In all my past travels to Ireland, I had never been to Limerick before. This was a first for both Ash and I, and the reason for our stop here was to see King John's Castle.
I was pretty surprised to drive into a city center. High rise building loomed over us as we made our way to the castle. Since we had started our day's drive in Cork, and then completed Slea Head on the way to Limerick, we didn't get to the castle until last entrance time (around 5pm). This was great because we didn't have to fight any crowds; we pretty much had the castle to ourselves. The only downside, which we didn't realize until after our tour, was that we had parked in the castle's visitor lot... which closes 6pm sharp. Normally they lock the gates so no one has the ability to use the lot overnight. Whether the attendants thought we were cute, or just helpless tourists, it didn't matter because they had left the gates unlocked for us. We are forever in their debt. So advice for anyone wanting to visit King John's Castle: Get there early enough so that your car does not get locked in after 6pm!
Like I ask in every blog where I mention attractions, please visit King John's Castle website. Any history I mention comes from here, and you will probably find more valuable information in regards to visiting the castle if you click on the link. The land on which this castle sits has been used for over 1000 years. Early restorations of the area unveiled housing believed to be used by the vikings, while old fortifications provide evidence of a defense system prior to King John's Castle. The King himself had associations to Robin Hood and the Knights of the Round Table.
There is a great amount of history here. Right after we bought our tickets, (just under €12), we headed down into a long corridor that showcased the history of this area. This mini museum dove deep into the timelines, and used many forms of media to share information. We found it to be very interesting. After exploring the corridor, we headed through some of the old fortifications, and then made our way up into the interior of the castle walls.
Like most castles, the grounds inside the walls housed ruins of old rooms and signs depicting what the structures used to look like. It is always cool to walk around each room, imagining what it was like for people to live here back in the day. We made our way inside the castle walls, where the rooms were more intact. Each space was staged with the things you may have seen hundreds of years ago. We spent our last 20 minutes hanging around the top of King John's castle walls, viewing the surrounding city landscape.
We left King John's castle and walked across the street to a small, dark pub called Katie Daly's Heritage Pub & Kitchen. We drank our pints, ate our dinner, and then drove our of Limerick towards Doolin.
Our entire time in Limerick was spent exploring King John's Castle, so I would love to know if anyone has done more sight-seeing in this town? What cool things did you see/do? What good places should people eat at? Are there areas nearby worth visiting? Are there any queer-centered spaces to hang out at? We would love for you to share your knowledge with us, so please leave a note and let us know your thoughts.
I do ask that this stays a positive and safe space for readers, so please, no hurtful language or remarks about other's experiences. Thank you.