In contrast to the buzz of Limerick City, County Limerick is a place of rural charm and great beauty.
Day 1: Limerick City Taster
Get to grips with the capital of the Midwest and Ireland’s third largest city in our 24 hour itinerary, before exploring the greater county, with its lush green countryside, adventure trails and unrivalled sporting legacy, filled with small towns, quirky retail and fascinating museums.
Day 2 Morning: Navigate the Shannon River
Start the day right by stocking up on gourmet snacks or delicious sandwiches from any of the city’s delicatessens. From Limerick City, head west along the Shannon Estuary hugging the N69, a spur route that links the city to the edge of the Wild Atlantic Way. It’s a rewarding drive with staggering views and leads directly to Curraghchase Forest Park, 313 hectares of hiking, cycling and lakeside meandering.
Moving further west, discover Ireland’s early sea faring and pioneer flying days along the shores of the Shannon. It was once the international crossroads between Europe and America, at a time when its airport welcomed vintage celebrities like US President John F Kennedy, author Ernest Hemingway and actor Humphrey Bogart aboard flying boats. Joe Sheridan, the resident chef at Foynes, also created the famous Irish Coffee for those pioneering travellers. Explore the past glory days on the river and air at Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum.
Step back in time at pretty Glin Village, the home turf of the Knights of Glin – and beautifully appointed Glin Castle, before venturing into the rich heartland of the Golden Vale. Newcastle West, a handsome town with its own magnificent medieval Desmond Castle (visits by appointment) and 100 acre demesne is a good way to break the day, with lunch at any of the town’s fine eateries, such as family friendly Brown Morel. It’s also a hub along Limerick Greenway, an off-road cycle and walkway peppered with lesser seen countryside.
Day 2 Afternoon: Go off grid
Head south through Limerick’s rich agricultural rolling hills, to Dromcolliher, where delicate and intricate Irish Dresden (visit by appointment) has been produced by local craftsmen since the 1960s, or visit the Plunkett Heritage Centre to discover the area’s past as Ireland’s first cooperative creamery.
A half an hour east, past the historical cottage home of Ireland’s most famous statesman, Éamon De Valara, is Ballyhoura Country, the crown in County Limerick’s wilderness. It's a mountain adventure playground filled with cycle treks, equestrian centres and meandering pathways. For those who love the outdoors – it’s hard to match – having attracted American celebrities Kim Kardashian and husband Kayne West to the location, at remote and hauntingly beautiful Castle Oliver.
Then it’s time to set the clock back, and slow the pace down. Heading north on the R512, through charming, medieval Killmallock Village, a place that has rested peacefully in a valley for centuries. Take minor detours off the R512 for the Museum of Old Irish Ways and further north, lies Lough Gur.
Lough Gur is an important archaeological site and otherworldly experience that will appeal to all ages. It explores Ireland’s history and the way of life by this megalithic lakeside dwelling that dates back 6,000 years. The highlight is Ireland’s largest stone circle, with thick stone walls that stretch 2.8 meters high. Crammed with artefacts and history, guests can explore the park and fairy trail.
If time permits, before Limerick City’s dining scene beckons, slip a few hundred meters over the border to County Tipperary to The Clare Glens, a cascading waterfall wildness that lies within a heartbeat of Limerick’s famous Gregorian chanting monks at Glental Abbey.
Day 2 Evening: Live a little
After all that invigorating fresh air and lush countryside, settle back into the city for a well-earned rest. Try something new on the menu – Limerick has a melting pot of culinary pleasures that will keep even the most discerning foodie – of any age – satisfied.
The Jasmine Palace specialises in traditional Cantonese specialities, and has gratified Limerick palate for decades. Marco Polo is a cross cultural restaurant to satisfy all tastes and The Corn Store or the Texas Steak Out Restaurant will keep the carnivores in the family at bay.