Limerick’s History and Heritage

Now a modern and vibrant city to match any in Europe, Limerick’s history goes back over 1,100 years, making Limerick’s heritage unrivalled by few cities in the country. Founded by the Vikings around 922AD, Limerick has an array of historical sites one of which is St Mary’s Cathedral, the oldest building in Limerick and one that is still in use today.

The culture of Limerick has been shaped by the city’s eventful history. King Johns Castle and the walls of Limerick were built by the Normans who captured the city in 1195. Further afield yet still within driving distance of Limerick City you will find one of the most important archaeological sites in Ireland. Lough Gur dates back 5,000 years. County Limerick offers so much history from castles and medieval monuments to one of the country’s largest stone circles all located in some of Ireland’s most beautiful villages.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

St. Mary’s Cathedral is located in Limerick city centre and it has a beautiful architectural presence that is hard to miss. Known as the oldest building in Limerick it is immersed in history, with a graveyard also on site. The church is still in use today, with regular masses taking place for the public to attend.

King John's Castle

This famous castle, originally built in the 13th century was reopened in June 2013, following a multi-million euro investment and has since become one of the top historical attractions in Limerick. The brand new visitor centre with state of the art interpretive activities and exhibitions profiles each aspect of the Castle’s history from its humble beginnings. After your tour of the castle, you can visit the café while enjoying the castle views and the River Shannon.

The whole experience of the visit to King Johns Castle has been brought into the 21st Century with computer generated animation, 3D models projections and an activity room. The whole family will love this new interactive experience while travelling through time. Children will love The Education and Activity Room, bustling with tasks to stimulate curious minds.

The outside courtyard remains as it did in medieval times with sights and sounds bringing you back to the seventeenth century.

The Treaty Stone

Limerick’s history is no more evident than at The Treaty Stone. The Treaty of Limerick signed on 3rd October 1691 after the Irish Army called for a truce to end the 1691 siege thus ending the 9-year Williamite war in Ireland. The treaty was signed on a large piece of Limestone rock which for some years had laid by its present location on Clancys Strand, beside the River Shannon and opposite King John’s Castle. The Stone was erected on a pedestal and today is one of Limerick’s most famous landmarks.

Lough Gur

Begin your tour at the visitors centre where you can get to experience the history of the area from the Mesolithic Era through to the 19th century. Home to Ireland’s oldest stone circle, evidence of occupation of the area has been found from Neolithic, Bronze age, Iron age, Medieval times.

The history and beauty of the area are incredible and during your tour, you will see houses dating back to the Neolithic age, climb Hangmans rock, and experience the Grange stone circle. Lough Gur is one place that you don’t want to miss during your visit to Limerick.

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park is a must on your itinerary to Ireland. This is your chance to experience Ireland’s past and explore the famous 15th century Castle and the 19th century Folk Park

Built back in 1425 the castle was restored in 1954 to its former glory and now contains furnishings, tapestries, and artwork from the 15th and 16th century which capture the mood of those times.

Enjoy the sights and sounds, tastes and smells of this enchanting place as you stroll around the Folk Park, from street to street, passing the school and the post office, the doctor’s house and an array of shops. Oh, and of course the local pub.

Village of Adare

Located on the River Maigue and within a 20-minute drive of Limerick is the famous village of Adare. Historically a market town, Adare is home to Desmond Castle. Built strategically on the river crossing, the castle was first mentioned in 1226 and organised tours can be arranged.

Adare is also home to the Augustinian Priory, Franciscan Abbey, Trinitarian Abbey and of course the famous Adare Manor. Adare Manor is located on 840 acres of parkland, home to the amazing Adare golf course.


Set in 50 acres of woodland, Craggaunowen is an open-air museum centred around a 16th-century Towerhouse and early historic dwellings. The park shows examples of Bronze age dwellings called Crannog’s, a Ring Fort, Dolmen (which are Neolithic tombs) and a Standing stone.

The site is also home to a reconstruction of the boat reputed to have been sailed by Saint Brendan in the mid 6th century from Ireland to Newfoundland. Craggaunowen is located approximately 30km from Limerick city.

Maldron Hotel Limerick

Maldron Hotel Limerick is conveniently located directly off the N18 motorway from Shannon and is the ideal location for guests visiting Limerick city or using Limerick as a base for touring the southwest region.

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