Limerick is about 2 ½ hours from Dublin via train, bus or car. It makes a nice lunch stop before continuing on your way to the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Killarney, or other amazing destinations in the west of Ireland. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the 13th century King John’s Castle. Have a fantastic, reasonably priced meal in one of Ireland’s top 100 restaurants. Stroll along the banks of the river Shannon and see some of the other sights of Limerick as you learn a bit about the history of Ireland’s third largest city, founded as the westernmost settlement of the Vikings in all of Europe.
The maps are interactive on the website www.walkli.com.
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1-A-King John’s Castle
Start this walk at King John’s Castle. Built between 1200 and 1210, the ancient ruin now houses an interpretative center containing a historical exhibition that tells the story of the Castle. The courtyard of the castle houses exhibits that highlight some of the trades and traditions of the 16th century. Archaeological excavations have revealed pre-Norman settlements and evidence from the siege of Limerick in 1642. The castle is open daily, except December 24-26, from 9:30 am until 5:00 pm. It is open until 6:00 pm in March and April and until 6:30 pm in June, July and August. The last admission is one hour before closing time. Adult admission cost is 10.50 Euros. Admission is free for children under the age of six, and admission for children age six to 16 is 6 Euros.
Note: If you are driving to the beginning of this walk, there is free parking in the King John’s Castle Visitors Car Park at the corner of Church Street and Castle Street.
2-B-Thomond Bridge over River Shannon
Turn to the left out of the castle and cross the Thomond Bridge over the river Shannon. This area has played a role in the defense of Limerick for centuries.
Limerick was attacked twice during the 1688-1691 Williamite War in Ireland between the Jacobites, Catholic supporters of King James II and the Williamites, Protestant supporters of Prince William of Orange. The second attack on Limerick in 1691 drove Irish defenders from the earthworks defending Thomond Bridge and about 800 of Limerick’s Irish Jacobites were killed or drowned in the River Shannon. The current, beautifully arched bridge was built in 1836 to replace an earlier version.
3-C-Saint Munchin’s Catholic Church
St. Munchin’s Church is just to the left after crossing the bridge. This Roman Catholic church was built in 1922 to an replace older church of the same name which had been on this site since the mid-1800’s as the Penal Laws, put in place against public practice of the Catholic faith after the Williamite War, were gradually relaxed. St. Munchin is the patron saint of Limerick. Munchin means “little monk” after the patron saint whose original name, but not his saintliness, has been forgotten with time.
Walk from the church toward the river Shannon. Walk to the stone monument along the river walk path.
The Treaty of Limerick, sealing the victory of the Protestant Williamites over the Catholic Jacobites, was signed on this stone at the end of the Williamite War in 1691. The large block of limestone had previously been used as a mounting block for horses.
5-E-The Curragower Bar and Restaurant
Continue walking with the river on your left until you see the Curragower Bar and Restaurant on the right overlooking the banks of the river Shannon. This pub is located in a building dating to the 1700’s. In 2017, it was named by the Irish Times as one of the 100 best places to eat in Ireland. There is indoor and outdoor seating, including a beer terrace on the front looking over the river. The well-stocked bar has a large selection of offerings, including Irish whiskeys and craft beers.
Food is served daily from noon until 8:00 pm on Monday and Tuesday and until 9:00 pm on Wednesday through Sunday. The bar is open later than food service hours, depending on crowds.
Food offerings include burgers, salads, sandwiches, fish and chips, mussels, soup, a delicious shellfish chowder, and a specialty grilled cheese sandwich made with parmesan and cheddar cheese on white tiger loaf bread. Most lunch items range from under 7 Euros to about 15 Euros. Many of the same items are served for dinner. Lamb, salmon, steak, and additional seafood entrees are also offered at dinner at prices below 24 Euros.
For updates, check the official website here/
6-F-Curragower Falls (Curragower Wave)
Walk back to the river where you will see The Curragower Falls, sometimes called the Curragower Wave, in the area of the river Shannon between the Curragower Pub and the Sarsfield Bridge are formed when the river drops over a rock ledge at certain tides. Often, it may look only like slight river rapids. But, when the river is high, the volume of water and the combination of low tide turn the falls into waves suitable only for experienced surfers. Some waves can be as high as six feet!
Cross the Shannon and walk on the right side of the Sarsfield Bridge. The 1916 Memorial is one of several erected in Ireland to commemorate the dead of the 1916 Easter Rising who fought for Ireland’s freedom from Great Britain. The bronze statues at the top of the memorial represent three local participants in the Easter Rising and a figure representing Mother Ireland.
8-H-St. Mary’s Cathedral (Limerick Cathedral)
Continue onto Sarsfield Street and turn left on Liddy Street. Walk through Arthur’s Quay Park, walking along the waterfront until you can turn right on Francis Street. Turn left at Rutland Street, walk across the bridge and turn left on Nicholas Street. St. Mary’s Cathedral will be on the left.
Limerick Cathedral (St. Mary’s Cathedral) was founded in 1168 and is the oldest building in Limerick in continuous, daily use. The 120-foot tower was added in the 14th century.
The church was built over a Viking government center that was the Vikings most westerly European settlement, and it is believed that the cathedral’s West Door may have been part of the original Viking settlement. The West Door is now used only on ceremonial occasions. The Bishops of Limerick knock on the door and enter as part of their installation ceremony.
During the sieges of Limerick, the defenders of the city used the stones around the West Door to sharpen their swords and arrows. The marks they made in the stonework can be seen there today.
Continue walking on Nicholas Street to return to the beginning of this walk to complete this round trip walk.
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Until next time, I hope all your travel days are just perfect!