This small city on the banks of the mighty Shannon River lies at the heart of one of Ireland’s most important areas with regards to Irish and Anglo-Irish history. Within the city are some fine museums and galleries, nestled among the many restored Georgian houses, which can stand up to any in the country. Just outside Limerick, there are some haunting archaeological sites and the charming medieval village of Adare.
Adare Heritage Centre
If you are looking for a quintessential Irish village then you’ll want to spend an afternoon in Adare, just 16 kilometers south of Limerick. This town of 1,000 souls, set along the Maigue River, is full of picturesque thatched roof and Tudor-style homes with lovely gardens and ivy-covered medieval churches. To learn more about the town’s colorful history, stop at the small, friendly heritage center. A walk through the exhibit of Adare’s past, along with a model of the town as it was in medieval times, puts it all in perspective.
Foynes Flying Boat Museum
Anyone with an interest in aviation or history will enjoy a visit to the original Shannon Airport, restored as a museum. In 1939, Pan Am’s luxury aircraft, the Yankee Clipper, landed its first commercial passenger flight to Europe here. Foynes went on to become the departure point for the first non-stop flights between Europe and New York. The complex has a 1940s-style cinema and cafe alongside the original terminal building, with all its equipment.
For the past 700 years, this gleaming white castle has been the home of the knights of Glin. The rambling 395-acre estate is full of gardens, forests, and farmland, ready to be explored. The current knight of Glin is a keen historian and preservationist. His collection of 18th century Irish furniture and memorabilia is quite impressive. You can even stay the night at the castle in royal accommodations for a king’s ransom.