Limerick Attractions and Activities
Ryans Honey Farm
The bee garden is a successful attempt to put back in to the countryside what modern farming is rapidly taking out of it. It has created an area of blossoms, berries and fruit which have established an ecological cycle that interegrates the three kingdoms of plant, animal and man.
The Honey Farm is not an area of manicured lawns free of weeds. It is an open space full of maturing grasses and colourful wild flowers. Many maligned flowers such as dandelion are held in high regard and are given the recognition they deserve.
Animal Magic – Falconry and Conservation
We have been visiting Schools, Colleges and Libraries providing lectures on wild animals and birds, their habitats and lifestyles, for over 15 years. Our aims are to conserve our natural heritage of wild creatures and their habitats through education, captive breeding, rescue, care and rehabilitation.
We have entertained many thousands, not only with our Lectures but also with Falconry Displays and Mini Zoos at Fairs, Fetes and Corporate events.
Whatever the event, the thing that is of paramount importance to us is the welfare of the many birds and animals who act as ambassadors for their relatives in the wild.
Whether you are looking for Falconry Courses, Natural History Lectures, Mini Zoos, Ferret Racing or a combination one thing is certain, you will have the experience of a lifetime.
Askeaton Castle and Franciscan Friary
Askeaton Castle is a late 12th-century ruin located on the River Deel in Askeaton Town, County Limerick. It’s believed that William de Burgo established the castle, though the 15th-century friary is attributed to the 4th Earl of Desmond. The property’s banqueting hall is one of the finest mediaeval secular buildings in Ireland.
St Mary’s Cathedral
The Cathedral of St Mary Blessed Virgin occupies a very historic plot in Limerick City. In 1168, Donal Mor O’Brien, King of Munster, donated his palace, parts of which are possibly incorporated into the present structure. Previously, a Viking meetinghouse had been located there.
The cathedral’s architecture is a mixture of the Gothic and Romanesque styles. It contains many interesting features, such as a stone altar and Lepers’ Squint, an opening in the wall that permitted lepers to hear Mass and receive Communion.
In Adare, County Limerick, visitors can see the present Holy Trinity Abbey Church, which was once the country’s only Trinitarian abbey, founded in 1230. Apart from its religious purposes, the order worked to liberate Christian captives during the Crusades. The abbey was commonly referred to as the White Monastery due to the white habit worn by the monks.
After its suppression during the Reformation, the abbey fell into ruin and today, the remains comprise tower, nave and part of the church’s choir. In 1811, the Earl of Dunraven converted the remains into the present-day Catholic parish church.
Augustinian Abbey Adare
The Earl of Kildare founded the Augustinian friary at Adare, County Limerick in 1315. It was known as the Black Abbey due to the colour of the friars’ habit. Religious activities continued for about 200 years, until the community was suppressed in the mid-16th century.
Today, visitors can view the well-preserved cloisters as well as the church, in use by the Church of Ireland since 1807. Also not to be missed are the Quin and Dunraven families’ mausoleums.
Adare Franciscan Friary
In the lovely village of Adare, found just 20 minutes from Limerick City, visitors can view the well-preserved ruins of a Franciscan friary established by Thomas, Earl of Kildare, in 1464. The remains include a tower, nave, cloisters and living quarters.
The monastery had a turbulent existence, as it was briefly suppressed in 1539. The friars who had returned were later expelled in 1581.
Mass continues to be celebrated here each year on Easter morning.
The site is accessed through Adare Manor Golf Club. Visitors should check in with the clubhouse before proceeding onto the course to ensure safe access.
Killagholehane Cemetery and Church
In County Limerick, just 2km south of the village of Broadford, sits the 15th-century ruins of the Killagholehane Cemetery and Church. The site is thought to be the location of an earlier Christian church, established after a peculiar summertime snowfall that covered the entire area, except for the field where the ruins sit. The church was later dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows.
Now recognized as a National Monument, the site also includes an important Republican burial plot with a headstone commemorating the death of locals during the War of Independence.
The Frank McCourt Museum
The Frank McCourt Museum, in Limerick City, is a museum dedicated to the writer, and Pulizer Prize winner, Frank McCourt. McCourt is most famous for his book ‘Angela’s Ashes’, his memoir of his childhood in Limerick.
This tudor-style, listed building, ‘Leamy’s School’, was where Frank and his brothers received their early education. Leamy House (formerly known as Leamy School) is a tudor style, listed building with an interesting facade, complete with tower, turrets, ornamental chimneys and splendid gargoyles carved in limestone and sandstone.
The central area of the museum is a faithful re-creation of the former classroom of the 1930’s, with authentic desks and wall hangings. Visitors can imagine the young Frank and his friends sitting at these desks as the teacher ‘beat the education into them’.
Two rooms have been turned into a museum by Una Heaton and are a re-creation of the McCourts home in Roden Lane. Visitors can see first hand the living conditions expierienced by the McCourts and the other families who lived in the Lanes of Limerick.
The museum is open daily. Groups by appointment.
Adare Heritage Centre
Adare, which has been home to the Earls of Dunraven (Quin family) for over three centuries is located on the Limerick to Tralee road, the N21.
The Adare Heritage Centre allows you to step back in time through an informative historical exhibition, in the middle of this charming town with its many thatched houses.
This reconstruction of Adare’s unique past, from the arrival of the Normans to the foundation of ancient abbeys in the Middle Ages, is also retold in five different languages.
Adare Heritage Centre is home to a number of gift outlets, Adare Tourist Information Office, Adare Library and the seventy seater Dovecot Restaurant; savour some authentic Irish cuisine, from a hearty Irish breakfast to a light lunch in this casual bistro style restaurant.
The Centre is open all year and welcomes large groups on their way to Kerry. Ring in advance to organise food for large groups.
De Valera Museum and Bruree Heritage Centre
The De Valera Museum and Bruree Heritage Centre is dedicated to Eamon de Valera [1882-1975], former president of Ireland and one of the country’s most famous statesmen, it houses a unique collection of personal belongings of this historic figure, as well as a wide range of articles which record life in Bruree in the early 20th century.
This visitor centre is located where Eamonn de Valera grew up. The cottage in which he lived is now preserved and the national school he attended houses a museum dedicated to his memory.
The Heritage Centre uses audio visuals, graphic panels, set pieces and displays of personal memorabilia to tell the story of the village’s greatest son and of the area which is credited with forming his character.
Kilmallock Museum and History Trail
Kilmallock, in County Limerick, was one of Munster’s most important medieval towns, but not far away there is evidence of even earlier activity. Excavations at Tankardstown have uncovered an early farming settlement dating from around 4000BC. Kilmallock Museum has scale models of these Stone Age dwellings as well as a model of medieval Killmallock, complete with its old town walls.
More recently during the Irish Civil War the Kilmallock area was the scene of fierce fighting, this time is also covered by the Kilmallock Museum exhibits. Other exhibits tell the industrial rural and social history of the area.
Visitors can also avail of a guided tour of Kilmallock Town starting at the museum. There are thirteen main points of interest to follow on the tour that are marked on a tourist map of Kilmallock that is available in selected shops.
Kilmallock is also the resting place of the late Gaelic poet Aindrias Mac Craith or as he was known by his pen name an Mangaire Sugach. A recording of his most famous poem Slán le Maigh, set to music, can be heard at the museum.
The Hunt Museum
The Hunt Museum houses a diverse collection of antiquities and fine and decorative art, in Limerick City. It reflects the interests of the two people who formed it, John and Gertrude Hunt. There are artefacts from Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Olmec civilisation. There is also an important collection of Irish archaeological material ranging from Neolithic flints and Bronze Age material, including a Bronze Age shield and cauldron, to later Christian objects such as the unique 9th century Antrim Cross. One of the strengths of the collection is the medieval material, which include statues in stone and wood, painted panels, jewellery, enamels, ivories, ceramics, crystal and crucifixes.
18th and 19th century decorative arts are also represented with fine examples of silver, glass and ceramics. Artists’ works in the collection include Pablo Picasso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Roderic O’Conor, Jack B Yeats, Robert Fagan and Henry Moore.
Donated to the people of Ireland by John and Gertrude Hunt, their generosity ranks highly in the nations history.
The museum also has an excellent gift shop and restaurant. Get there early if you’re going for lunch for a great view of the river. Many locals enjoy this jewel in Limerick and there is no admission charge to this part of the museum.
Limerick City Museum
Limerick City Museum, renamed the Jim Kemmy Municipal Museum, won the first Gulbenkian Award in 1992.
Its comprehensive displays illustrate the long and varied history of Limerick City and its surrounding area.
Situated in this historic part of the city, the buildings in Castle Lane were built in 1998 and are meant to represent the styles of building found in Limerick in the past.
The Museum is in the warehouse style building at the front of the lane while further down the row are recreations of brick fronted Georgian houses with so called ‘Dutch Billy’ roofs, a low cage work (timber-framed) house and a medieval tavern.
The award winning museum collection includes civic antiquities, Stone and Bronze Ages and Medieval artefacts, beautiful examples of Limerick lace, a trades history display and a currency display.
Owned and run by Limerick City Council, the museum was renamed the Jim Kemmy Municipal Museum in honour of the local politician, former mayor and TD, in 2000.
The Treaty Stone is a rough-hewn limestone block raised on a pedestal standing across the river Shannon from King John’s Castle in Limerick City.
Traditionally it is said that it was on this rock that the Treaty of Limerick was signed in the sight of both armies at the Clare end of Thomond Bridge on the 3rd of October 1691.
The treaty marked the surrender of the city to the army of William of Orange. Under the terms, a promise was made to respect Catholicism, but the treaty was rejected by the English and Irish Parliaments and its terms were ignored. Thus Limerick became known as The City of the Broken Treaty.
The stone rests on a pedestal that was erected in May 1865 by John Rickard Tinslay, mayor of the city. The pedestal is decorated with an image of the castle, on the opposite side of the River Shannon, which is surmounted by a dome and cross, signifying that Limerick was a cathedral city. This symbol is now the civic insignia of Limerick Corporation while the Latin inscription is taken from Virgil’s description of Troy.
Lough Gur Visitor Centre
Lough Gur Visitor Centre, in Lough Gur County Limerick, houses a number of exhibitions detailing the fascinating archaeological finds in this area.
An audio visual show and display panels on the geology, botany, zoology and archaeology of the area are combined with local folklore and Celtic Festivals while the centre also houses replicas of famous finds in the area.
These include Stone Age pottery, the famous Bronze Age Lough Gur Shield (now housed in the National Museum) and the Countess of Bath chalice and paten.
Such a rich archaeological area provides evidence about the activities of the first farmers in the region, their dwellings, rituals, and burial sites as well as their tools and implements.
The social history of the Lough Gur region includes famous emigrants such as Boss Croker, and the lough Gur Visitors Centre records his influence on New York politics. There is also information on Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy’s ancestors.
Foynes Flying Boat Museum
Visit the Foynes Flying Boat Museum in County Limerick which tells about the brave world of transatlantic air travel.
The museum has a comprehensive range of exhibits and graphic illustrations. You can learn about the history of the flying boats in an authentic 1940’s cinema, featuring the award winning film ‘Atlantic Conquest’. Or marvel at the only Boeing B314 replica in the world.
The museum also showcases the original terminal building, radio and weather room, compete with transmitters, receivers and Morse code equipment.
Foynes was where Irish Coffee was invented. Chef Joe Sheridan made the first in 1942 to warm up some damp and miserable passengers and since then Irish Coffee has become one the most popular welcoming drinks in the world. There is a great 3D hologram that re enacts this auspicious event.
The newly redeveloped Thomond Park Stadium, in Limerick, is the iconic home ground of Munster rugby. Follow in the footsteps of your Munster heroes by taking a look behind the scenes at the historic Thomond Park Stadium. The stadium tour takes you to places that are only accessible to the players and officials on match days, so from a walk down the tunnel to a seat in the home dressing room, the stadium tour gives you the unique opportunity to experience how the Munster players feel on big match days.
The full stadium tour consists of a museum visit and film, plus visits to pitch side, the Munster dugout, the home and away dressing rooms and the post match interview area.
The new stadium’s spectacular interactive museum showcases the proud history and heritage of Munster rugby, including an impressive range of memorabilia. This includes the match ball from the famous victory against the All Blacks in 1978 and the actual Heineken Cup trophy itself. The museum also contains fantastic interactive displays and touch screens suitable for all ages. Another feature is a specially commissioned film titled ‘We are Munster’ that portrays the tradition and history of the club and the unique bond that it shares with its loyal supporters.
Both walk in visitors and pre arranged bookings are welcome, but booking is recommended in advance in order to avoid disappointment.
*Tours are not available on the day before match days or on match days due to operational requirements.
Glin Castle Gardens
Glin Castle is the home of Desmond Fitzgerald, 29th Knight of Glin. The Castle was built in the 1780’s on the south shore of the River Shannon. The garden has been extensively restored and includes a formal garden, pleasure grounds and a kitchen garden. Glin Castle is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book and also Houses, Castles and Gardens of Ireland.
Location: Situated 50kms from Limerick on the N69 towards Tarbert. 7 kms from Tarbert/ Killimer car ferry.
An award-winning 3-acre garden that enjoys a wonderful location overlooking the scenic Shannon Estuary in West Limerick. The dwelling house stands over 200 yards above road level, with the garden descending around this highest point. The gardens are a haven for enthusiasts and contain a variety of colour through the collections of rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, bamboos, primulas, poppies and many varieties of tree ferns and grasses. The garden is divided into different levels with pools and water features among the plants.
Roses, clematis, perennials, an arboretum and a large collection of hydrangeas offer interest throughout the flowering seasons.
There are many large mature trees including maples, red horse chestnut, palm, oak, monkey puzzle, cedar and magnolia.
Situated: Off the N69, 1.6km on the Limerick side of Foynes.
Terra Nova Gardens
A beautiful designed and richly planted half-acre garden, which has featured on RTE Radio ‘Planting Passions’, twice in both ‘The Irish Garden’ magazine and the ‘Sunday Times’ and was awarded ‘Best Garden in the 32 Counties’ in the All-Ireland Viking Irish Garden Competition 2005 awards presentation in the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin, 26 September 2005. A plantsman’s paradise, full of imaginative features and unusual plants around every corner. The garden is also home to Terra Nova Plants, a small nursery that specialises in rare and out of the ordinary plants. See our website for list of the plants/seeds and photos.
A beautiful rural prizewinning garden comprising 2 acres of mature trees and shrubs in a farm setting. It contains an extensive herbaceous border with many unusual perennials. The garden contains a pool, pergola and arches covered with roses, clematis, jasmine and a topiary section called ‘Animal Farm’. Another hidden gem is the vegetable plot and orchard full of various kinds of vegetables and fruit.
Kilmallock was one of the most important towns in Munster during the 13th and 14th centuries whe the town walls, castles, gatehouses and magnificient churches were built, so well build in fact that many of them remain for you to visit. Take in an art exhibition, play, film or show at the Friars Gate Theatre which is also home to the Ballyhoura Heritage Centre. Visit Kilmallock Museum which reflects local life during the 19th and 20th centuries and houses a model Kilmallock in medieval times. Ramble around the medieval town or enjy a guided walking tour that departs from Kilmallock Museum at 12 noon daily.
Medieval Limerick On Kings Island
The Administrative Heart of the City:
From earliest times the administrative centre of the city was situated in English Town first with the construction of King John’s Castle and later with the establishment of the Tholsel, which was the city’s first town hall, build in 1449. Though the city has experienced many changes over the centuries, the administrative centre of the city is still situated on the Island. The present City Hall building on Merchant’s Quay was built in 1990 not far from the ‘Thingmount’ (a Viking counsel chamber and court of justice) where it is reported that the Viking’s established the first local authority for Limerick City over a millennium ago.
Gleann an Choim (Glen of the Shelter) is one of the finest tower houses to survive from the 16th century. Open to the public during the summer this castle was a fortified dwelling, for the protection against raids and invaders, more correctly described as a Tower House.
The castle has had restoration works carried out and is in a good state of repair.
Desmond Castle Adare
This castle was erected with an ancient ring-fort, around the early part of the 13th century. It became a strategic fortress during the following turbulent years.
It was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years until the rebellion in 1536, when it was forfeited and granted to the Earls of Desmond who gave the castle its present name.
West Limerick preserves many of Ireland’s surviving spacious medieval halls. The desmond banqueting hall is an imposing two-storey structure and was used by the Earls of Desmond for banqueting and entertainment. The Hall, vaulted lower chamber and adjoining tower were all constructed during the 15th century (the hall and chamber were built on the remains of a 13th century structure of similar size). Its restored medieval features include and oak musicians’ gallery and a limestone hooded fireplace.
Location: Newcastlewest town centre, between Limerick city and Killarney, off N21. 40kms from Limerick City and 65kms from Killarney.
Glenstal Abbey was built in the 1830s for the Barrington family. It was designed as a castle in 12th century style. It has a great gate and a massive drum tower that resembles the one at Windsor Castle. The Barringtons moved to England in the 1920s and in1927 sold the castle and lands to the Benedictine Order. It became an abbey in 1957.
Visitors are welcome to Glenstal Abbey. They can walk in the extensive grounds and in the seventeenth-century terrace garden, participate in the community’s worship (at set times throughout the day), visit the Icon Chapel (by arrangement) and browse in the Abbey Book and Gift Shop.
King John’s Castle
This castle, on King’s Island in the heart of medieval Limerick City, overlooks the majestic River Shannon and offers wonderful views of Limerick City.
Discover history at its best, magnificent views and life in Norman times. Explore 800 years of history brought to life in the imaginative historical exhibition, excavated pre-Norman houses, fortifications, siege mines and the battlement walks.
King John, as Lord of Ireland, minted his own coins and the Royal moneyer would have struck the coins in the castle mint. Today you can receive your own special coin as a souvenir of your visit to the castle. The sights, scenes and sounds of the castle and its environs all combine to recreate the atmosphere of the era.