Big attraction only 8 miles from Limerick City.
Bunratty Castle History
The site on which Bunratty Castle stands was in origin a Viking Trading Camp in 970. The present structure is the last of four castles to be built on the site. Robert De Muscegros, a Norman, built the first defensive fortress (an earthen mound with a strong wooden tower on top) in 1250. His lands were later granted to Thomas De Clare who built the first stone castle on the site. About this time Bunratty became a large town of 1,000 inhabitants.
The castle was restored for the King of England but was laid waste in 1332 by the Irish Chieftains of Thomond under the O'Briens and MacNamaras. It lay in ruins for 21 years until it was rebuilt by Sir Thomas Rokeby but was once again attacked by the Irish and the castle remained in Irish hands thereafter.
The powerful MacNamara family built the present structure around 1425 but by 1475 it had became the stronghold of the O'Briens, the largest clan in North Munster. They ruled the territory of North Munster and lived in great splendor. The castle was surrounded by beautiful gardens and it was reputed to have a herd of 3,000 deer.
Under Henry VIII's 'surrender and re-grant' scheme, the O'Brien's were granted the title 'Earls of Thomond' and they agreed to profess loyalty to the King of England. The reign of the O'Briens came to an end with the arrival of the Cromwellian troops and the castle and its grounds were surrendered. The O'Briens never returned to Bunratty but later they built a beautiful residence at Dromoland Castle, now a luxury 5 star hotel.
Bunratty was to return to its former splendor when Viscount Lord Gort purchased it in 1954. The extensive restoration work began in 1945 with the help of the Office of Public Works, the Irish Tourist Board and Shannon Development. It was then opened to the public in 1960 as a National Monument and is open to visitors year round. It is the most complete and authentically restored and furnished castle in Ireland.
On the main O'connell street of the city, look out for a rather fine bronze statue outside the AIB bank (unless the bank is bankrupt and has disappeared by the time you read this). It features the two sporting obsessions of the county...hurling and rugby. As these two codes used to be at loggerheads with each other so that the twain should never meet...it was perhaps a little daring of the artist Robin Buick to put them together on the same pedestal.
Limerick are often there or thereabouts when it comes to the finals of the two GAA games, huring and gaelic footbal in the autumn. When it comes to rugby the Munster teams has had great success in recent years including a win over the Australians in 2010 !
World famous is the term 'Limerick'. Although primarily popularised by Edward Lear and his Victorian collections of nonsense verse the exact origins are something of a mystery.
What I can tell you is that there is plaque located on O'connell street (not telling you where, you can find it for yourself) that has this great limerick carved into its stone slab.
"The Limerick is furtive and mean
You must keep her in close quarantine
or she sneaks up to the slums
and promptly becomes
disorderly drunk and obscene"
I'm not sure of its origins, but if i read it right, it hardly seems very complimentary to the womenfolk of the town !
P.s I was going to give you my favourite Limerick, but G would kick me off for promoting sexual depravity.
Craggaunowen 'The Living Past' tells the story of the arrival of the Celts in Ireland and the many changes they wrought upon daily life. Their impact is evidenced in the creation of new tribal lake dwellings, farming and hunting methods which are explained by the costumed animators.
At Craggaunowen we are attempting to recreate aspects of Ireland's past with the restoration and re-constructions of earlier forms of dwelling houses, farmsteads, hunting sites and other features of everyday life during the Pre-historic and Early Christian eras.
John Hunt bought the land at Craggaunowen; following his excavation of Lough Gur. He then set about the restoration of the castle and began the construction of a modern museum display, including the reconstructed ‘crannog’ and ‘ring fort’. He eventually donated the site to the Irish people.
The Ring Fort
Ring forts, of which there are about 40,000 examples throughout Ireland, were the standard type of farmstead during the early Christian Period (5th -12th centuries AD). Within the circular earthen bank or stone walls, the inhabitants carried out their every-day farmyard activities: they cooked over open fires or in pits; corn was ground for making bread or porridge on hand -powered querns; pottery was made and wooden bowls, goblets and platters were turned on pole lathes.
The contemporaries of the people living in Ring forts produced the magnificent artefacts of the Golden Age - the Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch, the Book of Kells, the Derrynaflan Hoard and many other masterpieces.
April - October - 10:00 - 18:00 | May - August - 09:00 - 18:00
Last Admission - 1 hour prior to closing. *Opening Times are subject to change.
Craggaunowen is located near the village of Quin, Co. Clare. The route is clearly sign posted at several junctions on the main N18 Limerick-Galway route, off the R462 from Cratloe, and the R469 from Ennis.
Distance in kilometers from:
Killaloe Heritage Centre
A scenic navigation location waiting to be discovered where the Shannon River flows out of Lough Derg. The imaginative exhibition charts the history of Killaloe and its Celtic and nautical significance. An important feature is the place of Brian Boru (940-1014) High King of Ireland who was born in Killaloe. The arrival of Christianity and the monastic tradition is also featured. The tourist office has a full range of services including reservations for cruiser hire, accommodation, Medieval Banquets, Irish Nights and so on.
Killaloe Heritage Centre elaborates on the theme of Celtic Ireland. The birth place of Brian Boru (940-1014), the greatest High King of Ireland, is just a few miles from the Village. The visit features an audio-visual presentation of the route the canal boat took while making deliveries from Dublin to Limerick.
Regal Killaloe, once the capital of Ireland as the 11th century seat of heroic King Brian Boru, is now the serene centre of leisure activity on Ireland’s natural water park, Lough Derg. Killaloe bridges the centuries, as well as connecting counties Clare and Tipperary with its distinctive 13 arch bridge linking Killaloe to the pretty village of Ballina. Here one can while away the hours observing or participating in cruising, sailing, and a range of water activities. The canal was opened in 1799 to bypass the rapids on the river. It was a vital link in the navigation route between Limerick and other ports on the Shannon. The canal became redundant in 1929 when the water level was raised over the rapids due to the opening of a hydro-electric station at Ardnacrusha. Interestingly, the lock keepers house is now the site of the Heritage Centre.
May - September - 10:00 - 18:00
Located in the Tourist Office in the Lock Keepers House. At the Killaloe end of the Killaloe/Ballina Bridge.
Distance in kilometres from:
Limerick City 22 | Shannon Airport 30 | Dublin 180
Lough Gur is one of Ireland’s most important archaeological sites. The visitor centre tells the story of Pre-Celtic Ireland dating back to 3000 BC. The interpretation includes a slide show, imaginative exhibition models and interpretative panels.
Highlights of a visit include:
Remains of a small farmstead which was built on this natural platform about 900 AD.
Replicas of Stone Age Pottery and other artefacts depicting the life-styles of the first inhabitants of the area.
Replica of the Bronze Age Lough Gur Shield now on exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland.
Replicas of the Chalice and Paten of the Countess of Bath.
Historical information on the geology, botany and social history of Lough Gur.
With its lake sheltered by limestone hills, this tranquil place of pre-historic mystery and story is notable for the variety of bird life as well as for the wealth of antiquities. The story of the Pre-Celtic settlers stretches back over 5,000 years and continues to the present day in the people who still farm and dwell in the valley. It is an archaeological site of outstanding significance. The visitor centre was built in 1980 and uses two of the excavated Stone Age houses as its floor plan: House sites A, rectangular, and house site C, circular. Its roofs are thatched and wattle hurdle fences surround the building.
The centre houses a number of display cases telling the story of the manufacture and use of flint and bronze material and their eventual deposition in the area as well as their recovery - whether as a result of scientific excavation or random finds.
May - September- 10:30 - 18:00
Last Admission - 17:30
Take the N20 route from Limerick City heading towards Cork. Take a left at the Village of Croom and travel onto Bruff. Follow the directional signs to Lough Gur Heritage Centre.
Distance in kilometres from:
Shannon Airport 45 | Limerick City 21
Every Saturday morning from 9:00 to about 2:00pm farmers and other merchants gather around for the market. Although there are better markets, this is still not a place you should miss. Here you can get fresh vegetables (with the dirt still on them), homemade bread and jams, cheese, flowers, and butter. The prices are extremely reasonable, so it might be a great idea to shop here for a picnic lunch.
I go shopping here almost every Saturday, and it's always a nice break from daily life.
To Get There:
Take O'Connell Street up (northward) until it becomes Patrick St. and turn right on to Ellen St, you'll be there.
Kilcornan Karting offers the ultimate karting experience available in Ireland. Based just outside Limerick, you can take a quick 15 minute "arrive and drive" session or the full Grand Prix. The track is well recognised on the Irish Karting Circuit and has been host to many All Ireland finals over the years. It offers an excellent challenge to beginner and expert alike. Floodlights are installed for those dark winter nights and we race no matter what the weather throws at us. For a truly amazing experience, come karting at Kilcornan Karting. Opening hours are 12:00 Midday to 9pm seven days a week.
Travelling from Limerick City, take the N69 (Foynes Road) southwest. Pass through Mungret, Clarina and Kildomo. As you arrive into Kilcornan, you will see a church on your right. Take the next right turn and we are in on your left. If you have any difficulty finding us, just call!
St John's Cathedral
The Cathedral of St John the Baptist is the present day Cathedral in Limerick City. The link between St John the Baptist and the area around the Cathedral is long standing. According to Begley, the Knights Templars had a house in the area in the 12th century that was dedicated to John the Baptist.
After the Synod of Rathbrassil in 1111, St Mary's church became the first cathedral church of the Diocese of Limerick. According to local tradition, Donal O'Brien, the King of Thomond, donated his palace as the new site for a Cathedral in the latter half of the twelfth century. As the Synod of Rathbrassil occurred in the first half of the twelfth century, this tradition is certainly false. Brian Hodkinson suggests that during Donal's reign, the church moved to a new site on land provided by Donal. However, following the Reformation, this Cathedral became the property of the Church of Ireland.
A very nice church steeped in history, the steeple can be seen for many miles around.
The People's Park is situated across the road from Colbert train station. The have recently installed a very nice playground for young kids. This playground is very safe and enjoyable for kids.
A nice place to walk your dog (provided it's on a lead) and nice place to relax and enjoy a nice summer afternoon.
There are four structures in total in the People's Park, a bandstand, a drinking fountain and two shelters. To-date the council have completely cleaned down the drinking fountain and have revealed the original ornate detail on the columns. Cast iron replicas of missing original features will be provided in phase 2. Work is well advanced in restoring one of the shelters (now completed). This was completely derelict and very soon it will be reinstated back to its former splendour of Victorian time.
Pay a visit to the Park on a summer or autumn afternoon. You wont regret it.
I will be getting a beating for informing you people of this little treat.
This is something special and had this been any other area of Ireland this would be a big tourist attraction.
I won't fully inform you of how to get to it but i will help you along the way. Leave the city along the road to Foynes, when you get to the village of Mungret ( 4 miles) continue onwards until you reach Kildimo ( 8 miles). Continue on from here You will pass a pub( used to be painted yellow please excuse how vague this is as i haven't been there in 7 years.) Continue on up the hill from the pub and at the top of the hill you take the first right( be careful as the turn is on a bit of a blind bend). At this point you should now be on a very potholed filled road, just keep driving and look to your left about 2 miles down the road you will be able to see the lake at the bottom of the hill you are on. You can figure it out from here yourself ( dont go to the fishing lake) all i will say is you have to walk up a countrylane adjacent to a farm and crawl through thorny bushes. When you emerge you will be met by a crystal clear lake (perfect for swimming) and a walt disney style castle. If you make it enjoy it for all its beauty. Alternativley ask a local( not that really well known even among Limerick people).
I've been fascinated by the concept of holy wells. An amalgamation of the ancient Druid and Celtic earth-bound religion's devotion to the things of the earth and Christianity's Baptism in water, both draw on ancient sites of springs as a site for religious devotion...water as purification, cleasing and healing.
This picture is one of St.Bridget's Wells in County Clare.
The strangest thing is, it's not a tourist site or just a remnent of a bygone day...the well is a site still serving as shrine. evidence of people's devotions include the many religious objects, notes, and things left by believers........And it really does draw you. You can sense the aura of peace and wholeness the place emanates.
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