2013, spending over five million euros on improving its features. New features included a visitors centre, interactive exhibitions and a cafe that offers beautiful views of the nearby countryside.

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There is much to love about the visitor’s centre and exhibitions, where you can uncover 800 years of history and stories. The interactive exhibitions bring to life the history of Limerick through its 3D models and 21st-century technology. Young children will enjoy the many interactive activities found in the Education and Activity Room that they can take part in.

The castle is a treasure in Limerick and has to be on your list of places to visit while on a trip to the county.

Milk Market

To immerse yourself in Limerick culture, visit the famous Milk Market. The farmers market is a haven for those who love food, where you’ll be introduced to various fresh and homegrown produce.

It is not just the food that makes this market so unique; it also has much to do with the people and the place. Many of the stalls in the market are run by locals who take great pride in offering a piece of Limerick to visitors. There are 50 stalls and 21 shopping units to bring out your inner shopper. The market has also been known as a place of impressive culinary skills, where you can learn and get tips from some of the best.

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It is a great place to explore and discover exciting foods and new flavours. I also got to know the local community at one of the finest markets in Ireland, offering you a unique experience and a lovely atmosphere in Limerick.

You don’t need to worry about Irish weather ruining your experience as the market is completely weatherproofed. So, nothing stops you from visiting the ‘Milk Market’ in Limerick.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

This is one of Limerick’s most historic gems; no trip to the county would be complete without checking it out. The cathedral was founded by Donal Mor O’Brien in 1168 on the original site of a medieval palace. It is thought that parts of the palace are a part of the current design and structure of the cathedral. St. Mary’s Cathedral is still used today for its original purpose as a place of worship in Limerick.

The cathedral allows you to see some of the best medieval architecture in Ireland. It is open to the public daily between 9 am and 4 pm, where you can explore the beautiful architecture inside the cathedral and the outside design. It’s like a walk through time and history. From its gothic-style windows and medieval floors, it all tells an exciting story. Today, it remains the oldest building in Limerick, so that alone is enough to make you want to explore it further and uncover its secrets.

 St. John’s Square and Cathedral

Another great area to check out in Limerick is St. John’s Square and Cathedral, just a short walk from St. Mary’s Cathedral. If you wish to continue exploring Limerick’s impressive architecture, you’ll be in for a treat here. St. John’s Square consists of beautiful Georgian townhouses built during the 17th century. The area has a great history and a reminder of medieval Limerick.

Then we have St. John’s Cathedral, which boasts the tallest church spire in all of Ireland. The Gothic-style cathedral is another architectural treasure in Limerick.

Limerick City Gallery of Art

If you’re looking for the perfect opportunity to explore some great examples of Irish artwork, visiting the Limerick City Gallery of Art is a must. The gallery invites you to see some brilliant examples of contemporary art. It is the most extensive contemporary art gallery in the Mid-Western Region. The gallery is home to various Irish artwork collections dating back to the 18th century, right up to the 21st century.

One of the popular permanent collections found here is the Michael O’Connor Poster Collection. The collection is of historical and cultural significance and includes over 2,000 items of international posters.

There is also the National Collection of Contemporary Drawings, which a group of local artists creates. It holds over 200 pieces, and the gallery is trying to develop the collection to live up to its name.

Many great Irish artists’ works are on display at the Limerick City Gallery of Art, including Jack Yeats, Sean Keating, Grace Henry, and others. A cafe at the gallery also looks onto another attraction in Limerick, The Peoples Park.

Limerick City Gallery of Art
Limerick City Gallery of Art

The People’s Park

Located in Pery Square in Limerick, you’ll find this lovely park that was first opened in 1877. It was created in memory of well-known businessman Richard Russell. The park is the perfect place to take some time to enjoy the beautiful greenery. There is an incredible display of flowers and trees to be appreciated at the park.

Other notable features include a giant pillar in memory of Thomas Spring Rice, an MP of Limerick. There is also a refurbished drinking fountain, a children’s playground, a 19th-century bandstand and two gazebos.

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Hunt Museum

Named after its Benefactors, John and Gertrude Hunt, the museum opened its doors in 1997. This museum is unique and fun, and they actively encourage their visitors to explore and poke around their collections.

John and Gertrude were original antique dealers and collectors who were quite successful. They began collecting unique items that reflected their interests instead of using them for commercial purposes. Later in life, they became aware of the vast collection they had racked up. They wanted to share these items with others and met Dr Edward Walsh, who agreed to showcase parts of their collection. The Hunt Museum opened as an exhibition room at the University of Limerick. They then moved on to having their official museum in the city’s heart a few years later.

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There is a variety of original artefacts that have been gathered over a lifetime and are on display at the museum. As well as those items with international significance. Brilliant collections of items from the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Medieval times.

Other things that you can enjoy at the Hunt Museum are tours of the permanent collections, art and craft classes, activities and camps designed for children, lectures on different subjects and special events throughout the year. Parts of the museum can also be hired for events such as receptions, dinners, meetings, etc.

If you’re also looking to explore some tremendous 18th-century architecture in Limerick, then Custom House, where the museum is housed, is pretty spectacular.

Culture in Limerick

There is a reason why Limerick was named the ‘National City of Culture’. The place is steeped in arts, music, sports and literature traditions, making it even more exciting to visit. Limerick is also home to the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, two major performance art centres, and a concert hall. Therhalle also some fantastic festivals that take place in Limerick throughout the year. One of the biggest festivals in Limerick’s calendar is Riverfest.

Riverfest Limerick

If you are looking for the best time to visit Limerick, there is no better time than when the annual event, Riverfest, takes place. Riverfest is an annual family fun event over the May Day bank holiday weekend.

It celebrates and showcases Limerick’s best aspects, including arts, music, sports, fashion and food. It is a busy time in Limerick, with thousands of people heading to the city to participate in various fun and cultural activities. The four-day festival is not to be missed and is a great way to introduce people to the county and city.

Some of the best things to check out at the event are ‘Riverfest on the Shannon’, where you can participate in various exciting water activities, including Water Zorbing and Kayaking.

Last year’s event saw a visit from ‘Seabreacher Shark’, a crazy daredevil ride from New Zealand. It is an 18-foot shark craft that travels up to 80km per hour, reaching 18 feet high and doing other crazy tricks. Anyone looking to get out of their comfort zone and try something exciting will find this right up your street. Hopefully, it will be back again for the next Riverfest festival.

More Highlights From the Festival

Another popular highlight of the Riverfest is the BBQ competition, where communities come together to create a meal. The theme of the competition changes each year. Last year’s event was all about family fun and creating something from the heart. It is a foodie’s dream to try some great food by locals. It is also the largest BBQ competition in Ireland, so you won’t want to miss out.

This is just one of the great festivals in Limerick. Check out here to find out more exciting and interesting events in Limerick.

Sports in Limerick

One thing you might not know about Limerick is that it’s considered the Sporting Capital of Ireland. It is also the only city in Ireland to be awarded the ‘European City of Sport’ title. Sports are huge in Limerick. From traditional Irish sports to modern sports, they do it all and do it well.

The county has also created world-class sporting stars, including Irish Rugby player Paul O’Connell. Who, by the way, is the third most-capped player in Irish Rugby history?

Limerick is also home to world-class grounds, stadiums, and rugby teams, including Munster and their famous ground, Thomond Park.

Besides rugby, the county has had great success in GAA ( Gaelic Athletic Association), one of the oldest sports in Ireland. Limerick’s GAA teams have won a variety of All-Ireland Championships. The county has also produced boxing stars, including ‘Andy Lee’ who won a world title in 2014.

Sport has played a massive part in Limerick’s success and culture, and you’ll most likely find that they have a team for nearly every sport globally. Their fans and supporters are some of the most dedicated.

A Place Not to Be Forgotten

As you can tell, there is so much to love and experience in County Limerick that you’ll not want to leave anytime soon. History and culture are the two main features of Limerick, and with an undeniable beauty about the place. There are very few things not to like about the county; whether you’re a local or new to the area, Limerick will open its arms to you.

Worthy Reads About Places in Ireland

The Rich History of County Down| Take a Look at the Astounding Scenery of County Kerry| Kilkenny: The Splendid Reflection of the History of Ireland| Things You Shouldn’t Miss Out in County Fermanagh| The Mesmerising Beauty of County Sligo|

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