Many places offer the bright lights, noise and action of the big city. Others offer the tranquillity of a rural setting. Limerick is one of exceptional that provides both. Limerick City is one of Ireland's biggest cities and is the bearer of a proud heritage dating back over 800 years. The rural parts of the county include large tracts of the Golden Vale, a part of Ireland called such for the richness of the land and the beauty of the region.
Possibly the most notable feature of Limerick City is King John's Castle constructed in 1210 which dominates the city. Built by the Normans the castle now holds a visitors centre providing an array of information and image dating back through the centuries. The city is the capital of the Shannon region and comes complete with great bars and restaurants for nights out on the town. There's plenty to see and do in the shopping areas of the city and there are some quality art galleries and theatres too.
Of course Limerick has recently become known internationally for the writing of one of its more famous sons Frank McCourt whose book Angela's Ashes was made into a high successful film. A walking tour based on locations featured in the book is now available and a highly popular way to see Limerick.
Moving out from Limerick City the visitor will find himself surrounded by a picturesque countryside with charming towns and villages running along the banks of the Shannon. These towns and villages are great centres for watersports and as the river broadens out into the Shannon estuary sailing becomes more and more popular with several sailing clubs along the coast.
Down the coast in the town of Foynes the Flying Boat Museum recalls the period of the 1930's and early 1940's when Foynes was the fulcrum point for air traffic between Europe and America and flying boats were regular visitors with exhibits, illustrations and audio-visuals. Limerick is very proud of the part it played in the growth of transatlantic travel.
With the beauty spots of Cork, Kerry and the rest of the Shannon basin within easy reach Limerick City provides the perfect base from which to tour the rest of the county and beyond. But with the beauty and range of activities available you might not want to leave.