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Limerick, Ireland: We Didn’t Expect How Great It Is!

Hello, Limerick, Ireland! You offer a lot!
Hello, Limerick, Ireland. You offer a lot!

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?

King John's Castle is one of the best places to go in Limerick with kids.
King John’s Castle is a perfect place to go in Limerick with kids.

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!

Underground in King John's Castle, looking at the ruins being excavated.
Underground in King John’s Castle, admiring the ruins being excavated.

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.

Each room inside the castle has a different interactive exhibit.
Each room inside the castle has a different interactive exhibit.

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!

Looking down from King John's Castle over the River Shannon.
Looking down from King John’s Castle over the River Shannon.

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.

Me walking into our Limerick hotel with my hip red pants.
Me walking into our Limerick hotel with my hip red pants.

Note: We were guests of the hotel, and some links here are affiliates that provide a small commission at no extra cost to you, but all views are our own!

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!

Our classy, cuddly boutique hotel room.
Our classy, cuddly boutique hotel room.

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.

Even before you get the amazing food, Sash Restaurant looks yummy.
Even before you get the amazing food, Sash Restaurant looks yummy.

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.

Devi got right to drawing a masterpiece with the crayons kindly provided.
Devi got right to drawing a masterpiece with the crayons Sash kindly provided.

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!)

We ordered our dessert to be delivered in room service. Yum! My chocolate mouse was rapidly devoured.
I ordered dessert via room service. Yum, Limerick. Yum!

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!

Enjoy this article and still planning your trip? These affiliate links are here to help! Click here for an easy link to Limerick hotels, here for cheap flights to Ireland, and here for deals on Ireland rental cars, as it will give a small commission to help support this site at no cost to you. Happy travels!

We were guests of No. 1 Pery Sq., but all opinions and unauthorized bites of husband dessert are my own.


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Wednesday 30th of December 2015

Wonderful post! I am from Cuba but lived in Limerick for almost a year, 10 years ago. Your post just brought back the best memories. Thank you very much & make sure to hit the Milk Market & witness a Munster match next time. Happy 2016!


Wednesday 30th of December 2015

Thanks, Daimis! :)

Izy Berry

Tuesday 14th of July 2015

This place is stunning is like you are in movie !! i love the feeling that you are in place that have a lot of history


Wednesday 8th of July 2015

Thanks for your nice comments about Limerick. Make sure you come back when there is a Munster match on.


Thursday 9th of July 2015

Oooh -- That would be fun!


Wednesday 8th of July 2015

This makes me proud of my hometown Limerick. Thank you for writing such a lovely piece! If you return to Limerick, the Milk Market on a Saturday morning is a lovely place -amazing food on offer and cute little handcrafted knick-knacks for sale.

If you get a chance for a night out, go to Dolan's pub for live music and concerts. Be sure to check out the line up first though, if you're lucky they might have a live traditional session!

If it's food you're after then both Chocolat and Cornstore are quite nice and with a sophisticated feel. Chocolat has a variety of different dishes, often with an Asian twist. (I recommend trying the Yang Pan chicken -heaven!) Half of the restaurant is located underground and you often don't get a mobile phone signal there but I see this as a plus -less distractions and more time to appreciate the fantastic food.

Cornstore has a varied menu with vegetarian and seafood options but also big juicy steaks. I once ordered slow roasted pork belly from there and instantly fell in love! They also have a cocktail bar if you're feeling fancy.


Thursday 9th of July 2015

Excellent suggestions. Thanks!

Dave Winston

Thursday 2nd of July 2015

What a wonderful post! I didn't know that Limerick was such a nice place and thanks for bringing it to us. I have read thousands of blogs describing travel experiences in New York, Paris etc (no offense to those cities they're all great) but knowing about some city that seldom (or even never) gets highlighted is something to be cherished. Good clicks especially the one looking down from King John's castle and your hotel entryway.

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