The pre-history of Limerick (from the Irish, Luimnigh) is largely obscured by the travails of the Vikings, who were inclined to destroy every record of Irish culture to have had the misfortune of interceding with their claim to history. And so, Limerick is forced to find its origins in the 812 Viking settlement of King’s Island (on the River Shannon). The city in its entirety was located within fortifying walls. Its motto: “Urbs antiqua fuit studiisque asperrima belli,” meaning “An ancient city well versed in the arts of war.” And indeed, the walled fortress was used by the Vikings as a base from which to conduct destructive raids along the River Shannon.

The last King, Ivar of Limerick, was slain by Brian Boru in 977, whose descendants continued to rule the city for the next two hundred years. The great-great-great grandson (phew!) of Boru, Brian Boru, torched the city in 1174 in an attempt to thwart the oncoming Norman invasion, but it didn’t work. By the time the Normans completed the exalted King John’s Castle in 1200, the city had already expanded its territory to the south bank of the river. It and many other historic monuments including courtyards, churches, cathedrals, and of course surrounding walls remain, intact, on this unique island.

Unmissable Attractions Limerick City

King John’s Castle

1. King John’s Castle (Opening Times: Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. – 5.30 p.m.) Prices: Adults €9.00 / Children €5.50 / Senior citizens and students €6.65 / Family Ticket (2 Adults and 2 Children) €20.60

2. Hunt Museum (Opening Times: Monday to Saturday from 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Sunday and Bank Holidays from 2.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.) Prices: Adults €5.00 / Adult concession (senior and 3rd level student) €3.50 / Children €2.50 / Family €12.00

3. Bishops Palace (Opening Times: Monday – Friday from 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m)

4. Limerick City Hall (Opening Times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. Thursday from 10.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m. Saturday from 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. and Sunday from 2.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.)

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