Sure, Limerick’s notoriously rainy weather might not seem to encourage going out much, but a quick glimpse at our list of best Limerick sights should encourage you to grab your umbrella and go exploring.
Ways to entertain yourself in the Treaty City are plentiful, from galleries to get your culture on and pubs to grab a pint in, to Limerick’s vibrant foodie culture and rich Georgian architectural heritage. There’s even a stunning cathedral and castle (or two!) to explore.
Better still, Limerick city is small and easy to navigate, making it possible to flit between several of these attractions in the course of a single day.
Where to stay in Limerick: This four-star hotel in Limerick is within walking distance of the city’s best pubs, restaurants, theatres and galleries and ideally located for exploring the surrounding areas. It also houses a fitness centre, which is free for guests.
Flying to Limerick: Shannon International Airport, located just 20 minutes from Limerick, has flights to and from North America and several European destinations daily. Taxis into the city centre cost around €35.
Getting from Dublin to Limerick by train: The Dublin to Limerick train takes a little over 2.5 hours, with return tickets starting at €40.
1. King John’s Castle
With its breathtaking views of the Shannon river and striking round towers, King John’s Castle deserves its place as one of the top things to see in Limerick city.
Named after the brother of Richard the Lionheart, visitors here can learn all about the castle’s past in the interactive exhibitions before taking a stroll around the castle courtyard, which features a medieval campaign tent, blacksmith’s forge and a re-enactment of a 17th century castle siege.
Don’t forget to pack a picnic!
Opening hours: 9.30pm to 5.30pm daily
Admission: Adults €10, kids €5.25, €22 for family tickets
2. The Hunt Museum
It would be something of a tragedy not to include the Hunt Museum on our list of things to see in Limerick.
It’s very easy to find your day slipping away as you wander through the ins and outs of this bright and spacious culture hub, home to over 2,000 works of art and antiquity. The museum’s exhibitions span the Neolithic and Bronze Ages all the way to the 20th century, showcasing original works of art from the likes of Yeats, Renoid and Picasso.
Other highlights include artifacts from Greek, Roman and Egyptian civilizations, and there’s usually at least one touring exhibition running. Be sure to swing by the gift shop after you’re done exploring.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 5.00pm, 2.00pm to 5.00pm on Sundays and bank holidays
Admission: Free on Sundays, all other days €7.50 for adults, €5.50 for kids, €22 for family tickets
3. St. Mary’s Cathedral
Are old cathedrals your cup of tea? Do you have a soft spot for churchyards? Are you a bit of a stained glass geek? Then Limerick has something up its sleeve for you in the imposing St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Only a stone’s throw from the centre of Limerick, this cathedral is the oldest surviving building in the city. Limerick history, architecture and religion all collide in this house of worship, which was donated to the church by Donal Mor O’Brien King of Munster way back in 1168. The cathedral’s interior is airy, light-filled and plays host to many weddings over the summer months.
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 9.00am – 5.00pm, Friday and Saturday from 9.00am to 4.00pm, Sunday from 1.30pm to 4.00pm
4. The Milk Market
While Ireland has a great selection of food markets, you owe it to yourself to check out this particular foodie haven, with stalls offering a mouthwatering array of cheeses, homemade bread, pastries, organic vegetables and no shortage of specialty fish and meats.
The oldest weekly food market in the whole country, the Milk Market is a great place to see and taste Irish food and drink, all while chatting to local artisans. It’s also situated indoors, so poor weather is never a factor on a visit here.
5. The Frank McCourt Museum
This museum is dedicated to one of Limerick’s most famous exports, Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Angela’s Ashes.
Located in Frank and his brothers’ former school, the Frank McCourt Museum offers a faithful reconstruction of a 1930s Irish classroom (complete with original desks and wall hangings), as well as of the McCourt family home, giving visitors an insight into life in working-class Limerick in the middle of the 20th Century.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 11.00am to 4.30pm, Saturday and Sunday from 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Admission: €5 per person
6. The Treaty Stone
The Treaty Stone marks the spot where the 1691 Treaty of Limerick was said to have been signed, ending the Williamite War in Ireland between the Jacobites and supporters of William of Orange. A significant event in Ireland’s history, the treaty promised freedom of worship for Irish Catholics, who had previously been the subject of discriminatory legislation.
This promise was subsequently reneged on by Britain, further fueling the struggle for Irish independence over the following centuries.
7. Terra Nova Fairy Garden
Looking for things to do in Limerick with kids? Discover the magic of a fairytale garden with a visit to Terra Nova Fairy Garden, an award-winning children’s garden located just outside of Limerick city.
Canopied by tree ferns, Terra Nova is located just beside an ancient fairy fort and the former bogland in recent years has been transformed into a place of enchantment and whimsy. From the weaving fairy trails to the waterfalls and tropical Thai house, children will find a whole new world to explore here.
Opening hours: Open daily from 11.00am to 5.00pm
Admission: €3 per person, free for visitors aged two years or under (includes complimentary tea, coffee and juice)
8. Limerick City Gallery of Art
This museum in the heart of Limerick city has recently undergone extensive refurbishment (including a glass-walled sculpture valley that looks out over the People’s Park) and houses an extensive collection of artwork and sculptures by local, Irish and international artists.
In addition to its display of works from the permanent collection, Limerick City Gallery of Art hosts a robust offering of touring exhibitions that are ideal for any art lovers looking for things to do in Limerick.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10.00am to 5.00pm, Sunday from 12.00pm to 5.00pm
9. Ballyhoura Mountains
Looking to escape the city for the day? When it comes to activities in Limerick, it’s definitely worth exploring one of the county’s best assets – Ballyhoura Mountains!
The network of gentle and more challenging cycling trails as well as the stunning scenery and dramatic landscape have made these mountains a big hit among cyclists of all abilities.
High on our list of fun things to do in Limerick for adults is a visit to Dolan’s. You can’t miss this pub and music venue thanks to its eye-popping turquoise facade and prime location on St. Alphonsus Street, one of Limerick’s main streets.
Whether you’re looking for live music, the best whiskey and beer or just some craic, there’s no such thing as a bad time at this place. Locals also like to gather here en masse, so you’ll soon find yourself in the midst of new friends. Most nights showcase live musicians and the crowd often spills out onto the street for fish and chips afterwards.
11. Bunratty Castle
Meticulously restored in the 1960s to its original medieval glory, Bunratty Castle is one of the most visited tourist attractions near Limerick for good reason. Bring the kids and step into the castle’s turbulent history, which has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries.
Families can also dine back in time in Bunratty Castle’s immersive, interactive evening banquet feast complete with live music and medieval entertainment. Another kid-friendly highlight in Bunratty Village is the Folk Park, a recreation of 19th century rural village life in Ireland.