Our time in Limerick was infuriating. Why? During our Ireland road trip, we only allotted one day to tour the city, and I ached the whole time for more time to explore! The city has SO much more to offer than we realized, from arts, to nightlife, to historic castles. Let’s take a peek at lovely Limerick, shall we?
One of the most beloved tourist attractions in Limerick is King John’s Castle, which towers above the River Shannon. I cannot stress enough how impressed we were with this attraction, from our dramatic entrance to our tranquil departure. You see, we arrived at the door covered in vomit, as Devi had yuked all over himself and the car AGAIN (the first time being at the Cliffs of Moher), and the kindly staff helped us clean up. Now that’s above and beyond the call of castle duty!
But vomit-cleansing skills are not the reason King John’s Castle is famous, of course. It’s awesome because it has something for every age and taste. As you wander through the castle, each room has a different interactive exhibit, many of which are physical games that energetic kiddos positively relish.
Meanwhile, as an adult with even a wisp of interest in history, you will get chills learning the true tales of King John’s Castle. Constructed in the year 1200, the castle was the site of a dramatic siege in 1642 during which the Irish Confederates tunneled under the castle walls (shocking, given how fat castle walls are) and were about to collapse them when the Protestants inside surrendered. I won’t give away what the interactive exhibit in the castle involves for this, but I guarantee your kids will like it, and you may have to restrain yourself from partaking, too!
My favorite part of King John’s Castle was climbing the soaring turrets to the rooftop overlook of Limerick. What a cool city! Limerick is the third largest city in Ireland (behind Dublin and Cork) with a population of around 102,00 (er, 16.9 million people smaller than Istanbul, Turkey, but mighty nonetheless!). Limerick was inhabited by the Vikings in the 800s, was a key battleground in the 1600s between the Irish and British, became a prosperous port city in the early 1800s, and experienced an economic downturn by the mid-1900s. Happily, by the early 21st century, Limerick has started skyrocketing upward thanks to the 1959 construction of Shannon Airport (just 15 minutes away), and a concerted campaign to foster arts, tourism, and general fabulousness in the city.
We got to experience the exciting revitalization of Limerick at the beautiful boutique hotel, No. 1 Pery Square (click for rates and availability). Our room was elegant, yet welcoming, and when Colin went out to meet up with some people in town he knew, he reported that the hotel’s location turned out to be extremely convenient.
What was I doing while Colin was out enjoying Limerick’s pulsing nightlife? Stuffing my face with room service dessert — er, watching the baby diligently, of course!
Here is my favorite feature of No. 1 Pery Square: Their eatery, Sash Restaurant is SO GOOD. If Sash is any indication of Limerick’s up-and-coming food scene, I will be coming back to the city to eat my way through it. Some items on their summer menu include: “Fresh mussels with ham hock and house artisan cider sauce” and “Shallot tart tatin with chicory leaves, walnut, and blue cheese.” One of their side dishes is, “Duck fat roasties.” Oh… my… gosh.
Sash’s breakfast spread is out of this world, most notably featuring homemade scones so fluffy and buttery that all of us (Devi included) sighed, “Mmm… More!” at the first bite. Why are there so few photos of the actual food? Because — I sheepishly confess — I could not stop myself from eating before photographing! When a camera-obsessed travel blogger says that, you know the cookin’ was good.
So there you have a tantalizing taste of Limerick: a city on the rise that I am eager to return to soon. To close, let us gaze upon the room service tray that was delivered to my door the moment the baby was peacefully dreaming. The dish on the left was Colin’s, and my intention was to leave it intact until he returned from his night out on the town in Limerick. I’ll let you figure out how that turned out. (Burp!)
So what about you? Have you ever been to Limerick? What were your impressions, and do you agree that the city is on the rise? What did we miss in the painfully short time we had in the city? Do share!
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We were guests of No. 1 Pery Sq., but all opinions and unauthorized bites of husband dessert are my own.* So far, this article has been read by ... fans. Share it around! *